Ya need to know these things

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There are several events coming up that you need to keep in mind, and I’m not talking about a rock concert or a movie release.

These are things that can cost you more money than the most expensive of those two items and could really mess up your day if you fall victim.

The first thing you should put on your calendar happens Thursday, Aug. 15. Heed it and doing so will save you a little time and inconvenience down the road. Maybe a lot of both. That’s the day new hunting and fishing licenses and endorsements go on sale. Hunting or fishing without them is illegal … and costly.

Sure, most licenses won’t expire until midnight, Aug. 31, but that’s a Saturday night this year and you may have a hard time finding anyone still open that sells licenses at that hour. And since midnight gets you into Sunday, you’ve still got the same problem until Academy opens. That won’t help if you just got invited to hunt doves on opening morning in the north or central dove zones. Both zones open on Sunday, Sept. 1, 30 minutes before sunrise.

Believe me, a few people reading this right now will wish they had bought early. One year, I got busy and waited until opening day. When I got to McBride’s Guns to buy a license before heading to an annual opening afternoon dove hunt, the license line stretched out the door and almost to where I had parked. But I wasn’t without anyone to talk to; several friends were also in line. And all of us were asking ourselves the same question – “Why had we waited?”

That’s the last time I have ever waited until close to opening day. To tell how long ago that was, shooting hours didn’t begin until noon, back then!

I said licenses expire on Aug. 31, but year-to-date fishing licenses expire on the license anniversary. But you do have last-minute alternatives to buying licenses with a credit card unless license tags are needed. On weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except holidays), call 1-800-895-4248, or buy online at www.tpwd.texas.gov. A $5 fee applies. A receipt can be printed or saved on a phone for proof.

When the seasons open, your odds of getting checked are high. Wardens will be busy. That’s Labor Day weekend. In addition to checking licenses, all TPWD regulations will be enforced, including bag limits, game violations, shooting hours and – for boaters – life jackets and boating while intoxicated (BWI). TPWD Marine Enforcement Chief Cody Jones reported that over Memorial Day weekend last spring, over 11,000 boats were checked and 1,279 citations were issued. Thirty-nine were for BWI and 10 were DWIs. Most were life jackets violations. Since most drowning victims weren’t wearing one, it’s stupid to be without.

On another note, the red snapper season in federal waters just closed on Aug. 2 but is open year-round in Texas waters.

Also, important – it’s Hatch pepper season and Hatch cookies are now at H.E.B.!

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