Before you go hunting grab your thinking cap

Clarification: A previous version of this story contained incorrect information. A corrected version of this story is below.

By Christel Phillips - bio | email

The first thing you may have to do to hunt in Texas is take a hunter education course.

"One of the things that we obviously focus on is safety with fire arms," said Area Chief/Hunter Instructor, Donnie Kee, with the Texas Parks & Wildlife. "We want everybody that goes into the woods to be safe."

But, one East Texas hunter, Ian McDonald, said others just don't get it. "There are people that need to exercise more fire arm safety to hunt in public lands."

Texas Parks & Wildlife says education does help in the woods. Since Texas made it mandatory for many hunters to take education classes, the number of accidents have gone down.

Under new laws, anyone born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, must complete the training course.

Prior to mandatory hunter education there was one accident to every 13,300 licenses sold. Now with mandatory hunter education it's one accident to every 23,000 licenses sold.

"Students who have taken the hunter education course are much safer in the woods," said Kee.

"I wish they had a refresher course you had to do every so often because there are people that don't handle guns safely," agreed McDonald.

Kee says if you plan to hunt this season you need to have the proper certification and now is the time to get it because classes are filling up.

"The closer it gets to hunting season we have a tendency for our classes to start filling up early especially in the months of August, September [and] October," he said. "A lot of times you can't find a class in November."

East Texas hunters should remember these safety courses are not just for themselves. It's for everyone.

"As another hunter in the woods it puts my life on the line," said McDonald.

For 2009 -2010 hunting season, new regulations for the 2009-2010 hunting season say hunters are limited to one buck that has an inside spread of 13 inches or greater and hunters can use crossbows during the special archery-only season.

Hunter educational courses are only $15 and children as young as the age of 9 can take them. For more information about the regulations and the where you take the course you can go to

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