The Sept. 29 opening of the bow hunting season for deer also marks the beginning of the annual West Virginia Big Buck Contest.
Antlered deer taken between Sept. 29 and Dec.31, 2012, are eligible to be scored and entered.
“During this time, 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 Gene Thorn, chairman of the West Virginia Big Buck Contest Review Committee. “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 overall 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 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 105 new entries into the Big Buck Records last year taken during the 2011 season. The season total showed 28 bucks taken by gun hunters, two by muzzleloaders, 23 by bowhunters and two by crossbows (physically challenged). Bucks taken in previous years may still be scored for a certificate and entry into the records, if they meet the minimum score.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Izaak Walton League of West Virginia, West Virginia Bowhunter’s Association, West Virginia Muzzleloader’s Association, West Virginia Physically Challenged Advisory Board and Toyota are again sponsoring the contest.
An Official Measurers List is maintained on the DNR’s website: www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/BigBuckContest.shtm, or contact any DNR district office. Phone numbers and addresses are listed in the 2012-13 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.
Appointments must be made for scoring trophies. 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.
For more information, contact Gene Thorn, Wildlife Resources Section, at Eugene.R.Thorn@wv.gov or (304) 924-6211.