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After decade-long wait, hunter finally doing what he loves

By Keldy Ortiz
July 5, 2013 at 2:05 a.m.

Roger Theisen poses with an oryx on a hunting trip in Africa. Theisen, 56, won a Big Time Texas Hunting package in October from the Texas Parks and Wildlife but has also been to South Africa twice for hunting adventures.

Roger Theisen owns an area tobacco business, but he would not mind selling it.

Inside Tobacco Junction, toward the counter, are pictures of him outdoors with animals that he has hunted over the years.

He loves hunting but enjoys simply being outdoors.

In October, the 56-year-old won a Big Time Texas Hunt package from Texas Parks and Wildlife, with which he's able to hunt different types of wildlife in the Lone Star state.

But the Victoria resident didn't want to wait for an opportunity to hunt and be outdoors.

So, he made his own.

Since 2011, the South Dakota native has traveled to South Africa twice and Argentina once for hunting adventures.

"My freezer is full now," Theisen said. "I haven't bought meat for 20 years."

Growing up in Lead, S.D., hunting was common for him.

"I've always done that," he said. "I could walk outdoors. I could hunt anywhere I wanted. It was a way to feed the family without breaking the bank."

Theisen came to Victoria in 1982, two years after graduating from Purdue with a degree in wildlife management. He took a job working on utility poles and held several different job titles, including district manager.

But the job kept him from doing what he loved.

Theisen had to travel frequently, which kept him from hunting as much as he liked.

He went 12 years without hunting.

"I did some fishing," Theisen said about those 12 years. "It was horrible."

In 1997, Theisen left that line of work to go into other ventures, which included owning restaurants and working in outside sales.

Hunting still lingered as something he wanted to do, and after Theisen left his job of 16 years, the opportunity to do some hunting became available.

"My neighbor asked me if I wanted to hunt on his place," Theisen said. "It was kind of a learning experience because in South Dakota, you go to jail for hunting over food. Down here, that's all they do."

But just hunting in Texas was not enough for Theisen. He wanted to travel.

He had seen plenty of deer and pigs, two of the most common species in Texas to hunt. Instead, Theisen wanted to see springboks, impalas, oryx and wildebeests.

"To me, it was a once-of-a-lifetime experience to see the amount of animals that was around you all day long," said James Wilson, 65, who has been friends with Theisen for more than 10 years. He went on Theisen's recent trip to Kimberley in South Africa in May. "There was hardly a couple of minutes that go by without seeing an animal."

Theisen thinks about traveling every day. He's even thought about moving to Ecuador.

He has his tobacco business in Victoria, but he says if someone were interested in the business, he would sell it.

"My identity is not tied to the store," said. "I like being outdoors."

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