Two significant changes in special stamp endorsements passed during the last legislative session will affect game bird hunters this year. Rather than individual stamps for various game bird species, TPWD has consolidated the special endorsements into two categories: upland and migratory.
The white-winged dove stamp and waterfowl stamp are now combined into a single Migratory Game Bird Stamp ($7), which will be required to hunt all migratory game birds, including ducks, geese, white-winged doves, mourning doves, white-tipped doves, sandhill cranes, woodcock, snipe, rails, coots and gallinules.
The turkey stamp has been replaced by the Upland Game Bird Stamp ($7), which will be required to hunt all non-migratory game birds, including turkey, quail, pheasant, chachalaca and lesser prairie chicken.
Anyone who purchases the Super Combo license package automatically gets these needed stamps.
In addition to the migratory stamp endorsement, Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification is required of all migratory game bird hunters. HIP certification will be printed on the license at the time of sale only after the purchaser answers a few brief migratory bird questions. Lifetime license holders must also be HIP-certified to hunt migratory birds and these new stamp changes are automatically included in all lifetime licenses.
A sizable share of game bird hunters — those who hunt mourning dove exclusively and quail hunters — will be buying stamps for the first time. License sales data show that about 60 percent of all dove hunters already purchase the white-winged dove stamp. TPWD also estimates that only about 40 percent of quail hunters would feel an impact from the new Upland Game Bird Stamp, since most quail hunters already buy combination type licenses that include all needed stamps. The department estimates that the two new stamps will generate up to $1.5 million per year in new revenue for conservation work.
Also new this year, TPWD is waiving all fees for hunting and fishing licenses for Texas residents currently on active military duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, including members of the Reserves or National Guard on active duty. A Texas resident is defined as a person who has resided continuously in the state for more than six months prior to applying for a license. Active duty military personnel must show a current military identification card and proof of Texas residency. The free military license may be obtained at any license vendor location, but not by phone or on the Internet. Activity duty military personnel will get a “Super Combo” Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package (Type 510), which includes all five state stamp endorsements (archery, freshwater fishing, and migratory game bird, saltwater fishing with a red drum tag and upland game bird). The Federal Waterfowl (duck) Stamp is not included.
Texas issues 3.2 million hunting and fishing licenses annually through 28 TPWD field offices, more than 100 state parks and at many retailers across Texas.
Hunters and anglers can also purchase licenses by calling (800) 895-4248. The phone license operation serves both Texans and non-residents, enabling hunters and anglers to buy licenses by phone using a major credit card. Call center hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday — Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
A license confirmation number is issued at the time of purchase for online and phone orders, and the physical license is mailed separately. Confirmation numbers will verify that a license has been purchased but will not allow hunters to take fish or wildlife that requires a tag. A $5 convenience fee is charged for ordering online or by phone.
Wherever licenses are sold, several other items for the 2005-06 season are also available, including Annual Public Hunting Permits and entries in Big Time Texas Hunts drawings.
The Big Time Texas Hunts program offers the opportunity to win one or more guided hunts with food and lodging provided. Proceeds are dedicated to providing more public hunting opportunities and funding wildlife conservation and/or research programs in Texas. Entries in the Big Time Texas Hunts drawings are $10 each. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may purchase, and entries may be purchased as gifts for others. Purchasers must be 17 years old or older. Information about the Big Time Texas Hunts and an entry form is available at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/bigtime/.
The entry deadline on all categories is midnight Nov. 5. Entries may be purchased year-round, but entries received after the deadline will be entered in the drawing for the following year.
The $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit allows hunters access to about one million acres of public hunting lands, including land leased exclusively for hunting dove, pheasant, waterfowl and other small game. Youth younger than age 17 may hunt on public hunting lands without the permit if they have the $6 Special Resident Hunting license and are hunting with a permitted adult. A Public Hunting Lands map booklet and supplement of dove lease maps will be mailed within a week of purchase of the permit at retail outlets; however, the map booklet and supplement can be obtained immediately by purchasing the permit at a TPWD law enforcement office.