Cabell County Teenager Enjoys Dream Season


Every West Virginia hunter has high hopes during the month of August as archery hunting season approaches.  Every shot at a 3-D target is given careful consideration and weight.  It could be a shot just like the one in practice which means the difference if a big buck steps into the clearing.

Sixteen year old Griff McNeely of Barboursville is no different.   He was full of excitement when bow season opened this past fall.  The sophomore at Cabell-Midland High School is a member of the school’s archery team and shoots every day.   Little did he know the confidence learned in the daily team practice would serve him so well.

"I’d been scouting during the summer, shooting my bow and practicing, but I wasn’t really expecting quite this," he said.

From a tree stand during the archery season he spotted the buck most of us dream about wandering just beyond bow range.

"Two days in a row, I’d seen him move through. So on the third day I made a plan, took a climbing stand, and put it in a tree close to where he’d been moving," said McNeely. "Sure enough, he came through."

The massive buck didn’t make it easy.  He came in behind the young hunter and stood there for more than ten minutes before presenting an open shot.  McNeely was forced to calm himself considerably before releasing his arrow.

"He actually jumped the string and it hit him in the spine," he said. "It stopped him in his tracks."

Griff hurried down his tree.  It was only afterward he was able to realize he’d just killed a 14-point buck.  

He wasn’t done.

Griff spent the first two days of the gun season traipsing around various properties where he has permission to hunt with little luck. The third day, hunting on his grandfather’s property in Cabell County, he heard what he thought might be a nice buck.

"Wednesday morning I’d seen a deer running and heard him grunting, but I couldn’t tell what it was because of the thick brush," he said.   

Griff returned to the woods after lunch and on his walk back to his stand is when he spied the eight pointer.

"It took me a while to get a clean shot," he explained. "I was nervous on that buck too, but I was able to pull it off.  I had about 30-seconds to make the shot after I saw him."

The buck was 75-yards away cavorting with two does.  He ran about 30-yards after the shot before he fell and Griff was able to claim his second trophy buck in as many months. 

A year ago, he killed a ten-pointer and says he’s learned to pass up smaller bucks and wait for the big one.  He credits the archery team experience for giving him the steady hand, quick reaction, and patience.

"It helped me a lot, especially with the buck I shot with a bow," he said. "I get a lot of practice on the archery team.   It helped me to calm down.  It helps your confidence when you’re shooting a bow and I just knew I was able to pull off the shot."

Mature beyond his years, Griff McNeely at age 16 already boasts a season most hunters only dream about. 


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