AUSTIN, TX – August 2020 marks the 4th Annual National Shooting Sports Month, as designated by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. To commemorate the month, which is on the cusp of the fall hunting season, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is highlighting agency programs aimed at providing participants of all ages and skill-levels the opportunity to safely hit the range or the field.
“To be strong in the skills of shooting sports, a shooter must slow down, focus, have practiced, and be able to adapt to changing conditions,” said Rob Owen, Outreach and Recruitment Manager for TPWD. “Each of these behaviors of mindfulness can translate to your normal day-to-day life as well. Participating in shooting sports has great benefits beyond the adventure, fun and competition with family and friends.”
With hunting season quickly approaching, it’s important that Texas hunters pass an approved hunter education course. All hunters, born on or after September 2, 1971, must complete hunter education, including out-of-state hunters. There are multiple online course options, along with an online and field course combination, both of which teach the four 4 C’s that define a responsible Texas hunter: courteous, capable, considerate and careful. The field courses teach participants hands-on principles like overall firearm safety, recognizing safe zones-of-fire, conservation basics and more.
The all-digital Outdoor Annual can help new and seasoned hunters alike find their local regulations, season dates by animal and more. The Outdoor Annual app and the My Texas Hunt Harvest app allow the user to store their hunting and fishing licenses digitally, however hunters are reminded to keep the certification showing they passed their hunter education course with them while hunting as required by law. Proof of hunter education may be found on a hunting license, by a printed certification card or by a photo saved on a mobile device.
TPWDs Community Archery Program serves to connect after-school programs, parks and recreation departments and other clubs and activity leagues across the state with archery and the outdoors. Community Archery Specialists will train an organization on how to teach beginning archery to all ages and abilities. The curriculum consists of range safety and setup, the steps of shooting, archery equipment and repair, and programming and lesson plans. Community Archery Specialists also facilitate bowhunting and bowfishing programming that helps program leaders and educators teach students the basic skills of bowhunting, bowfishing and conservation.
The Texas – National Archery in Schools Program (TX — NASP) is supported through TPWD and since 2004, TPWD staff and volunteers have certified thousands of National Archery in Schools Program (NASP®) Basic Archery Instructors and Trainers. The program provides international-style target archery training to 4th-12th Grade Educators who may then incorporate NASP® within a subject such as Physical Education, Science, Math or many others. Currently, over 1,500 schools actively participate in TX — NASP.
All TPWD programs are currently being conducted in accordance with advice from state and local leaders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s recommended that those interested in participating in any of these in-person programs and shooting sports contact either the program lead or location first to ensure that they are still being conducted and to learn of any class size restrictions. Visit the TPWD website to learn more about shooting sports opportunities in Texas.
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