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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:
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 2010, 292 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 2010 Big Buck Contest hunters took 66 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 11 bucks from former years were scored that met the requirements for a Big Buck Certificate.
It is noteworthy that an additional nine 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 March 15) 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 Jeffery Whitman from Hurricane, WV with a 10-point buck killed in Ritchie County that scored 157 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. Joe DeBerry took a big 13-point typical buck with a muzzleloader that scored 150 2/8 in Wood County that won that category. There was no non-typical buck taken with the muzzleloader this year that met the minimum score; therefore, the Non-Typical Muzzleloader category has no winner this year.
Bowhunters killed 52 deer that scored above 125 points typical or 155 points non-typical. The winner of the Typical-Bow category was Bucky Sargent of Blair, WV with an 11-point buck from Logan County that scored 163 6/8. There was no non-typical buck taken with the bow this year that met the minimum score; therefore, the Non-Typical Bow category has no winner this year.
Two buck killed by physically challenged crossbow hunters scored above 125 points typical or 155 points non-typical. The Typical-Crossbow category winner was Carl Pate of Williamstown, WV with a 16-point Wood County buck that scored 149 3/8. The Non-typical Crossbow category winner was, Joe DeBerry of Rockport, WV; Joe took a big 18-point buck in Wood County that scored 171 4/8. With his crossbow and muzzleloader kills, Joe DeBerry won two categories.
There was an omission in last year’s WV Big Buck Contest results due to paperwork that was lost in the mail by the US Postal Service – Fred G. Crawford took a buck with the bow in Jefferson County on 11/16/2009 that scored 136 2/8 typical. Fred’s buck should have been 31st place in the 2009 Bow Typical list. Congratulations to Fred for the fine buck he had scored.
The 2010 West Virginia Big Buck Contest had more deer brought in to be scored than last year. The number of bucks killed in 2010 that qualified for Big Buck Citations was down a few entries with the gun and bow, and up one entry with the crossbow from last year. As a reminder, three 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 2010 Score Rankings.
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