For many in Texas, hunting is a long held family tradition. “One of my rifles I have from my grandpa,” said Round Rock resident Donnie Hilliard. “When he got done hunting he passed it down to me.” But there are rules and regulations hunters have to follow, staring with a Texas approved hunting license.
“It’s mandatory, you have to have it,” said Hilliard. “I mean if you don’t there are the fines, penalties, and every single thing.” Hunting and fishing licenses are one of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Departments major income sources. In License Year 2014, the last full license year, more than 3.1 million licenses were sold, bringing in over $98 million in revenue to the agency.
“Your avid hunters know September first you have to have a new license,” said Texas Game Warden Chris Wilson. Wilson acknowledges not everyone obeys or knows the rules and Game Wardens have their eyes and ears open searching for violators.
“We’ll go out and check those fields and try to make sure they’re (hunters) in compliance,” said Wilson. KEYE TV has learned there were a little more than 800 citations written for failing to show or hunting without a valid license during the 2011-2012 seasons.
That number jumped to more than 1,100 during the 2012-2013 seasons and even high this past year.
If you get caught without a license, not only do you face a citation and a steep penalty, but you also have to give up your kill. At Lindberg Guns and Guitars in Georgetown they process around 150 licenses a month.
“I’ll just need your driver’s license and we’ll run it through the Texas Parks and Wildlife data base,” said general manager Brandan Schultz. “If you’ve purchased one in the past all of your information just populates instantly.”
Schultz says the process normally takes about five minutes.
“For the risk of not having it it’s not worth it,” Schultz said.
“They made it so easy now in the state of Texas.”
According to TPWD the money from hunting and fishing license sales go towards funding the protection, regulation and conservation of the state’s fish and wildlife; as well as, enforcement of the state’s water safety laws.
As a whole, the agency is primarily funded through these license sales, state park entrance fees and sporting goods sales taxes.
If you don’t know where or how to get a license: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/licenses/online_sales/ TPWD has also created an App to make things easier: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/regulations/outdoor-annual/app/