With the start of dove hunting season set for Monday, Sept. 1, hunters and outdoorsmen are encouraged to practice safety while out in the field hunting.

Before making the trip to your favorite hunting spot, there are several things to keep in mind in order to comply with the rules and regulations set forth by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
Every hunter (including out-of-state hunters) born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, must successfully complete a Hunter Education Training Course. Minimum age of certification is nine years of age.

If you were born on or after Sept. 2, 1971 and you are:
•under nine years of age, you must be accompanied

•age nine through 16, you must successfully complete a hunter education course, or you must be accompanied*.

•age 17 and over, you must successfully complete a hunter education course; or purchase a “Hunter Education Deferral” and you must be accompanied*.
*Accompanied means:  By a person who is at least 17, who is licensed to hunt in Texas, who has passed hunter education or is exempt (born before Sept. 2, 1971), and you must be within normal voice control. Proof of certification or deferral is required to be on your person while hunting. Note: Certification is not required to purchase a hunting license.

•Please note that some federally controlled areas require all hunters using that site to have hunter education certification. In Texas, this includes Corps of Engineers property and most military reservations.

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Be sure to check with the specific area prior to going hunting. 

Hunters and spectators should practice the 10 commandments of shooting safety, which includes:
•Always point the muzzle in a safe direction;
•Treat every firearm or bow with the same respect you would show a loaded gun or nocked arrow;
•Be sure of your target and what is in front of and behind your target;
•Unload firearms and unstring conventional bows when not in use;
•Handle the firearms, arrows and ammunition carefully;
•Know your safe zone-of-fire and stick to it;
•Control your emotions when it comes to safety
•Wear hearing and eye protection;
•Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs before or while handling firearms or bow and arrows;
•Be aware of additional circumstances which require added caution or safety awareness.

For more information on hunters safety visit the TPWD website at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us