Jimmy Fontenot, Owner - Safari Studios
The Department of Agriculture is proud to recognize Mr. Jimmy Fontenot as our 2014-15 Outstanding Alumnus. Fontenot was raised in San Angelo and graduated from Water Valley High School in 1981. He then obtained a job as a field technician with the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center before making his decision to pursue an animal science degree at Angelo State University.
While attending Angelo State, Fontenot competed on the wool and livestock judging teams. He also was the sentinel, vice president and president of the Block & Bridle Club in respective years, as well as a member of the Society for Range Management. He received his bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1985.
In a recent interview, Fontenot said, “I was the only student in animal science at the time that was interested in wildlife with a focus on deer management.” This, along with his avid love for the outdoors, led him pursue a master’s degree in animal science with a thesis focus on white-tailed deer nutrition, which he finished in 1987.
Upon graduation, Fontenot started as a wildlife field technician at the Angelo State University Management, Instruction and Research (MIR) Center. He then moved to northeast Texas to work in range management for the Broseco Ranch. In 1992, he moved back to San Angelo to open his own business, and he now outfits hunts from Texas to Wyoming and even as far as South Africa. In 1995, he made what he feels is one of the best decisions in life – he bought his current taxidermy shop, Safari Studios.
“It was open doors and passion that made me want to pursue this career,” Fontenot said.
Also very active in his community, Fontenot currently serves as president of the San Angelo Chapter Safari Club International and is a member of the Texas Taxidermy Association.
Fontenot has a deep love and passion for Angelo State University and emphasized how much his degree prepared him for his career. In his time as a student, he loved the opportunity to learn first-hand at the MIR Center, honing skills he would later need. He values his degree dearly, because he uses it on a daily basis. He is chasing his dream and doing exactly what he loves to do in life.
Fontenot left us with these final words, “Don’t let anybody steal your dream, and if the dream is big enough, the facts don’t count.”