Big Time Hunts Offer Premier Opportunities

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The Lone Star State boasts some of the finest hunting anywhere in the country, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Big Time Texas Hunts offer hunters a chance to experience the best of the best.

The Big Time Texas Hunts program offers the opportunity to win one or more top guided hunts with food and lodging provided, as well as taxidermy in some cases. The crown jewel of the program is the Texas Grand Slam hunt package, which includes four separate hunts for Texas' most prized big game animals — the desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn antelope. There are several quality whitetail hunt packages available, as well as opportunities to pursue alligator, exotic big game, waterfowl and upland game birds.

Entries for the Big Time Texas Hunt drawings are $10 each and are available wherever hunting licenses are sold. They may also be purchased online for the first time ( or by phone (800) 895-4248. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may purchase, and entries may be purchased as gifts for others. Purchasers must be 17 years of age or older.

Proceeds from the Big Time Texas Hunts are dedicated to providing more public hunting opportunity and to funding wildlife conservation and research programs in Texas. Last year, more than 80,000 entries were received.

Here's a summary of the Big Time Texas Hunts offerings:

* The Texas Grand Slam — This is truly the hunt of a lifetime. The bighorn sheep hunt is very exclusive; TPWD only issues a handful of permits a year, and one permit or this type recently sold for $102,000 at a bighorn sheep conservation fundraiser auction. The bighorn sheep hunt takes place on Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area, just outside of Alpine, in far West Texas. The other three hunts included in the Texas Grand Slam will be on some of the most exclusive private ranches in the state. The winner may also bring along a non-hunting companion to share in this awesome outdoor adventure.

* Texas Whitetail Bonanza — 10 winners will each get to experience a high-quality white-tailed deer hunt, something legendary to Texas on popular ranches known to produce big bucks (150-plus Boone and Crockett scores). Guide service, food and lodging are provided on these 3-5-day trips during hunting season. Each winner can also bring along a companion to hunt as well.

* Texas Gator Hunt — One winner and a guest will enjoy a rare and unique three-day trip pursuing alligators at the J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area on the Gulf Coast. Both hunters may harvest one alligator. All necessary equipment, expert guides, lodging and gator hide removal are included. The winner and guest will also be treated to an airboat tour of the marsh to view alligators.

* Texas Waterfowl Adventure — One winner and as many as three invited guests will win a series of four exciting waterfowl adventures. The hunts are located on some of the best waterfowl areas in Texas. Trips include a Coastal Prairies guided hunt for snows, blues and white-fronted geese; a guided duck hunt in the Coastal Marshes; an East Texas hunt for wood ducks and mallards, and a guided trek in the Panhandle for Canada and snow geese.

* Texas Exotic Safari — Two winners will experience the thrill of hunting African exotic game right here in Texas on the Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area in the Texas Hill Country. Each winner can take two exotic species, including waterbuck, gemsbok, scimitar-horned oryx, greater kudu, sable antelope and impala. Hunters may choose to shoot modern rifle, muzzleloader, archery or crossbow. Winners can also bring along a companion to hunt a management exotic. Food and lodging will be provided at the scenic Mason Mountain WMA lodge. Taxidermy service will be provided for the two winners. Proceeds go to benefit wildlife conservation and research on Mason Mountain WMA.

* Texas Big Time Bird Hunt — One winner along with as many as three hunting buddies will enjoy a unique package of upland game bird hunts: two days of quail, two days of pheasant hunting in the Panhandle and two afternoons of dove hunting. There will also be a two-day guided spring turkey hunt for two included in the package. Food, guide service and lodging are included on all bird hunts, and pointing dogs are provided for quail and pheasant hunts.

* Texas Premium Buck Hunt — This is the ultimate deer hunting experience-take a shot at a trophy white-tailed buck (160-plus Boone and Crockett score) in the rugged South Texas brush country. One winner and a guest will enjoy the finest deer hunting trip that Texas can offer. Professional guide service, food and high quality accommodations are included to provide each hunter comfort as well as great hunting.

The deadline to apply for this year's Big Time Texas Hunts is Nov. 6. Winners will be announced later in November.