The September 28 opening of the bow hunting season for deer marks the beginning of the annual West Virginia Big Buck Contest. Antlered deer, taken between September 28 and December 31, 2013, are eligible to be scored and entered.
“Any hunter who bags a deer in West Virginia with antlers having eight or more points, a 26-inch beam length and points that are more than eight inches long may have a winning buck,” according to Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Gene Thorn. “Antlers will be measured according to the official scoring system for North American big game animals established by the Boone and Crockett Club.”
Plaques will be awarded to eight first-place winners for typical and non-typical bucks in gun, bow, muzzleloader and crossbow (physically challenged) categories at next year’s National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration, which will be held at Stonewall Resort State Park on the fourth weekend in September.
Gun and muzzleloader hunters whose bucks score more than 140 points typical or 165 non-typical will receive certificates commemorating the entry of their bucks into the West Virginia Big Buck Contest and Records Keeping Program. Bowhunters or physically challenged crossbow hunters whose bucks score more than 125 points typical or 155 non-typical will also receive certificates.
There were 189 new entries into the West Virginia Big Buck Records last year that were taken during the 2012 season. The season total showed 22 bucks taken by gun, one by muzzleloader, 65 by bow and none by crossbows (physically challenged) that qualified for the West Virginia Big Buck Contest. Bucks taken in previous years may still be scored for a certificate and entry into the records if they meet the minimum score.
The DNR, Izaak Walton League of West Virginia, West Virginia Bowhunters Association, West Virginia Muzzle Loaders Association, West Virginia Physically Challenged Advisory Board and Toyota are again sponsoring the contest. Many hunters have their deer scored by a team of official measurers during the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show, which is held in late January at the Charleston Civic Center.
A list of Official Measurers is maintained on the DNR’s website: www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/BigBuckContest.shtm, or successful hunters can contact any DNR district office for additional information. Appointments must be made for scoring trophies.