For the past two years, Kentucky state trooper Colt Stumbo has tagged along with his buddies for a quota gun hunt on Fort Knox’s military reservation in Hardin County.
More than half of the U.S. Treasury’s gold reserves are located on Fort Knox, so gaining access to hunt the installation involves a lot of red tape. But once you’re on, the army base offers 65,000 acres of hunting ground otherwise unavailable to civilians, and it’s a vault teeming with whitetails and other wildlife.
Colt and his hunting buddies had their names drawn for a shotgun/muzzleloader quota hunt the third weekend in November 2022, made the 2 1/2 hour drive to camp and did some light scouting on Friday, Nov. 18.
“It’s a getaway trip,” Colt told Buckmasters. “A couple of the buddies I go with are troopers, too. We’ll get a hotel, eat at the local steakhouse; nobody’s trying to kill a big deer. You know there’s a chance of seeing one, but you don’t expect it.”
He didn’t expect this Bluegrass Bruiser to contend with any previous record but lo and behold, we have a new #1 in the shotgun irregular category in the state of Kentucky, shattering the previous BTR record held for six years by 17 inches. Buckmasters scorer Dale Weddle measured this buck at 209 3/8.
Colt picked a spot on the map he’d never been to before, went in blind Saturday morning and set up on the ground in a big block of mature oak flats.
“I’d never been in this area before, just said, ‘Hey, this looks good on the map,’” Colt said. “I liked the topography; it was mostly timber and rolling hills. We walked in about 1 1/2 miles into this spot, saw four does that morning and about noon I decided to make my way toward the truck.”
He walked nearly 60 yards up a point into a firebreak then stopped to check his map to see if there was a quicker route back to the truck.
“I heard something walking on the leaves, and it was getting louder. I had a little seat in my hand, so I laid it down, got my gun ready and turned to the direction the sound was coming from,” Colt reflected. “Above me on a little bench I saw horns coming through a thicket. He’s walking towards me, but I can’t tell much about him. I’m real still, flip off my safety and check if it’s a legal buck because it has to be at least a 12-inch spread on Fort Knox. All I could see was horns.”
The buck came out the thicket by itself into the firebreak with its nose down, sniffing side to side.
Colt got a quick look at the buck’s left P2 and P3 before sending a Trophy Copper slug from 55 yards with his bolt-action Savage 220.
“He gave a big mule kick and started spraying blood as he ran by me,” Colt added. “I saw him go over the bank and crash as he went down into another valley. I knew it was a big deer but didn’t think it was any kind of record.”
Colt met his buddy Bryan at the truck to retrieve a knife and deer sled. When they walked up on the state-record buck, Colt started turning white to the point where Bryan asked him if he needed to sit down. Completely normal.
Fort Knox biologists aged this buck at 5.5 years old before it left the base.
The rack features matching 13-inch P2s, an 11 5/8-inch P3 on the right and a 12 4/8-inch P3 on the left.
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