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Big Ohio Typical Taken During Thrilling Father/Son Hunt

Back in November, Austin Henthorn and his son, Oakley, had a day in the deer woods they'll never forget.

Big Ohio Typical Taken During Thrilling Father/Son Hunt

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Austin Henthorn is an Ohio deer hunter, and in November 2023, he tagged a great buck with his .350 Legend rifle. He had three years of trail camera photos of the deer he called “Bert,” and eventually downed the 5 1/2-year-old buck. Between Austin and his father, during the 2023 deer season, they had six encounters with the deer.

Austin grew up hunting the area and knows it well. Therefore, he was confident he’d craft a good plan to target the buck. On Nov. 27, 2023, it came to fruition.

The day brought 30-degree temperatures, westerly winds and spitting snow. His setup was in the rolling terrain of hill country, with a mix of small ag fields and about 80 percent timber cover.

He was on the ground without a blind. Furthermore, his 5-year-old son, Oakley, was with him. His wife was sick, so he took their son along to the deer woods. Although Austin had prepped the spot with a single-man ladder stand, he couldn’t hunt it because Oakley was along for the adventure. A burlap wrap around a big oak tree was all the cover they had. A steep but narrow draw dropped off to the left. To the right, the same draw widened, opening up to about 100 yards in width. Behind them, a thicket and ag field sprawled out.

Additionally, his brothers and father were going to line a nearby bottom in hopes of seeing their big target buck. They all had an idea where the big deer was living.

About 20 minutes in, some deer walked down off the hill. A couple decent bucks and does eased down the slope. The first buck was a spike. The second buck came through, and they tried to get on it, but they waited too long. A third buck was walking through, and they tried to get on that one as well. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get a shot off.

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Oakley had been squeezing the trigger and trying to get a shot off. However, the trigger never actually went off. Austin realized he never took the safety off! By now, most of the deer had passed them, but one buck remained.

With safety off, Oakley reengaged. Unfortunately, the buck whirled just as he pulled the trigger, and he missed in front of his shoulder. “The dad guilt started setting in,” Austin recalls.




The miss fresh on their minds, Oakley wanted to go home. “I think we’ll see one more deer,” Austin told him. “I’ll bet you a glass of milk and a Nutty Bar that we’ll see another deer.”

About 25 minutes later, with only a few minutes of legal light remaining, he heard another deer approaching across the ravine. It was close, only 40 yards away. His gut turned upside down.

“I hear a deer over there,” Austin told Oakley. “I think it’s probably Bert.”

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It was! While his son had the greenlight on any other deer, this buck had Austin’s name on it. So, he slowly grabbed the gun off the BOG pod and shouldered it. Unfortunately, the deer was behind a big beech tree, and Austin couldn’t shoot.

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A few seconds later, the deer entered a clear lane. Looking down toward the deer, he took the short shot. It connected, and the buck fell in sight.

“I knew he was going to shoot him,” Oakley says. “I heard him go down. We hugged and celebrated.”

Reflecting on this buck, it’s clear the deer was a homebody. At 4 1/2, he ran around pretty hard. At 5 1/2, his core area shrunk down significantly. He wasn’t leaving a 300- to 400-yard circumference. He was no doubt a dominant buck.

“Last year, I passed this deer at 175 inches typical, with a G2 and G3 broken off,” Austin says. “When he showed back up in August, it was game on. I hunted my butt off. My dad and I hunted about every day from October 15th through November. The grind and the story, and finally closing the book, and being there with my son, it’s the most memorable hunt I’ll ever have. Seeing the smile on his face and the entire journey, it was enjoyable but also very stressful. Deer like this don’t come around every year. It’s a very special deer, because I got to hunt him with my dad and then kill him with my son.”

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