New correspondent Michael Bodenchuk has taken a close look at some very interesting hunting opportunities in his home state of Texas, everything from inexpensive draw hunts for alligators and feral hogs to exotics to big whitetails, to an amazing chance to take bighorn sheep for $10. But be warned, you'll have to act quickly for some of these hunts. We gave Email Extra subscribers a heads-up on these opportunities in early July. If you missed that bulletin, applications are now available and some of these deadlines are imminent. Enjoy!
Nearly 98 percent of the Lone Star State is private land, and public hunting opportunities are limited. Private land hunting for giant whitetails and exotics is a pricey option. However, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (www.tpwd.state.tx.us/) conducts three separate programs to provide hunting opportunities, and some of these are unavailable anywhere else for any price. Of most interest to traveling hunters is the Big Time Texas Hunts, a raffle which lets very lucky hunters draw some exceptional hunting opportunities: a guided hunt on a South Texas ranch for a trophy class deer, an exotic safari, an alligator hunt guided by TPWD staff, and 10 separate quality whitetail hunts. The jewel of this program is the "Texas Grand Slam," where one winner receives a guided trophy hunt for a whitetail, a mule deer, a pronghorn and a desert bighorn sheep. Deadline for entry is October 15 this year. You can purchase as many chances as you like for $9 each online (plus a $5 administrative fee for each separate transaction). Sure, the odds are long, but this is one of only two public opportunities for desert bighorns in Texas, and they're taking some exceptional sheep. The second opportunity is the Special Drawing program. In 2011/12 there are 21 categories of hunts for adult hunters, plus an additional seven categories of youth-only hunts. Some of these are management deer hunts, which probably wouldn't entice you to travel to Texas. But some of the hunts are remarkable. For example, there's one permit up for draw (category code: BXX) this year for........(continued)