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BIG BUCK CONTEST

by
Eugene R. Thorn

The West Virginia Big Buck Contest was established in 1964 to recognize sportsmen who bag extraordinarily big antlered bucks. The contest is co-sponsored by the Division of Natural Resources, the Izaak Walton League of West Virginia, the West Virginia Bowhunter’s Association, the West Virginia Muzzleloader’s Association, the Physically Challenged Advisory Board, and Toyota.

The Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young Club scoring systems are used to score bucks depending upon method of kill.  Guidelines for the annual contest are as follows:

  1. The deer must have been checked at an Official Game Checking Station, and the official West Virginia Game Check Tag must be attached to the antlers.
  2. A Fair Chase Affidavit must be signed and attached to the Official Score Sheet.
  3. Field photos of the freshly killed deer with antlers attached must be submitted at the time of scoring for state record entries.
  4. Any bow-killed or crossbow-killed buck that scores at least 125 typical or 155 non-typical, gun-killed or muzzleloader-killed bucks that score at least 140 typical or 165 non-typical must be scored by an Official Scorer approved by the Pope and Young or Boone and Crockett Club.

A review committee was established, by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources, to consider all deer entries to the Big Buck Contest.  The committee has the power to make judgements as to the legitimacy of each entry and to accept or reject any entry in question.  The West Virginia Big Buck Contest Review Committee consists of representatives from the Izaak Walton League of West Virginia, the West Virginia Bowhunter’s Association, the West Virginia Muzzleloader’s Association, the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Section and the Law Enforcement Section, and the West Virginia Physically Challenged Advisory Board.

In 2009, 260 hunters had their deer antlers scored at one of the six DNR District Offices, Field Offices, or the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show in Charleston (sponsored by the West Virginia Trophy Hunter’s Association). There are eight DNR Wildlife Biologists and Wildlife Managers distributed throughout the state that are certified by the Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young Clubs as official scorers.  In the 2009 Big Buck Contest hunters took 80 big bucks (Table 1) with gun, muzzleloader (none this year), bow, or crossbow that met the score minimums, the requirements concerning Game Check Tags and Fair Chase Statements, and were not excluded for cause by the Big Buck Contest Review Committee.  An additional 22 bucks from former years were scored that met the requirements for a Big Buck Certificate.

It is noteworthy that an additional sixteen score-sheets that met the minimum score requirements did not have the Game Check Tag verified, or did not have a signed Fair Chase Statement attached.  These are the common reasons why hunter’s bucks are excluded from the contest list and do not receive a Big Buck Certificate.  A good practice is to staple the Game Check Tag to the back of a mounted head so that it is not misplaced.  A hunter may only take their rack to be scored by one Official Scorer.  Score shopping is prohibited by the WV Big Buck Contest and will be dealt with according to Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young guidelines. It is the hunter’s responsibility to work with their official scorer to make sure that all documentation is completed (by the contest deadline of January 31) and sent to the Big Buck Contest Review Committee Chairman.

Twelve bucks killed by gun hunters scored above 140 points typical or 165 points non-typical.  In the Typical-Gun category, the winner was Kenneth Carpenter from Streetsboro, OH with a 12-point buck killed in Kanawha County that scored 163 7/8.  There were no entries this year in the Non-typical Gun category; therefore, the Non-Typical Gun category has no winner this year.

Muzzleloader hunters needed to score above 140 points typical or 165 points non-typical to win. There was no Typical or Non-typical  buck taken with the muzzleloader this year that met the minimum score; therefore, both Muzzleloader categories have no winner this year.

Bowhunters killed 67 deer that scored above 125 points typical or 155 points non-typical. The winner of the Typical-Bow category was Jason Kerns of Shepherdsville, KY with a 14-point buck from Logan County that scored 162 3/8. The No-typical Bow category winner was Howard Powell III of Parkersburg, WV; Howard took a huge 23-point buck in Wood County that scored 193 1/8. Howard’s buck took over the #4 position for Non-typical Bow kills in the list that ranks the top five buck scores in that category for all time in West Virginia (Table 2).

One buck killed by a physically challenged crossbow hunter scored above 125 points typical or 155 points non-typical. The Typical-Crossbow category winner was Bobby Grose of Rock, WV with a 9-point Mercer County buck that scored 131 3/8.  There was no non-typical buck taken with the crossbow this year that met the minimum score; therefore, the Non-Typical Crossbow category has no winner this year.

The 2009 West Virginia Big Buck Contest had slightly more deer brought in to be scored than last year. The number of bucks killed in 2009 that qualified for Big Buck Citations was down with the gun and crossbow, and up with the bow from last year.  As a reminder, two years ago we added two new weapon categories to the Contest; one to recognize muzzleloader taken bucks, and one for the physically challenged hunters that are using a crossbow with a Class Y Permit to hunt deer.  The Big Buck Contest Committee would like to congratulate all the hunters that took bucks that qualified for this year’s contest. Thank you to all hunters who participated and had antlers scored this past year!

Table 1.   West Virginia Big Buck Contest 2009 Score Rankings.

WV Big Buck Contest 2009 Score Rankings
Antler Configuration: Typical                                          Weapon: Gun
Name County Harvest Ranking Score
Kenneth Carpenter 
Kanawha 11/27/2009   1 163  7/8
Brandon Bailey 
Raleigh 12/1/2009    2 161  0/8
David Thompson 
Kanawha 11/23/2009 155  0/8
George Barrett  
Putmam 11/24/2009 4 153  7/8
David Cunningham  
Mason 11/23/2009  5 153  1/8
Carl Hamrick II 
Boone 11/24/2009 6 152  1/8
Dwayne Vandevender  
Webster 11/23/2009 7 152  0/8
Johny Jackson  
Kanawha 11/26/2009  8 149  4/8
Jered Meekea
Kanawha 11/23/2009 9 148  6/8
John Wolfe  
Monroe 11/26/2009 10 148  5/8
Robert Holstein Jr.
Boone 11/23/2009 11 147  6/8
Anthony Boggs   Jackson 11/03/2009 12 141  6/8
Antler Configuration: Non-Typical                                 Weapon: Gun
None in 2009        
Antler Configuration:  Typical                                         Weapon:  Muzzleloader
None in 2009        
Antler Configuration:  Non-typical                                  Weapon:  Muzzleloader
None in 2009        
Antler Configuration:  Typical                                         Weapon: Bow
Name 
County Harvest Ranking Score
Jason Kerns       
Logan 11/28/2009 1 162  3/8
Lamanda Norman  
Logan 11/17/2009 2 160  7/8
Dana Crose           
Boone 11/7/2009 3 160  5/8
Randall Light   
Logan 10/30/2009  4 157  4/8
Tivis J. Underwood  
McDowell 11/3/2009 5 154  4/8
Charles D. Bumgarner  
Mingo 11/2/2009 6 154  0/8
Jerry Hutchinson 
Wyoming 11/24/2009 7 152  2/8
Brian Adkins  
Logan 11/14/2009 8 151  7/8
Mark Cook
Wyoming 11/7/2009 9 151  2/8
Will French   
Lincoln 11/3/2009 9 151  2/8
Dwayne C. Cline  
Logan 11/17/2009  11 150  6/8
Kyle Kelly 
McDowell 11/27/2009 12 148  7/8
Aaron Davis
Logan 10/27/2009 13 148  6/8
Michael Jordan  
Mason 11/4/2009 14 148  5/8
Brad Miller 
Wyoming 12/6/2009 15 146  6/8
Timothy Gray 
Logan 11/21/2009 16 146  1/8
Frank Dalton Jr.
McDowell 11/11/2009 16 146  1/8
Darren Belcher  
Logan 11/11/2009 18 144  1/8
Zachary R. Marcum  Logan 11/20/2009 19 143  3/8
Jeffery Riffe 
McDowell 10/30/2009  20 143  1/8
Keith Workman  
Logan 10/19/2009  21 142  1/8
Bernard Shorter 
McDowell 11/14/2009 22 141  7/8
Adam Meadows 
McDowell 11/06/2009 23 141  2/8 
Larry Kade Jr. 
McDowell 11/20/2009  24 141  1/8
Dale Atkins  
Logan 11/15/2009  25 140  4/8
Jarred Sizemore 
Wyoming 11/29/2009 26 140  3/8
Mark Lafferty   
Wyoming 11/12/2009 27 140  2/8
Douglas Muncy  
Logan 11/4/2009 28 137  2/8
Justin Breton  
Logan 11/25/2009 29 137  1/8
Olin Neil 
Lincoln 11/21/2009 30 136  7/8
Dennis Fisher  
Jackson 10/17/2009  31 135  3/8
Travis Weatherly
Mercer 11/16/2009  32 134  5/8
Nick Biggs 
Wyoming 10/19/2009 33 134  3/8
Jimmie C. Dillon Jr.
McDowell 11/14/2009  34 134  2/8
Adam Bowman 
Fayette 11/18/2009 35 134  1/8
Jeffrey Bailey 
McDowell 12/30/2009 36 134  0/8
Thomas Little   
McDowell 11/28/2009  36 134  0/8
Herbert Dawson
McDowell 11/6/2009 38 133  6/8
Thomas Hagerman 
McDowell 11/14/2009 39 133  3/8
Charles Poe Jr. 
McDowell 11/13/2009 40 133  2/8
Gary Blankenship 
McDowell 11/17/2009 41 132  7/8
Todd A. Schoonover  
Randolph 11/7/2009 42 132  1/8
Craig Wood   
Fayette 10/24/2009 43 131  5/8
Adam Farmer        
McDowell 11/07/2009 44 131  4/8
Jamie Sunderland  
Cabell 10/17/2009 44 131  4/8
Kenny Hughes 
McDowell 11/26/2009 46 131  3/8
James Embrey   
Kanawha 11/18/2009 47 130  5/8
Richard Milam   
Wyoming 11/15/2009 48 130  0/8
Jimmy Way
Wyoming 11/16/2009 49 130  0/8
Clyde Perkins   McDowell 12/7/2009  50 129  7/8
Gary Riggs  
Jackson 10/20/2009 51 129  7/8
George W Legg III
Putnam 11/6/2009 52 129  5/8
Kevin Standifur    
McDowell 11/29/2009 53 129  0/8
Kevin Jones   
McDowell 11/19/2009 54 128  4/8
Zachary Little   
McDowell 11/30/2009 55 128  2/8
Jushua Fry    
Logan 11/12/2009 56 127  6/8
Danny Meadows    
Wyoming 11/14/2009 57 127  4/8
Nathanael Messenger  
Kanawha 11/21/2009 57 127  4/8
Keith Holmes   
Jackson 10/27/2009  59 127  1/8
David Davis   
Putnam 11/12/2009  60 126  4/8
David Davis
Putnam 11/12/2009 60 126  4/8
Danny Sowards   
Jackson 11/9/2009 61 126  3/8
Frankie Belcher    
Mercer 10/29/2009 62 125  7/8
Chris Bailey
Mercer 11/16/2009 63 125  6/8
Ben Tolliver    Wyoming 10/17/2009 64 125  4/8
Antler Configuration:  NonTypical                                  Weapon: Bow
Name County Harvest Ranking Score
Howard D. Powell III Wood 11/9/2009  1 193  1/8
Travis Smith   Wyoming 10/29/2009 2 172  3/8
Ronnie S. Belcher  Boone 11/11/2009 3 170  2/8
Antler Configuration:  Typical                                         Weapon: Crossbow
Name County Harvest Ranking Score
Bobby Grose  Mercer 12/26/2009  1 131  3/8
Antler Configuration:  Non-typical                                  Weapon:  Crossbow
None in 2009        

 



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