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Hunting Accidents at New Record Low in Texas

Texas recorded a new all-time low number of hunting-related accidents across the state, according to the 2023 Texas Hunting Accident Report.

Only 10 non-fatal hunting-related accidents and one fatality were reported in 2023, a new record low. Texas’ highest record to date occurred in 1972 when the state saw 30 fatal hunting-related accidents. The staggering numbers recorded every year showed the need for more firearm safety, which led to the creation of the Hunter Education program.

Since Hunter Education became a requirement for all hunters in 1988, the hunting accident rate has seen a steady decrease. Records show only a single fatality reported for each of the last four years.

“The continued decline in hunting-related accidents and fatalities is in large part due to the efforts of the TPWD Hunter Education Program and the many Hunter Education instructors across the state, many whom are volunteers,” said Steve Hall, TPWD Hunter Education coordinator. “Beyond safety, we teach hunters how to be legal, ethical, take a good shot and take care of game from field to fork.”

More than 1.5 million students have been certified with Hunter Education since 1972. Texas requires Hunter Education for every hunter in Texas (including out-of-state hunters) born on or after Sept. 2, 1971. The minimum age for certification is 9 years of age and certification is good for life.

Safety tips

Below are some tips to help ensure a safe experience for hunters:

• Watch the muzzle – point the muzzle in a safe direction at all times.  This is the most important safety rule.

• Unload all firearms when not in use, especially at home, during transport and in the field, until ready to shoot.

• Keep your fingers outside of the trigger guard until ready to take a shot.

• Waterfowl hunters should wear protective clothing, waders and approved life jackets while in boats or around water, especially in winter months. Drowning ranks as the No. 1 cause of waterfowl hunting-related fatalities.

• For dove, quail and pheasant hunters, the No. 1 cause for accidents or fatalities is shooting at game outside a safe zone of fire. Communicate and stick to your safe zone of fire and never shoot towards another hunter, buildings or structures, or domestic animals such as cows.

• Be sure of your target — what is in front of and behind the target.

• Wear blaze orange to help other hunters see you.

Hunters must have proof of Hunter Education [SG1] certification on their person while in the field. Hunters have access to their Texas proof of Hunter Education in the free Outdoor Annual mobile app for iOS and Android.

courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.