Texas hunting and fishing licenses for 2009-2010 went on sale Saturday, Aug. 15. Sportsmen are reminded all current Texas annual hunting and fishing licenses (except for the year-to-date fishing license) expire Aug. 31.

Most fees for recreational hunting and fishing licenses have increased by five percent; resident hunting licenses now cost $25, while the Super Combo all-inclusive license costs $68. There is no increase in price for any of the required stamp endorsements or the $48 Annual Public Hunting permit.

Non-resident hunting licenses increase by $15 from $300 to $315, which also reflects a five percent hike.

The resident freshwater fishing package costs $30 and the saltwater fishing package is $35.

Effective Sept. 1, the resident lifetime fishing and hunting licenses will increase to $1,000 and the lifetime combination license increases to $1,800.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issues 2.1 million hunting and fishing licenses annually through the agencys 28 field offices, more than 65 state parks and at over 1,500 retailers across Texas.

Licenses may also be purchased online through the TPWD Web site or by phone (800-895-4248). Call center hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday Friday. The online transaction system is available 24/7. A $5 convenience fee will be charged for online and phone orders.

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, which is sufficient for dove hunting, but will not allow hunters to take fish or wildlife that requires a tag.

In addition to a hunting license, all wing shooters will need to purchase a game bird stamp. To hunt doves or teal in September, a Migratory Game Bird Stamp ($7) is required. Duck hunters also need to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp and receive HIP (Harvest Information Program) certification. 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 and purchase the Federal Duck Stamp to hunt migratory birds. All other state stamp endorsements are included with a lifetime license.

New this year, purchase of the Federal Duck Stamp will cost $15-$17 depending on where you buy. If purchased through the TPWD license system there is a $2 administrative fee. Your license will indicate Federal Duck Stamp purchase, and the physical stamp will be mailed. There are other options for purchasing the stamp, either at some major post offices or online.

Remember, its your responsibility to make sure you are properly licensed, so be sure to check your license before you leave the sales counter, said Tom Newton with TPWDs license program. We do get a fair number of requests for re-issuance of licenses because the hunter forgot to get HIP certified.

There are other mandatory endorsements to consider at the time of purchase, too. An Upland Game Bird Stamp ($7) is required to hunt all non-migratory game birds, including turkey, quail, pheasant, chachalaca and lesser prairie chicken.

Of course, anyone who purchases the Super Combo license package, the best bang for the buck, automatically gets these needed stamps.

Also new this year, sandhill crane permits may be obtained in person at no cost only through TPWD Law Enforcement offices and TPWD headquarters in Austin. Permits are also available anytime online through TPWDs online license sales and by calling 800-792-1112 (option 5, menu 2) or 512-389-4820 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For online and phone orders, a confirmation number will be issued in lieu of a permit, and a $5 transaction fee will be charged.

Hunter Education Certification is also required of any hunter born on or after Sept. 2, 1971 and who is at least 17 years old. For hunters who are unable to work in a hunter education class before hunting season for whatever reason, TPWD does offer a deferral option.

The deferral option allows people 17 years of age or older a one-time only extension to complete the states hunter education requirements. The individual must first purchase a hunting license and then may purchase the deferral option.

Hunters using the deferral must be accompanied by someone 17 years old or older who is also licensed to hunt in Texas.

The accompanying individual must have completed hunter education or be exempt from the requirements (born before Sept. 2, 1971). The extension is good for one license year, by which time the person with the deferred option needs to complete a hunter education course.

This option is not available to those who have ever received a conviction or deferred adjudication for lack of hunter education certification. They still must take the course before going afield.

Also available through license agents and online are chances for TPWDs Big Time Texas Hunts. The Big Time Texas Hunts program offers the opportunity to win one or more top guided hunts with food and lodging provided, as well as taxidermy in some cases. The crown jewel of the program is the Texas Grand Slam hunt package, which includes four separate hunts for Texas most prized big game animals the desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn antelope. There are several quality whitetail hunt packages available, as well as opportunities to pursue alligator, exotic big game, waterfowl and upland game birds.

Entries for the Big Time Texas Hunt drawings are $10 each and are available wherever hunting licenses are sold. They may also be purchased online at a discounted price of $9 each. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may purchase, and entries may be given as gifts for others. Purchasers must be 17 years of age or older.

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