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Teenager bags 700-pound Bull Elk

October 23, 2013

By Chris Erwin

One of the great things about my job is I get to meet a lot of special people in the outdoors world. Today was no exception, as I had the pleasure of meeting 14-year-old Camryn Neeley and her parents David and Jody, to hear the story of Camryn’s hunt for a Bull Elk.

In Kentucky, you buy a chance to get drawn for a tag to hunt Elk. Camryn got drawn to hunt a Bull Elk. She’s no stranger to hunting. She has three deer to her credit, including: a doe and a five and an eight-point buck.

However, the Bull Elk is a much different prize. It requires a larger weapon than she has used in the past. For the Elk she hunted with a 270 Remington, which she borrowed and only shot a hand full of times.

Camryn Neeley, 14, pictured here with the 700 pound Bull Elk she shot in Knott County on Oct. 12 (photo submitted)

Camryn Neeley, 14, pictured here with the 700 pound Bull Elk she shot in Knott County on Oct. 12 (photo submitted)

Her father David and grandfather Jim, both avid hunters, accompanied her to Knott County, where she got a chance to hunt one of the largest game animals in Kentucky. They soon realized that it wasn’t going to be easy.

Both a four-wheeler and horse event was going on in the same area, just before she was to head in the woods. All of this activity the family knew would drive the Elk into areas that would not be easy to get to. In addition, the Neeleys were not that familiar with the area they were about to hunt, but the help of some new friends gave them hope.

The locals around Knott County call them the “Milk Dud Gang.” This includes Dean Akers, of Catlettsburg and his friends who visit the area regularly to hunt for antler sheds. They know all the places where the Elk use, as well as the lay of the land. Akers, an avid hunter and retired policeman, offered to help Canryn get a shot at a Bull Elk. The next day would be her chance.

At dawn on the morning of Oct.12, the hunting party including Camryn, David, Jim and Akers headed out for a ridge where they could use binoculars to scan for signs of Elk. After some watching, they thought they spotted one way off in the distance. They hopped on their four-wheeler and moved into a better location.
Now on foot, they hiked about 50 yards where they spotted a young Elk. Camryn’s father urged her not to take the shot. About that time, her grandfather spots a larger Elk. Dean tells her to move to their spot where she can see to get a better shot. Camryn quickly moves into position, lifts her gun onto a mono pod gun rest and looks through the scope. She can see the Elk. It’s standing broadside at 118 yards, according to the range finder.

She takes aim as her excitement builds. Her hunting party all holds their breath behind her. She squeezes the trigger. The gun bugles its retort as the Elk drops without taking a step!
The silence turns to cheers as the whole party goes into a celebration mode. They rush to the Elk and prepare it for transport. The estimate weight is about 700 pounds and the head will be mounted by J.W. Gibson.

Camryn is a student at Boyd County High School, where she enjoys playing fast-pitch softball and of course hunting with her dad and grandfather. I wouldn’t be surprised if she makes the paper again in the future. Her developing outdoor skills are far beyond most her age and it would be my pleasure to write again about her ongoing love for the outdoors.

Chris Erwin is the founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an on-line magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine Chris can be reached by email chris@ashlandbeacon.com or trimmer308@windstream.net

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