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50 Years of Hunter Education in Texas


Let’s Celebrate! With the passage of the Dingell-Hart Amendment in 1972 and the original Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, funding from federal excise taxes on handguns and archery equipment was made available to states to fund hunter safety education and target range development projects. With the passage, Texas started its voluntary hunter education program, mainly to satisfy the demand by Texas hunters traveling to Colorado to hunt mule deer and elk. Colorado passed a requirement in 1970 stating that hunters born after January 1, 1949, must be trained.

The first hunter education course was held in Austin by Thomas Womack, a volunteer instructor trained by the first hunter education coordinator, Theron “T.D.” Carroll. The first student was Michael Fain, who later went on to become a game warden. (Photo above: Teenager Michael Fain learns hunter safety from game warden Captain Lynn Stanley, left, and T.D. Carroll during the launch of the hunter education program in Texas on February 28, 1972.)

The many collective and individual benefits from hunting include wildlife and habitat management, economic development (jobs), recreation, aesthetics (being outside in nature), health and wellness (mind and body), culture (heritage) and social bonds (way of life for family and friends).

Conservation of wildlife and habitat is the big trophy here. Put simply, hunters pay and everyone benefits. Through sporting arm and ammunition (federal) excise taxes and state license fees and fines (poachers), the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is able to accomplish its fish, wildlife and habitat management goals within its overall mission “to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.” Hunters also fund research, administration and hunter education programs.

If there is one great individual benefit to hunting, it is the nutritious, low-fat, low-carb, organic meat hunters take from field to table. In Texas, 1.2 million hunters bring home the most game meat in the nation. Hunting is its own noncommercial meat industry, producing millions of pounds of meat for hunters to bring home or donate. Hunters donate to relatives and friends or needy families through game wardens and programs such as Hunters for the Hungry.

More Hunters Ed!


  • Texas R3 Strategic Plan
  • By the Numbers
  • Hunting 101s
  • Get Ready
  • Get Set
  • Go!
  • The Thrill of Hunting Dove
  • Dove Hunting By the Numbers
  • Mentors
  • Hunting FAQ
  • Recipe: Venison
  • Recipe: Pulled Pork
  • Recipe: Jalapeno Dove Poppers

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