Hunters may now apply for the "Big Time Texas Hunts" that are sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). This year, the program is offering 10 hunting packages for various species within the Lone Star State.

Available hunting packages this year include the Nilgai Antelope Safari, the Texas Grand Slam, the Ultimate Mule Deer Hunt, the Premium Buck Hunt, the Whitetail Bonanza, the Exotic Safari, the Waterfowl Adventure, the Big Time Bird Hunt, and the Wild Hog Adventure.

Of these, the Texas Grand Slam is the crown jewel.

The lucky winner will receive fully guided hunts for Desert Bighorn Sheep, whitetail deer, mule deer, and pronghorn. The Double H Ranch in west Texas will host the mule deer hunt; McBride hunting in the Texas Panhandle will host the pronghorn hunt; and the Meyers Spring Ranch near Comstock, Texas, will host the whitetail deer hunt. The Desert Bighorn will be hunted at either the Elephant Mountain WMA, Black Gap WMA, or the Sierra Diablo WMA.

The Exotic Hunt package also provides a very unique opportunity. First off, the winner will get a fully guided hunt on the Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area just west of San Antonio. That person can bring along two companions: one hunting guest and one nonhunting guest.

Gemsbok, Scimitar-Horned Oryx, Common Waterbuck, and Axis Deer all live in that area, and the winner will have the opportunity to harvest two of those species while the hunting companion can take one.

The winner will also receive free taxidermy shoulder mounts for both animals they harvest. To top it all off, the winner will also receive a brand-new Ruger American Rifle chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum and topped with a Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40 mm scope.

While hunters must pay a fee to apply for these hunts, no additional fees are due for the lucky hunters who get drawn. All hunts include guide service, food, lodging, and on-site transportation.

It costs $9 per application for each hunt and there’s no limit to the number of entries hunters can purchase. You can think of them as raffle tickets.

Applicants must pay a $5 online application fee per transaction, but can purchase an unlimited number of entries in a single transaction. A Texas hunting license is not required to apply.

All proceeds from the program support habitat management, public hunting opportunities, and wildlife conservation programs. Among other projects, Big Time Texas hunts have funded Desert Bighorn Sheep population surveys, feral hog trapping, native grass reseeding, and facility improvements at multiple Wildlife Management Areas. For more details on these projects, visit this web page.

For more information on all the Big Time Texas Hunts available this year, or to apply for a hunt, visit their web page. The application deadline is Oct. 15.