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2017-08-31

Great Breaking News!

Contributed

WOODS, WATERS AND WILDLIFE
An Outdoor Column
By John Jefferson

What's so great about that?
Well, if new licenses are soon on sale, hunting seasons can't be far behind. And hunting seasons signal a change in the weather — in this case, a change for the better. Sometime around mid-September each year, the first cool spell arrives. Occasionally, it comes a little earlier. Let's hope this year is one of those occasions.
The first seasons to open are the north and central zone dove seasons on September 1. South zone dove hunters must wait until September 22 to start shooting, unless they are hunting white-winged doves. Whitewing hunters throughout the entire south zone may hunt September 2, 3, 9 and 10, but only from noon until sunset. During the regular seasons, shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset in all three zones.
It looks like another banner year for dove hunters. Good hatches of mourning doves and whitewings have been noted. Shaun Oldenburger, TPWD’s dove leader, says, “Even a bad year for doves in Texas beats a good year elsewhere!”
The dove bag limit is 15 per day in the aggregate (total for all species combined), to include no more than two white-tipped doves. During the special south zone early white-winged dove days, however, only two mourning doves may be included in the daily bag limit. Eurasian collared doves and common pigeons are not regulated — shoot 'em if you've got 'em.
Statewide teal season and East Zone Canada goose season (only) open September 9 and both end September 24. Great teal reproduction in the north and good habitat conditions in Texas prompted TPWD waterfowl leader Kevin Kraai to say, “The table is set for one of the best teal seasons in years.” Canada geese are increasing in east Texas, but populations are scattered. Most are in north Texas and east of Dallas.
For all hunting seasons, you’ll need new licenses after August 31. Resident hunting licenses cost $25, but that’s just a start. You need endorsements on your license if you hunt deer or turkey during the Archery-Only season, or archery-hunt deer anytime in certain counties, hunt migratory game birds, or hunt upland game birds. Endorsements are $7 each. A $25 federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamp (duck stamp ) is required for any waterfowl hunters 16 years - old and older and HIP certification is required for hunting all migratory birds.
All hunters born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, must also complete a Hunter Education Training course. See pages 21-23 of the free Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual for more information on licenses, endorsements and hunter education alternatives.
Fishing licenses ($30 Freshwater Package; $35 Saltwater Package; $40 All-Water Package) also expire on August 31, unless they are “Year from Purchase” license packages ($47). The appropriate endorsement is included with the packages, and the All-Water package includes both.
Whew! Complicated. If you are likely to hunt and fish, the best bargain and easiest thing to do is buy a “Super Combo License” for $68. It’ll save you $18 — and a whole lot of hassle! All endorsements except the Federal duck stamp are included. Licenses are sold at all TPWD offices, at many sporting goods retailers, by phone at 1-800-895-4248 and online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/licenses/online_sales.
Good hunting and fishing! Be legal; be safe!