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An Epic Hunt For The Ages! This year marked my 14th straight year hunting with the “Rio Pros” at Magnum Guide Service and as I predicted, it ranked among the best ever! Once again, I splurged with a 4 bird, “double ranch” hunt and joined my buddy Joe Shannon from Louisiana for a seven day Tom-odyssey filled with ups and downs, twists and turns. That first night at the hallowed Main Lodge after a dinner grilled to perfection, I sat down with veteran guides Glen Rathfon and Bob Young for the annual pre hunt planning session all Magnum hunters are treated to: lowered voices, maps drawn on napkins, personal attention to every detail. They whispered of a big “satellite” bird no one could kill surrounded by a harem of watchful hens. Glen suggested I build a ground blind in the starlight 60-80 yards away and ambush the brute in his safety zone. So, I did and just as he predicted a group of hens led the big strutting Tom to within forty yards. Bam! Bird one down by 7:30. “Congratulations” said Glen as he picked me up! “Nice Tom!” “But,” he added, slowly shaking his head. “That’s not him.” I argued. “Uh uh. It’s him! He was right where you said he’d be, strutting and surrounded by hens. He’s a big old, three year old with a meat-head! It’s him.” “Not him.” Glen repeated as he tagged my bird and loaded it in the Power Wagon. That afternoon I returned to learn what I knew all along. Glen was right. About 80 yards away with trees and brush between us, I saw a HUGE, Tom, in full strut, spinning and twirling to adoring females. Finally, he turned to face me and I could clearly see his red, white and blue, baseball head! It was he! But, the next morning, Glen had other plans for me in another pasture simply named “11,” a dramatic, cathedral like space framed by live oaks stocked with gobbling turkeys. I climbed in the blind, hens flew down and five minutes later two big gobblers circled, I waited on the strutting bird and BOOM, another big, three year old with curvy hooks and ten-inch beard. Awesome! But, I couldn’t stop thinking about that even bigger bird and challenge I saw the day before. So, there I was, tagged out on ranch one, but still hungry to hunt. So, I asked Bob to put me back in “Satellite” pasture to chase “him.” I knew the odds of scoring were low. But, maybe I’d see him again. Bob helped me move my blind, once, twice, three times until I finally settled on the spot I thought he might pass. Not long after I heard a gobble in front about 60 yards and there he was on a swift march, not to amore, but to battle! I almost took a shot, but he was moving so fast and just a little too far. Then, I heard a furious flurry of wing beats, fighting purrs and thunderous gobbles. I maneuvered in the blind to see TWO identically HUGE Toms standing tall fighting. I scrambled for my binos, and watched the spur-ious fight at 12X! Awesome. But, then I dropped the lenses a bit and the head of a much closer hen filled the circle. Putt. Putt. Putt. Busted! I heard a gobble or two as the birds disappeared in the distance. I sulked in the blind at least two hours and then, HE appeared at about 45 yards directly in front. There was no doubt this time. His eyes widened as I made my move. Uh oh! I put the Aimpoint on the back of his bobbing head and dropped him in his tracks! Glen guessed his age at least 4 years. His shortest spur was 1 ½” and his second even longer. He weighed 23 pounds with a giant, meat-head. I felt quite proud of myself. Even more when Glen picked me up and agreed, this time I got “him!” Now with just one tag and a new ranch to hunt, I persuaded Jim to let me ride with Bob and Glen to help with some “routine chores.” A week later, I am still sore! All Magnum clients should try this once to better appreciate how hard the guides work to put us on birds! Once! Saturday was a joyous success with every hunter at the main lodge tagging out including Joe who banged three trophies in one sitting. You can see the photos on the Magnum web site, ten smiling faces and 20+ meat heads. Only one hunter still had a tag. Me. That night, I learned Glen had a “special” pasture for me to hunt in the morning: "Lost Windmill," a remote roost near a waterhole pumped by a vintage Aermotor. At first, I objected. I’m not fond of hunting a blind I didn’t build. They’re never in the right place and there’s always a “pain in the back” rock or root. I voiced my doubts to Glen while he was cleaning the many birds killed that day. I could tell he was a bit piqued, “Kevin, just trust me,” end of conversation. So, on Easter Sunday, I loaded up with Bob and we went turkey hunting. We parked a long way off as to not spook birds on the roost. After a long walk, the Aermotor blades loomed ahead and Bob led me to an old brush blind named “Diamond Back” for obvious reasons. The sun was wading in the gray light and song birds were already waking. So I bid Bob goodbye and climbed in the blind, flashlight on, kicking brush and looking for snakes. I have never once seen a snake hunting in Texas, but better safe than sorry. Once in, I noticed hens and jakes on the treetops left of the windmill and I worried the roosted birds saw me. Then, from the other side of the windmill, a sound I’d never heard. A LOUD yelp followed by a short but authoritative gobble and obviously from the same bird. Almost a half gobble like a Jake, but this was no Jake. Loud, like a stadium speaker hung in the tree! About 15 minutes later, hens and jakes began to pitch down about 60 yards directly to my right. The Boss flew down seemingly through the whirring windmill blades and immediately rushed the girls in wanton pursuit. They were having no part of him. They fled further away to my right and I knew it was now or never. He veered a little closer, then, behind a bush and that’s when I made my big move. Boom! I dropped him at 57 steps left-handed! Suddenly, Bob appeared from nowhere. He said he too heard that yelp/gobble and decided to hang around. He told me it was a warning to other Toms from the Boss: “Don’t even think about gobbling,” a dramatic end to a memorable hunt! So, standing in the misty Texas morning, my guide and I, bird between us, shared a moment of beatific tranquility as this impressive trophy peacefully expired like Slim Pickens in a Sam Peckinpah movie. My fourth and final Tom, a HUGE 4 year old with limb hanger hooks and 11” beard! Thank you Glen! Thank you Bob! I never had a doubt! After 14 years hunting with Magnum, I can recall many hunts as enjoyable, but none more! And the multitude of turkeys we all saw will prove next year equally epic, even by Magnum standards. So, Jim and Mel here is my deposit, and look forward to returning again to join old friends and new to hunt with the “Rio Pros” at Magnum Guide Service!”
  -Kevin Neathery, AR
Thanks once again for a great turkey hunt. This was my 3rd trip with you and it just keeps getting better. Everything, and everyone, was great, but I've come to expect that from Magnum Guide Service. The hunting is addictive, and the meals, people, and lodging are first class. Thanks for making my short vacation successful and very enjoyable. You're the best!”
- Randy Kittle, GA
Not only was this place far more than I ever expected but everyone there made me feel like family. From the cooks, guides, owners, guests and other hunters. Also, I've never heard so many gobblers. Seemed they were in every tree at daylight. And after they came off the Roost OMG, they were strutting, drumming- everything they could do to win the attention of the hens that were around. We drove 16 hours from near Atlanta, Georgia in hopes of trying something different. Me and my Lil Brother are Firefighters for more than 20 years each. I don't get excited and try not to look outside the box often. That's why I was so impressed with Magnum, it's like they picked me instead of me picking them. And yes we booked a hunt same place same time next year. Thank You Magnum and everyone involved in making it a Hunt of a Lifetime. I can’t wait to see you next year and can't wait to make even greater memories! P.S. If you have a child or just want to have a place to carry a wife, friend, buddy or whomever that you don't want to worry about drinking, cursing, and bad hunter ethics, then I urge you to give them a call and book a hunt. You will be more than happy with the accommodations, guides, property, owners, you name it.
- Tommy Hopson, GA
WOW!! Where do I start! This was my first trip to Texas and my first time hunting with Magnum Guide Service! From the time I arrived everyone made me feel like I was part of the family. To be part of a group of hunters and CHRISTIAN hunters was more than anyone could ask for. Also to be part of a group that had the best hunting experience and had the best harvest that Magnum had ever seen! 11 hunters harvested 20 birds in one day...that's right 20 birds in one day! The hunting was phenomenal!!! But the best experience of the whole hunt was the way everyone made me feel. I was dealing with alot of personal issues when I left for the hunt. Jim, Melony, Glenn, Sandy, Bob and everyone else in camp really stepped up to the plate and took their personal time to talk to me about my situation! To be with a group of caring CHRISTIANS who love hunting but more than that care about helping each other out. These were some amazing people and Magnum Guide Service is definitely off the charts. If you are looking for a hunt of a lifetime and also a group of CHRISTIANS who will give you their testimonials and change your life forever please give Magnum Guide Service a call and book a hunt! You won't be disappointed! Thank You again to everyone who changed my life and made this a trip of a lifetime!!!!!
- Mike Hopson, GA
Angie and I had a wonderful time, and greatly enjoyed the fellowship, wonderful meals, accommodations, and last, but not least, the hunt! We could not have asked for a better opening morning hunt that was obviously well pre-scouted; and the set could not have been better situated for a bow hunt! Great memories and friends made throughout the trip! Thanks again for your hospitality, professionalism and expression of Christian faith!
- Jason Herring, MS
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