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Mentored Hunts to Provide Opportunities for Newcomers

From Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission

-- A new public hunting opportunity for newcomers, the Mentored Hunting Permit (MHP), will launch this fall. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the new hunter recruitment initiative at a recent public meeting.

The program provides limited opportunities for people interested in participating in a multi-day hunter recruitment workshop on a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife management area (WMA). Participation will be by reservation, on a first-come, first-served basis, and the fee for the Mentored Hunting Permit will be $25.

The mentored hunting workshop will focus on teaching hunting skills, safety, ethics, game processing and preparation, elements of habitat management, and provide guidance and advice for hunting activities in the future. As part of the workshop, participants would be offered the opportunity to take part in a mentored hunt accompanied by an experienced hunter on the WMA.

At this time, mentored hunts for dove, squirrel, and other small game, waterfowl, and feral hog are being considered for the workshops.

"The mentored hunting program is intended to explore possible ways to increase hunter recruitment," said Linda Campbell, director of public hunting with TPWD. "By offering these educational workshops and mentored hunting opportunities, we hope to provide an effective vehicle for people who are not from traditional hunting backgrounds to learn about and get started in hunting."

In addition, the commission approved changes to the TPWD Public Lands Proclamation waiving access fees for spectators at hunting dog field trials on WMAs.

The commission also approved a framework for providing hunting opportunities on 41 state parks during the 2008-09 hunting seasons, offering 1,795 drawn hunt positions on state parks for the upcoming hunting season.

Applications for those hunting opportunities will be available this summer in the annual TPWD Applications for Drawings on Public Hunting Lands booklet. Individuals are drawn to receive a Special Permit by random selection done by computer from a qualified pool of applicants.

Current and former applicants can receive information on preference points, status of a submitted application, and drawing results, by calling (512) 389-8221 to access the Public Hunting Program's automated information system.

The Public Hunting Program provides low-cost, high-quality public hunting opportunities on over one million acres of TPWD-owned, leased and licensed lands in Texas.

For more information, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/public/.

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