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Advice from Dad Helped Crossbow Hunter Courtney Hatley Down an Ohio Giant

Courtney's hunt in November 2020 produced one of the best crossbow bucks taken by a woman in the state.

Advice from Dad Helped Crossbow Hunter Courtney Hatley Down an Ohio Giant

A father’s selflessness is a gift in itself; but when that gift also brings a trophy whitetail, there’s even more reason to celebrate. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Hatley) 

There is an old saying: “Always listen to the guide.”  In Courtney Hatley’s case, that advice came from her dad, Bobby. Bobby is an experienced deer hunter who started taking his daughter Courtney deer hunting with him when she was 4 years old. She shot her first deer when she was 8 years old and had shot three bucks prior to the 2020 season.

The family lives in North Carolina, but they are members of the Ohio River Hunt Club. While hunting back in 2017, Courtney’s dad started getting trail camera photos of a pretty respectable buck. By 2019 the buck had put on enough antler that everyone in the hunt club was aware of him. But the buck had become very educated during the past hunting seasons and was never seen during the daylight hunting hours in 2019.

A few days after Thanksgiving in the 2020 deer season, Courtney’s dad started getting several daylight photos of the giant buck. He told Courtney, “The big buck is showing up in the daylight; we need to go immediately.”  

On November 27, 2020, Courtney and her dad headed to Ohio. The father and daughter duo arrived at camp late, so Bobby asked Courtney, “Why don’t you take my Ravin crossbow?” After the brief instruction period, he took Courtney to the hang-on stand and left her at around 2:30 p.m.

Advice from Dad Helped Courtney Hatley Earn a Crossbow Record Buck
When this buck first appeared on trail camera everyone in the club had their sights fixed. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Hatley)

About the time Courtney was thinking the afternoon hunt was going to be a bust, she caught movement about 70 yards away. She realized it was a buck, and he was walking down the same trail she and her dad had used to access the tree stand. 

The buck came through some thick brush and suddenly stopped in an opening 25 yards away. When the buck stopped in the opening, she already had the safety off and was lined up on the deer. When she took the shot, the buck turned and ran toward a small creek where she thought she saw him go down.  

Advice from Dad Helped Courtney Hatley Earn a Crossbow Record Buck
It took a team to load up Courtney's big buck into the Kawasaki! (Photo courtesy of Courtney Hatley)

The shot looked good, and suddenly Courtney thought to herself, “I think that was the big buck we have been after!”  Everything had happened so fast, she didn’t have time to get a really good look at the size of the buck. But she knew he was really big. She grabbed her phone and called Bobby.

When Bobby saw her name appear on his phone he thought, “It’s still daylight; I hope she hasn’t had an accident.” But the first excited words he heard were: “I think I got the big one!” 

Bobby immediately got on the Polaris Ranger and headed to the stand Courtney had been hunting out of.  The hunter had gotten out of the stand, and when her dad arrived, she said, “I think he is right over the hill.” They all started moving in that direction, and just over the hill they saw antlers sticking up. Bobby immediately shouted: “It’s him Courtney; It’s him!”  

After the 60-day drying period elapsed, the giant Ohio buck scored 188 5/8 gross non-typical and 181 6/8 net non-typical. The score includes impressive main beam measurements of 28 2/8 inches and 27 0/8 inches, with over 35 inches in circumference measurements. Stay tuned for a feature article in our magazine to find out where this special buck ranks in the Buckeye Big Buck Club record book.

Be sure to subscribe to our magazine to read and enjoy the full-length feature article surrounding Courtney's buck. This web article is just a teaser of an amazing in-print story that will run this summer, stay tuned!

Advice from Dad Helped Courtney Hatley Earn a Crossbow Record Buck
There are lots of reasons to smile when you're the one who knocks down the target buck. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Hatley)

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