MAN, W.Va. — Ryan Stacy decided he would hunt hard the week of Thanksgiving 2016. The 16 year old sophomore at Man High School loves to bow hunt and dedicated himself to taking a buck. However, a bad shot on Tuesday of that week left him worried he might have missed his best chance. It turned out his best chance was still ahead.
Ryan and his grandfather climbed into their two man ladder stand in a section of Logan County’s rugged Buffalo Creek area without any real confidence.
“We had trail cameras out with a few pretty good bucks,” Stacy said during an appearance on Northside Automotive West Virginia Outdoors. “We really didn’t know what to expect.”
Thanksgiving Day, Ryan and his “Popaw” were there before daylight. There was very little activity, until around 9:30 when the only deer they saw that morning showed up a little further away than they would have liked.
“It was just sort of a normal hunt and when we saw the deer we didn’t think we were going to get a shot at him,” Stacy explained. “He was just walking by, but then he stopped at about 40 yards. I shot him, but I didn’t make the best shot.”
The two were energized by what they believed to be decent buck, but Ryan worried his shot had not been as clean as he would have liked and there was very little blood at the point of impact to start tracking. Ryan called his dad to come help out.
“He came up there and actually jumped the deer as he was walking out to my treestand and he was bleeding a whole lot then, so that’s when we knew he was probably going to go.” said Ryan. “We actually went home for a couple of hours and came back in a different way where we thought he had died.”
A brief search led them straight to the deer which had zig-zagged through the rugged mountain terrain for more than 150 yards. The buck turned out to be way more than any of them expected. The massive rack left all three in shock and disbelief.
“We had never seen the deer before. We had no clue it was in there,” said Ryan. “We had trail cameras out and we had pictures of pretty good bucks, but we didn’t expect anything like that. You really only get one chance at those.”
He was a dandy. This week the required 60 day drying period on the antlers was completed. The Pope and Young Score was 174 1/8 which made Ryan’s buck the #5 all time buck ever killed in West Virginia with a bow in the typical rack category.
Ryan doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but he was pretty stoked about his achievement. Although he had no idea the buck was in the area where he was hunting, some of his buddies at Man High were well aware.
“They weren’t too excited, but two of them had him on camera,” said Ryan. “I don’t think they were too happy.”
Ryan, at age 16, recorded the #5 buck all time in West Virginia ironically in the same season and same county where Chase Herndon, age 14 of Holden, W.Va. killed a buck which scored 170 7/8 and ranked #10 all time in West Virginia. Now 20 percent of the top 10 typical record whitetails taken in the state with a bow were killed by teenagers. The statistic shows a strong future for bowhunting in West Virginia.