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RULE §51.80Mandatory Hunter Education

(a) Hunter Education Course.

  (1) The Hunter Education Course must consist of instruction on the following subjects:

    (A) the safe handling and use of firearms and archery equipment;

    (B) wildlife conservation and management;

    (C) hunting laws and regulations of this state; and

    (D) hunting safety and ethics, including landowners' rights.

  (2) Subject to the restrictions and exceptions contained in this section, the Hunter Education Course required by this section may be delivered via:

    (A) classroom instruction not to exceed six hours;

    (B) a combination of online instruction and skills exercise (skills exercise of not less than four nor more than five hours in duration); or

    (C) online instruction only, for persons 17 years of age or older.

  (3) The Hunter Education Course required by this section may be provided by:

    (A) certified volunteer instructors who have successfully completed the department's game warden interview, background investigation, and an instructor training course; or

    (B) online instruction providers approved by the department.

  (4) The department may decertify instructors for:

    (A) violation of provisions of the Parks and Wildlife Code or regulations adopted pursuant to the Code;

    (B) falsification of records or documents; or

    (C) action that is detrimental to the objective of the program.

  (5) The department shall provide hunter education opportunities in each county of the state when a substantial number of residents request a class or at least once a year.

  (6) The department shall issue a certificate to persons who successfully complete the course. A duplicate certificate may be obtained online at the department's website at https://tpwd.texas.gov/education/hunter-education.

  (7) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a person from providing or receiving hunter education instruction in addition to that required by this section.

(b) Hunter Education Requirements.

  (1) A person whose date of birth is after September 1, 1971, must successfully complete a Hunter Education Course described in subsection (a) of this section before the person may hunt with firearms or archery equipment in Texas.

  (2) A Texas Voluntary Hunter Safety Course successfully completed prior to June 1, 1989, satisfies the mandatory hunter education requirements of this section.

  (3) A person must be at least nine years of age to be certified.

  (4) A Hunter Education Course is successfully completed when the student:

    (A) has fulfilled the instructional requirements of subsection (a)(1) of this section;

    (B) is evaluated by the instructor or department-approved online instruction provider as acceptable in attitude, knowledge, and skill; and

    (C) has taken an examination prescribed by the department and scored a minimum of 75 percent.

  (5) The online-only Hunter Education Course is restricted to persons 17 years of age and older.

  (6) A person who is required to be certified must possess evidence of certification while hunting in Texas, which may include a photograph or electronic copy of valid certification stored on a wireless communication device.

  (7) Any individual is encouraged to take the course on a voluntary basis.

  (8) A person who is unable to pass the examination as the result of an existing medical condition may, upon authorization from the department, be granted certification.

  (9) A person who is exempt from the hunter education requirements under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.014(n) is exempt from the requirements of this section.

(c) Other Non-certified Persons.

  (1) Persons under 17 years of age may hunt without certification if accompanied by a person 17 years of age or older who is licensed to hunt in Texas in accordance with the Parks and Wildlife Code and is in compliance with applicable hunter education requirements.

  (2) A person 17 years of age or older who is required to complete hunter education may hunt without certification if that person is:

    (A) in possession of a valid hunting license indicating that the person has selected the "Hunter Education Deferral" offered by the department; and

    (B) is accompanied by a person 17 years of age or older who is licensed to hunt in Texas in accordance with the Parks and Wildlife Code and is in compliance with applicable hunter education requirements.

  (3) For the purposes of this section, an uncertified person is considered as being accompanied if that person is within normal voice distance.

  (4) A hunter education deferral expires at the end of the license year for which it was purchased.

  (5) No person may select the hunter education deferral more than once.

  (6) A person who has been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for not having completed a mandatory hunter education course is prohibited from obtaining a hunter education deferral.

Source Note: The provisions of this §51.80 adopted to be effective January 3, 2005, 29 TexReg 12225; amended to be effective May 26, 2008, 33 TexReg 4182; amended to be effective February 2, 2009, 34 TexReg 665; amended to be effective October 30, 2011, 36 TexReg 7333; amended to be effective September 19, 2013, 38 TexReg 6218; amended to be effective February 4, 2021, 46 TexReg 930

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