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Denton County Texas AgriLife Extension provides tips for safe hunting
By County Extension Agent Eddie Baggs
The Little Elm Journal
Texas is a big state with extended unpopulated regions. These regions are home to many wildlife species, most of which are game for recreational hunting. Hunters in Texas spend over 25 million days hunting and contribute over one billion dollars a year to the state’s economy. Also, 95 percent of hunters in Texas are residents of the state. With so many Texans participating in the sport of hunting, firearm safety is very important. The diversity of the different types of hunting in Texas also factors into the safety issue. Within our boundaries, there are deer, turkeys, feral hogs, dove and quail to name a few. While public hunting opportunities exist, private leased lands make up the majority of hunting areas.
While hunting provides many Texans with a sporting and recreational hobby, vacation or even a job...it can be dangerous if safety education does not come first. The Texas Hunter Education Manual lists several safety precautions (commandments) when hunting. The first of these is to treat every firearm or bow with same respect you would show a loaded gun or nocked arrow. Also, hunters are encouraged to always point the muzzle of a gun in a safe direction. Hunters are also encouraged to be sure of the target, both what is in front of and beyond the target. Firearms should always be unloaded when not in use. It is also advised to be extremely careful when handling firearms, arrows and ammunition. Hunters should always control emotions when it comes to safety to avoid careless mistakes. Hearing and eye protection is also a must especially on firing ranges. Never drink alcohol or take drugs before or while handling firearms, bows or arrows.
Hunting Safety is taken very seriously especially in Texas. Hunter Education is required to obtain a hunting license if you were born after September 2, 1971. The minimum age to take the course is 9 years old, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian if under 12 years old. Participants are also required to pass an exam at the end of the training course. In Denton, a Hunter Safety Course is being hosted at the County Extension Office on August 28 and 29, 2010 (Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.) Attendance is required for both days. The cost for the course is $15 with limited seating available. You can reserve a spot by calling the Denton County Extension Office at 940-349-2880 or email Pamela.Hill@dentoncounty.com
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