Staff Report

AUSTIN — Ken Garcia says he has been “poor man hunting” for nearly a half century; chasing mule deer across public land in New Mexico and hunting whitetails in Texas on small leases or by invitation from friends. Not this year.

Garcia will be living a hunter’s dream after being selected this year’s winner of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s ultimate hunting adventure, the Texas Grand Slam.

As the lucky winner of this year’s Big Time Texas Hunts crown jewel, the Texas Grand Slam hunt package, Garcia receives four separate guided hunts for Texas’ most prized big game animals — desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope and mule deer.

“I’ve been entering since the start of the program,” said Garcia, who turns 62 on Thanksgiving. “When I got the call and she asked if I was sitting down I knew it was something special. I figured maybe I’d won one of the whitetail hunts, but getting to hunt a bighorn sheep is amazing.”

Garcia, who recently came out of retirement to work as a project manager for an energy efficiency company in San Antonio, said he intends to start making preparations for his four dream hunts immediately. “The bighorn hunt has me nervous,” he admitted. “Not so much because of the prospect of having to make a long distance shot, I feel confident about that, but because it is such a rarity. I’m going to give it all I’ve got.”

Garcia said he has entered the Big Time Texas Hunts drawings annually, but never dreamed of winning the Texas Grand Slam category.

“I’ve been hunting since I was 13, but mostly what I’d call poor man hunting; just wherever we could go and what we could afford, so to get something like this is pretty special,” he added. “I have one whitetail hanging on the wall that I’m proud of, but I haven’t killed anything huge out in New Mexico hunting mule deer and I’ve never hunted pronghorn in my life.”

Garcia joins 16 other lucky sportsmen who are making special plans for hunting season as winners of this year’s Big Time Texas Hunts.

The hunters were selected by random computer drawing from applicants in the TPWD program.

All told, hunters bought 64,759 Big Time Texas Hunt entries during this year’s sales period through the Oct. 15 deadline. This generated about $620,000 in gross revenue to support wildlife research, habitat management and public hunting.

Following are the winners of this year’s Big Time Texas Hunts.

This years winners:

Grand Slam — Kenneth Garcia, San Antonio.
Premium Buck Hunt — Walter Poskey, Lufkin.
Exotic Safari — Joseph Trahan, Alvin and Chad Kissinger, Austin.
Whitetail Bonanza — Paul Todd, Smithville; Chris Zaiontz, Marion; Jesse Hauptrief, Melissa; Dennis Schroeder, Windthorst; Robert Moore, Fort Worth; Daniel Small, Weatherford; James Murphy, Como; Larry Siarski, Houston; Karla Ledom, Platte City, MO; Gerald Siegmyer,

Big Time Bird Hunt — James May, Dale.
Waterfowl Adventure — Christopher Evans, Southlake
Gator Hunt — John Oliver, Port Neches.