Let’s restore free hunting, fishing for seniors
Ted Hubert

Years ago, the Texas Legislature passed a law awarding Texas senior citizens free hunting and fishing license the year after reaching their 65th birthdays.

This is no longer the case. The law was amended and the date set allows this benefit to continue for those citizens born before Jan. 1, 1930. Those born after this date are required to pay less than the regular fees, but these licenses are no longer free.

Do we know why the old law was amended? Were the dates set in the amended law arbitrary or capricious? Why is it necessary to phase-out this legislative privilege at all?

Answers to these questions are unclear. The state can do this, but why?

Cost for Texas residents ages 65 through 80 in 2010 was $11 for a fresh water package, $16 for a salt water package and $21 for an all water package

Cost for Texas residents ages 65 through 82 in 2013 is $12 for a fresh water package, $17 for a salt water package and $22 for an all water package

The 2012-2013 Texas Parks And Wildlife, “Outdoor Annual” (Hunting and Fishing Regulations) gives this information.

These books are free at any business that sells hunting and fishing license.

The same information is available online at

On page 26 of the Outdoor Annual, you find the requirements for free hunting and fishing license for residents under the age of 17, residents born before Jan. 1, 1930 and those that are mentally disabled.

Requirements for certain out of state residents are found on page 27. These include non-residents under the age of 17, residents of Louisiana, 65 or older who possesses a valid Louisiana recreational fishing license and those with senior fish/hunt license or Oklahoma residents 65 age or older.

Texas residents 65 years of age to 82 years of age must purchase hunting and fishing license but their counterparts in Louisiana and Oklahoma can fish and hunt in Texas free.

Is there something wrong with this picture?

This is not about money, in my view. Today, the cost for the senior hunting and fishing packages are less than a tank of gasoline or diesel fuel.

This simple act, by the earlier legislative action, places the value of society’s treatment of elder citizens above money.

The earlier legislation demonstrates respect, recognition, and honor for its senior citizens. This act encourages the elderly to get outdoors and enjoy our natural resources. Why has this happened? Have the elderly in the State of Texas acted inappropriately? Does the state need revenue, so they are placing fees on those over 65, many of which are on fixed incomes?

We seniors certainly hope this is not the case. My personal view is that actions to limit or restrict this benefit, once granted is a simple oversight and it is our responsibility to bring this issue to the attention of those in charge.

The Texas Silver-Haired Legislature has recommended Resolution 76 (R76), which would restore free licenses for those 65 and over.

Give R76 very serious thought and discuss this issue with others. Money is important, but it fades in value when compared with respect, honor, and recognition of elderly Texans.

Maybe we should write some letters or call Austin and tell them how we feel on this issue.

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2013-02-14 digital edition

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