LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – With the start of dove season, many area hunters are already making Labor Day weekend plans for their first hunt.
There's little Donnie Kee loves more than dove hunting.
"It allows you to have a lot of action and to shoot and that's a lot of fun," said Kee, who teaches hunter education under the Texas Parks and Wildlife.
"In 1988 when hunter education became mandatory, immediately there after, the hunting accidents in Texas began to decrease and it has decreased ever since," said Kee.
He says education is key in developing smart and quick thinking.
"It requires you to be very proficient with your firearm basically because let's face it, shooting a bird in flight is not the easiest thing in the world to do," said Kee.
He says always check your zone of fire and make sure you don't put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
"It may never hold more than three rounds and if it does you are of course in violation of the law and you also have to be careful and watch what kind of birds you shoot because there are possession limits each day, there are bag limits. There are basically the morning doves, the white tail and the white tip dove," explained Kee.
Todd Nightingale, with the Texas Forest Service, warns hunters to be aware of dry conditions.
"You can put a fire extinguisher in your car. We don't plan for fires but if you prepare for one that's a very wise choice. The next thing is to take a look at your vehicle and make sure it's running right and make sure you don't park in tall grass," said Nightingale.
With proper education hunters can enjoy the thrill of the sport.
"You go out bird hunting and most of the time you're going to get a shot, or two or three. If you're deer hunting, you may go out for a month, and you might not get a shot," said Kee.
Out of the roughly one million hunting licenses sold in 2009, there were only three hunting-related deaths.
You can contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at 936-632-1311 for information on how to sign-up for hunter education course.