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Campfire Collective Oct 7th, 2021

Hunting Education in Texas | What You Need to Know

HUNTINGsmart! Texas course still

Hunting safety is a big deal in The Lone Star State, and it all starts with hunter education. 

From shooting skeet to deer hunting, many Texans across the state grow up shooting rounds at the range, hunkered down in a deer blind, and spending their days decked head to toe in camo. Ethical, safe hunting is a fantastic way to spend your time in Texas, which has some of the best big game in the country. However, hunting education in Texas is also a big deal—and being properly certified to shoot a gun, bag an animal and hunt ethically is vital to the success of the hobby and the sport. 

In Texas, most hunters are required to take an approved hunter education course, such as HUNTINGsmart!, in order to hunt legally. The rules and regulations around hunting in Texas are long—and they should be, since hunting can be dangerous if done incorrectly. We’re here to tell you all you need to know about hunting education in Texas.

Who is required to take a Hunter Education Safety Course in Texas 

Dad showing son how to use a rifle

Every hunter in Texas—including those visiting from out-of-state—born on or after September 2, 1971, must take an approved hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license. 

 The following age regulations apply:


  • Under the age of 9 : must be accompanied by a properly certified adult of at least 17. This adult must be licensed to hunt in Texas or exempt. Hunters must be within a normal vocal range of one another, and proof of certification is required. 
  • Age 9-16 : may hunt without certification if they are accompanied by a properly certified adult of at least 17 who is licensed to hunt in Texas or is exempt. 
  • Age 17 & up:  must have successfully completed hunter education. If you choose to purchase a Hunter Education Deferral ($10 for a one-year deferral), you must be accompanied by a properly certified adult of at least 17 who is licensed to hunt in Texas or is exempt. 

Who is exempt from hunter education requirements in Texas? 

There are some exemptions from the hunter education requirements in Texas. The exceptions are as follows: 

  • Those born before September 2, 1971 
  • Hunters from the age of 9-16, who are accompanied by a properly certified adult of at least 17 who is licensed to hunt in Texas or is exempt 
  • Hunters aged 17 and older who have purchased a one-time hunter education deferral and are accompanied by a properly certified adult of at least 17 who is licensed to hunt in Texas or is exempt 
  • Active duty members and honorably discharged members of the United States Armed Forces 
  • Active duty members or veterans of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, or the Texas State Guard 
  • Those serving or those previously served as a peace officer 
  • Those who have taken hunter education in another state, as long as you carry proof of certification while hunting 


Why do you need hunter education in Texas? 

While those born before September 2, 1971 aren’t legally required to take a hunting safety education course, we’d recommend a safety course to every Texas hunter. By taking a hunter education course, you’ll be better prepared for every situation you might find yourself in, making you a safer, more effective hunter. 

Who regulates hunting safety and education in Texas? 

In Texas, hunting is regulated by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. 

What are the penalties for not being properly certified to hunt in Texas? 

Failure to carry proof of your certification (or deferral) is considered a Class C Parks & Wildlife Code Misdemeanor. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of $25-$500. 

What is the process for hunting education through HUNTINGsmart! in Texas? 


With HUNTINGsmart!, taking your Texas hunter education course is  easy and effective. The course is 100% narrated, animated and is packed with live-action videos throughout to help mimic real-world experiences. HUNTINGsmart! students learn from an engaging curriculum created by real hunters, and are able to get adequately prepared on their own time. The process for taking your course and your test to get certified in the state of Texas is simple:


  1. Take the course completely at your own pace and on your own time. You can use any device, at any time of day and in any place you find yourself. The entire course and test process will take you 4-6 hours, but you can break it up however you’d like. 
  2. Take the official, TPWD-approved test right on the HUNTINGsmart! site, and breathe easy with unlimited retries. 
  3. Print your temporary Texas Hunter Education Certificate, and then download your official certificate within 1-2 weeks from the TWPD website. Plus, it’s good for life! 

 That’s it! 

Looking for more information on hunting in Texas? Check out our Texas Hunting Laws and Regulations page!

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