Every hunter hopes to snag that record-breaking trophy that will make his fellow hunters do a double take—especially here in the Lone Star State, where bigger is always better. We hope your expedition at 4 Amigos Ranch is as epic as these truly Texas hunting stories—and we can all but guarantee you’ll leave with some thrilling tales of your own.

This summer, the Texas Trophy Hunters Association introduced us to Bryan Hope and his wife, Cassandra, who celebrated their first anniversary with a deer hunt. When Cassandra dropped a large buck, she and Bryan were ecstatic… until they watched it get up and disappear in the trees.

“What happened? The shot was perfect. He lay motionless for half an hour. How could this be?” Bryan said. Fortunately, they found the buck about 20 yards away, kicking their second year of marriage off to a happy start.

Sometimes, the hunt of a lifetime has a way of taking you by surprise.

According to Game and Fish Magazine, Bryan O’Neal and his family snagged a record-breaking whitetail buck on their 400-acre plot in Smith County. Bryan and his son, Nicholas, had spent more than an hour waiting for the perfect opportunity to shoot the giant deer. After Nicholas missed a couple of shots, Bryan was able to drop it.

“I didn’t realize just how big the buck was until I had someone else look at it,” he told Game and Fish. In fact, it was the largest typical whitetail taken on a low-fenced tract in the state in 2017—as well as the largest buck ever taken from Smith County.

And while it’s not exactly a hunting story, it’s still pretty amazing: Range 365 reports that someone stole Don Wiebenga’s 20-gauge shotgun from his truck during Michigan deer season in 1977.

Why should we care about a theft that happened more than 40 years ago? Well, that gun was recovered last year during a traffic stop in the Lone Star State. Just goes to show that in hunting and in life, it pays to be persistent.