Clean your shotgun, organize your tackle box, and make sure to buy your new hunting and fishing licenses this week.
Current year Texas hunting and fishing licenses (except year-to-date fishing licenses) expire Aug. 31, and new licenses for 2012-2013 are available today.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issues about 2.1 million hunting and fishing licenses annually through the agency’s 28 field offices, more than 58 state parks and at over 1,600 retailers across Texas. Licenses may also be purchased online through the TPWD website or by phone (800-895-4248) with an additional $5 fee required for each transaction. A transaction receipt may be printed at the time of purchase for online and a confirmation number is provided for phone orders, and the physical license is mailed separately. Confirmation numbers will verify that a license has been purchased, which is sufficient for dove hunting, but will not allow hunters to take fish or wildlife that require a tag.
In addition to a hunting license, all wing shooters will need to purchase a game bird stamp. To hunt dove or teal in September, a Migratory Game Bird Stamp ($7) is required. Duck hunters also need to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp and receive HIP (Harvest Information Program) certification. Certification will be printed on the license. Lifetime license holders must also be HIP-certified and purchase the Federal Duck Stamp to hunt migratory birds.
An Upland Game Bird Stamp ($7) is required to hunt all non-migratory game birds, including turkey, quail, pheasant and chachalaca.
Anyone who purchases the Super Combo license package automatically gets these stamps. Sportsmen ages 65 and older qualify for a discounted Senior Super Combo for $32. Duck hunters will still need to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp.
Also available everywhere licenses are sold are chances for Big Time Texas Hunts, a program that offers hunters the opportunity to enter to win one or more premium guided hunts with food and lodging provided, as well as taxidermy in some cases.
Hunters can buy Big Time Texas Hunts entries online for $9 each on the TPWD website, or for $10 each at license retailers or by phone.
Hunters and anglers can also take care of their licensing requirements for life with the purchase of an $1,800 Lifetime Super Combo, or you can enter for a chance at winning a lifetime license through a special drawing. Entries for the Lifetime License Drawing cost $5 each and may be purchased wherever licenses are sold. Winners will be drawn on Dec. 30, 2012 and June 30, 2013.