Kentucky Big Buck: Troy Gentry’s Ft. Knox Giant, 186 6/8

KY gentry 1My favorite segment on BIG DEER TV is American Deer Hunter. No matter where I’m hunting, my producers and I try to find a local hunter in the area who has shot a magnificent  whitetail. During a break in the hunting, we head over to the hunter’s house to film him and hear the story. When the new season of BIG DEER starts this July, you’ll see and hear Troy Gentry talk about the day he killed this 186” 10-point in Bullitt County, Kentucky . FYI, when we show up with the cameras you never know how a hunter will react. As you will see on this show, Troy was a natural, smooth and comfortable on camera as he told his story (paraphrased here):

It was 2002, and I got drawn for a really good area on Fort Knox military installation. It was the first day of a two-day hunt, shotgun-only, and I was hunting with a Remington 1187 slug gun. I had been sitting in the tree all morning, daylight to about 11:20, and I had a pounding headache. I got down to go get some aspirin out of my truck.

As I still-hunted back to within about 80 yards of my stand, I saw a little doe between me and the stand. Behind her was this incredible buck. After the shot, I immediately radioed my dad and told him I’d just killed a Boone and Crockett. By the time he got over there I had told him four different stories…he’s 170, 180, 200 inches! I just couldn’t believe it when I walked up on that deer.

By the time we got the deer out to the truck, there was a colonel and a general from Fort Knox. The general was on his cell phone saying. “We got a new state record, we got a new state record…” Everybody was freaking out. On B&C scoring system he grosses 198 and nets 186 6/8. On the SCI scoring system he scores 202 6/8 and is the Kentucky state record under that system. He’s just an amazing animal…it was the best experience of my hunting career.—Troy Gentry

NOTE: Troy’s 10-point buck has 27” and 28” main beams, and 14” and 15” tines. It ranks as the #13 typical ever shot in Kentucky.

Two lessons to take away from Troy’s hunt:

—If there’s a military installation, state forest or area near you that holds an annual draw hunt, apply. These limited-entry hunts are usually short, 2 or 3 days, and there’s a good chance to shoot a buck…and if you’re really lucky a giant.

—It amazes me how many monster bucks are killed when hunters least expect it. If you have to get down from your stand one day for whatever reason, don’t sweat it. But don’t stop hunting. Keep your edge, move slow and hunt as you head back to your truck or back to your stand, just like Troy did. You never know when a big buck will show up, so be ready.

Big Deer TV: Update From The Road

sask buck 2014

Been on the road chasing the rut for 2 weeks now, finally got some Wi-Fi to check in. Ten days ago up in Saskatchewan I shot one of the biggest 8-pointers I’ve killed in a while, the rack scored 140. It was cold, near zero, but no snow. The buck ghosted down a ridge at 3 pm, further confirmation that big bucks move at midday especially during a full moon. Shot him with my Remington Model 783 in .270 with a 150-grain Core-Lokt SP bullet.

wy hunt

From there headed down to Sheridan, Wyoming, where I hunted in the shadows of the Bighorn Mountains. It snowed and was severely cold…temps -10, snow, and one day the legendary Wyoming winds gusted to -40 and -50.

wy buck 2014

But the bucks were in full-blown rut and the hunting and rattling were spectacular. Shot this fantastic 5-year-old buck, whose rack had double split G-2s and great mass out through the beams. Used my favorite rifle, a Remington Model 700 in 7mm RUM topped with Trijicon 2.5-10X scope, and shooting a 150-grain Scirroco Bonded bullet.

Driving north into eastern Montana now, looking for a good mule deer and more killer footage for Big Deer TV. Hope they are rutting like the whitetails are. Good luck with your hunting.



BIG DEER TV Hunts California

cali big deer

As you read this I will have traveled up into Oregon and be in the midst of a 10-day quest for mule deer after a fine week of hunting in the Central Coast of Cali, near the town of Paso Robles, or “Pass of the Oaks.”

The highlight of the trip was obviously shooting the 130-class 3×4 buck; B&C minimum for a Columbian blacktail is 135, so this is a great and above average deer, about as big as they for these parts. Twenty inches wide, even had one small eyeguard.

Note the compact camera rig we used—Nikon DSLR, 80-200 mm lens here I believe, w/shotgun microphone. Cameras for filming the outdoors have come a long way. I remember not too long ago when the guys carried huge, heavy Sony Handicams the size of suitcases. With a good lens, the rigs cost more than 100k.

It’s a good thing we had the small camera because the buck hunt was fast and action-packed. Blacktails are not called Pacific Ghosts for nothing. I stalked my buck bedded and hidden beneath an oak tree. He jumped up and trotted through a basketball-size opening in the brush, giving me a split-second opportunity. With his small rig held right over my shoulder, cameraman Nolan was able to run with me to a set-up tree and find the buck in his lens just as I took the quick shot. The buck ran 50 yards and expired.

After we gutted the buck, we lashed him onto our California Pack Mule, a 10-year-old Jeep decked out for serious backcountry hunting, with spare gas and water cans and a couple of indestructible,5-year-old Yeti Tundra coolers. How cool is that rig!

A lot of people don’t realize that there is still much beautiful and remote deer country to hunt in Cali, but you have to find the right place and go with the right people. Like my friend Doug Roth, who has been operating Camp 5 Outfitters for more than 30 years. He’s one of the best blacktail hunters in the state. Doug and I hunted a 22,000-acre private ranch, and we were the only ones on it. Zero pressure, and that’s how you kill big deer of any species.

cali wine country

Most people don’t think of fancy vineyards and wild pigs in the same breath, but I do. There are more than 170 immaculate wineries in this region putting out some of the best Cabernet and Merlot in the world, and I managed to squeeze in visits to a couple of them. My favorite was Hidden Oak, a small vineyard operated by Mike and Martha James, very nice people making fine Central Coast red wine in their retirement.

cali pig

Just miles from the impeccable vineyards, I shot this pig in heart at 110 yards as it gobbled acorns beneath an oak tree. This region of the Central Coast has the highest population of feral hogs in the state, and you should buy a pig tag ($71 for a non-resident) along with your buck tag.

This unique and fantastic BIG DEER TV show will air on the Sportsman Channel next summer.

2014 Hunt Season is Here!

trail cam mini beast

Here’s another look at “Mini-Beast” that a hunter in the Midwest has had on camera for a couple of months. I thought this was a great image, with the other smaller buck hiding in the background.

The sight of this velvet giant has the BIG DEER TV Team fired up as we hit the road for Season 4. We are starting super early this year, with teams hunting and filming from Colorado to Kentucky next week.

Next week… I can hardly believe the season got here so fast!

I’ll be archery hunting the opener in the Bluegrass State, where there’s a 50-50 chance that if I see and get a shot at a big deer his rack will still be in velvet. Or maybe half in velvet and peeling and bloody, a rack like that is cool.

Season 3 of BIG DEER TV is rolling along strong right now on Sportsman Channel, Wednesday nights 10/9c through December. Set your DVR!

Friday shout out to our great sponsors that make all this possible: Remington Arms, Trijicon, Cabela’s, Wildlife Research Center and Yeti Coolers. You have my word that I only promote hunting gear that I use and trust, and these are the best hunt brands on the market. Thanks for supporting our sponsors, and all we do here at BIG DEER.

I’m expecting a big rack year across America this fall–good luck and be safe when you hit the woods. And remember the BIG DEER motto: Hunt hard, have fun and respect the game.

Video: Best Remington Core-Lokt Deer Shot

rem core lokt

The bullet that has killed more deer than other turned 75 years old in 2014. Serious gun writers with more knowledge of ballistic coefficients and terminal performance than me say that the iconic Remington Core-Lokt produces good accuracy in most center-fire rifles and “typically sheds considerable weight during expansion and penetration, which quickens the death of an animal.”

While I might not have as much ballistics knowledge as those gun writers, I have more field and hunting experience than most of them. I have shot dozens and dozens of whitetails and mule deer (and one blacktail) over the years with 140- to 180-grain Core-Lokts, both the soft-point and pointed-soft-points. The shock and knockdown power of these bullets are impressive. They kill deer hard.

Never is that more evident than in this video (below) we shot up in Saskatchewan. I am proud to say this is the quickest, cleanest and most ethical buck kill in all my years of hunting. I was shooting a Model 700 in .30-06 and using a standard 165-grain Core-Lokt. Keep in mind that this was a big-boned, heavy-muscled, 250-pound Canadian brute.

Is this one of the quickest and cleanest kills you’ve seen? And see the steam shoot out the deer? It was below zero that day.