Area hunters have been getting ready for the 2009-10 season, busily renewing last year’s licenses that are set to expire on Monday, before the new season officially starts on Tuesday with the start of dove season.

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

As hunters zero in their sights, roll out the feeders and clean their guns, they might find that it will cost just a little bit more this year to renew their hunting or fishing license.

A press release from TPWD said 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.

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

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.

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. The license will indicate the purchase of the Federal Duck Stamp and the physical stamp will be mailed.

There are other mandatory endorsements to consider at the time of purchase. 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 buckshot, automatically gets these needed stamps.

“Remember, it’s 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 TPWD’s license program. “We do get a fair number of requests for re-issuance of licenses because the hunter forgot to get HIP certified.”

Hunter Education Certification is also required of any hunter born on or after Sept. 2, 1971 and who is at least 17 years old.

Calvin Hudson, a retired Stephenville High School teacher and avid hunter, said that to be certified, a hunter must take a hunter safety course and can do so beginning as young as nine years old.

Hudson recommends that all hunters take the course, whether they are new to the sport or not.

Hudson, who offers hunter safety courses, said he sees a lot of people signing up for the classes before the start of dove and deer season. Although he has already held a pre-dove season class, he is planning another course in the fall before deer season starts on Nov. 7.

“Each state has different rules but every state honors every other state,” Hudson said.

Hudson said anyone interested in taking his fall course can call him at (254) 967-1813.

The Erath 4-H Shooting Sports Club is also offering a Texas hunter education course from Aug. 31 - Sept.3, at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center on US Highway 8 and 281. For more information on that course, contact Roy Green at (254) 968-7932.

Also new for hunters this year, sandhill crane permits may be obtained in person at no cost through TPWD law enforcement offices and TPWD headquarters in Austin. Permits are also available through TPWD’s 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.

Licenses may also be purchased online through the TPWD Web site or by phone at (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 require a tag.