John Negley, of Williamstown held an organizational meeting in Morgantown on October 2, 1980.  Of the approximately 50 people at the meeting, 13 people joined and became the founding nucleus of the WVBA.  As John Negley says, “Bowhunters weren’t joiners at the time.  It was hard to get people to sign up”.  Ten additional members signed up after the first meeting; before the first newsletter was published in early 1981.  An interesting side note on the first newsletter.  With 23 members at $10 each doesn’t give much money to pay for the newsletter at a cost of about $500!  But Dave Samuel stepped up with a loan to the Association of $500.  And the only repayment stipulation Dave made was “pay me back whenever you can”.  As a result of this generous action, Dave became the first “life member” of the WVBA!

The 13 Founding Members

John Negley Williamstown
Debbie Negley Williamstown
Dr. Dave Samuel Morgantown
Ed Lilley Morgantown
Jerry Moore Parkersburg
Barbara Moore Parkersburg
Bob Rexroad Weirton
Larry Riggle Weirton
Bill Mason Williamstown
Jim Delancy Williamstown
Bob Delancy Williamstown
Steve Kaufman Vienna
Bob Armstrong Vienna

First Slate of Officers Elected

President John Negley Williamstown
Vice President Dr. Dave Samuel Morgantown
Secretary Ed Lilley Morgantown
Treasurer Debbie Negley Williamstown

John was invited to be Banquet speaker at the Elk River Bowhunters Association (ERBA) Banquet in the winter of 1981.  President of the ERBA was Larry Lawson.  From that point on is when the membership ranks really started to grow.

New members were signed up at the Banquet and ERBA hosted the first SOUTHERN RENDEZVOUS that summer.  Roger Rothhaar was the featured speaker. The Wildlife League of Ohio County (WLOC) hosted the NORTHERN RENDZVOUS in August.  Featured speaker there was Tom Flemming.  Fred Richter and Tim Reed were officers in the WLOC at that time.

Directors appointed

Frank Addington Winfield
Bob Armstrong Vienna
Dean Hupp Belpre, OH
Jerry Moore Parkersburg
Bob Rexroad Weirton
Sonny Santmeyer Elkins


Southern      at Elk River Bowhunters Association, Elkview
Seminars:       Roger Rothhaar, Rev. Stacy Groscup

Northern      at Wildlife League of Ohio County, Wheeling
Seminars:        Tom Flemming, Rev. Stacy Groscup

Division of Natural Resources/Legislative Agenda

John Negley had many reasons for starting a state Bowhunting Association.  One of these was to improve the image of the Bowhunter.  A few bad apples in the bowhunting barrel were giving all of us a bad name.  The reputation of Bowhunters was not good.  John hoped that through the introduction of Bowhunter Education and the availability of a Bowhunters group (WVBA), we could have some influence on all Bowhunters through the promotion of ethical bowhunting.  John traveled all over the state in his organizational efforts.  Either he or another WVBA member attended DNR Sectional Meetings and Commission Meetings.

In 1981, the WVBA requests the DNR add a question at the Spring Sectional Meetings pertaining to a second deer tag system.


  • Ed Lilley was the first NEWSLETTER EDITOR.

  • The Bowhunter’s Defense Fund was established; as well as the Legislative Committee.

  • Warren Stewart appointed Awards Chairman.

  • WVBA starts a statewide National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF) program.  Dave Samuel conducted an instructors class at the Wildlife League of Ohio County.  W.Va. becomes the only state where this program is sponsored and supported solely by the state bowhunting association (WVBA).