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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 WVDNR’s Wildlife Resources Section and the Law Enforcement Section, and the West Virginia Physically Challenged Advisory Board.

In 2011, 242 hunters had their deer antlers scored at one of the six WVDNR District Offices, Field Offices, or the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show in Charleston (sponsored by the West Virginia Trophy Hunter’s Association). There were nineteen WVDNR 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 2011 Big Buck Contest hunters took 106 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 thirteen 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.

Twenty-eight bucks killed by gun hunters scored above 140 points typical or 165 points non-typical.  In the Typical-Gun category, the winner was Jonah Adkins from Branchland, WV with an 11-point buck killed in Lincoln County that scored 163 1/8.  The winner this year in the Non-typical Gun category was Brandon Dishner from Athens, WV with a big 19-point buck from Mercer County that scored 165 4/8.

Two muzzleloader hunters killed bucks that scored above 140 points typical or 165 points non-typical. William Fry of Loudonville, OH took a 12-point Ritchie County buck that scored 149 5/8 that was the top of the list in the Typical-Muzzleloader category. There was no Non-typical buck taken with the muzzleloader this year that met the minimum score; therefore that category has no winner this year.

Bowhunters killed 73 deer that scored above 125 points typical or 155 points non-typical.  The winner of the Typical-Bow category was David Miller of Hurricane, WV with a whopper 12-point buck from Mingo County that scored 171 6/8. David’s buck took over the #4 position for Typical Bow kills in the list that ranks the top five buck scores for all time in West Virginia (Table 2). The Non-typical Bow category winner was Charles Daniel from Hurricane, WV with a big 15-point buck from Cabell County that scored 169 1/8. 

Two bucks were killed by physically challenged crossbow hunters that scored above 125 points typical or 155 points non-typical. The Typical-Crossbow category winner was Freddie Houchins of Pineville, WV with a 10-point Wyoming County buck that scored 151 1/8.  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 2011 West Virginia Big Buck Contest had less deer brought in to be scored than last year, however the number of bucks killed in 2011 that qualified for Big Buck Citations was way up from 2010. The muzzleloader and bow trophies were up significantly, but the gun kill in 2011 that made the Big Buck list especially stands out with a total that is almost triple the number brought in last year. It is obvious that more and more bucks are living into older age classes in all of West Virginia’s Counties, which is reflected in larger antler size. The WV 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 2011 Score Rankings.

WV Big Buck Contest 2011 Score Rankings

Antler Configuration: Typical Weapon: Gun
Name County Harvest Date Ranking Score
Jonah Adkins Lincoln 11/21/2011  163 1/8
Richard Crawford Fayette 11/28/2011 2 161 4/8
Joshua Crowder Kanawha 11/21/2011 3 159 5/8
Donald Amick Braxton 11/24/2011  4 158 7/8
Jason Arnold  Calhoun 11/21/2011 5 156 2/8
Leon Rush Randolph 11/22/2011 6 155 3/8
Adam Hudson Kanawha 11/22/2011 7 154 0/8
Samuel Egnor Mason 11/21/2011  8 153 7/8
Josh Wells  Boone 11/22/2011 9 152 7/8
Andrew Harold Roane 11/23/2011  10 152 3/8
Brent Flowers Marshall 11/23/2011 11 150 5/8
Charles Hardy Kanawha 11/22/2011 12 150 4/8
Curtis Ketzel   Wetzel 11/24/2011 13 150 1/8
Brandon Keaton Mercer 11/25/2011 14 149 6/8
Anastasia Green  Mercer 11/24/2011 15 149 1/8
Mike Brown   Mason 11/23/2011 16 149 0/8
Anthony Brady Clay 11/24/2011 17 148 7/8
Len Thompson Fayette 11/25/2011 17 148 7/8
James Tolley   Jackson 11/21/2011 18 148 6/8
Jerry Anderson Mercer 11/21/2011  19 147 3/8
James Adkins Raleigh 11/22/2011 20 146 1/8
Mychal Boggs  Jackson 11/22/2011 21 145 2/8
Terry Raynes  Kanawha 11/21/2011   22 144 4/8
Eric McGlothlin    Clay 11/22/2011  23 144 3/8
Jeffrey Lilly   Jackson 11/23/2011  24 142 4/8
Hunter Moses Mercer 11/26/2011  25 141 7/8
Gary Marcum Lincoln 11/22/2011 26 140 1/8
         
Antler Configuration: Non-Typical Weapon: Gun
Brandon Dishner  Mercer 12/03/11 1 165 4/8
         
Antler Configuration:  Typical   Weapon:  Muzzleloader
William Fry Ritchie 12/17/2011 1 149 5/8
Steve Parker Jr.  Wayne 12/12/2011 2 147 3/8
         
Antler Configuration:  Non-typical  Weapon:  Muzzleloader
None in 2011        
         
Antler Configuration:  Typical  Weapon: Bow
David Miller Mingo 11/18/2011 1 171 6/8
Kevin Otey   McDowell 11/12/2011 2 164 2/8
Marvin Bradford  Logan 11/10/2011   3 155 3/8
Bobby Lockhart  Wirt 11/12/2011 4 155 2/8
Charles Nixon   McDowell 10/30/2011 5 155 1/8
Chris Shoemaker Mineral 11/10/2011 6 154 7/8
Jason Spurlock  Logan 11/01/2011 7 152 4/8
Joey Adkins Logan 11/19/2011 8 150 3/8
Amos Lane Wyoming 11/08/2011 9 150 2/8
Tim Gray Logan 11/19/2011 9 150 2/8
Jason Erwin Kanawha  10/20/2011 10 150 1/8
Jeffery Thomas Jackson 11/11/2011 11 149 0/8
Bennie Brown Jr.   Kanawha 11/03/2011 12 148 2/8
Bryan Utt  Logan 11/11/2011 13 147 5/8
Eric Maynor  Raleigh 11/16/2011 14 147 3/8
Brian Dixon  Greenbrier 10/19/2011 15 147 2/8
Greg Robinette Mason 11/05/2011 16 147 1/8
Christopher Pendry McDowell 11/04/2011 17 146 7/8
Donald Groves  Lewis 11/09/2011 18 146 2/8
Brian Adkins   Logan 10/02/2011 19 144 7/8
Richard Catlett   Wyoming 11/19/2011 20 143 0/8
Jimmie Dillon Jr.  McDowell 11/16/2011    21 142 5/8
Kevin Roark McDowell 11/14/2011   22 142 3/8
Brent Boley Logan 11/19/2011 23 142 0/8
Monty Boytek  Logan 11/12/2011 24 141 6/8
Rodney Kirkendoll   Wyoming 10/29/2011  25 141 5/8
Robert Carper   Marion 11/11/2011 26 141 4/8
Fred Chaffins Jr. McDowell   11/21/2011 27 139 4/8
Michael Mace  Kanawha 10/05/2011  28 139 0/8
Samuel Elliot  McDowell 11/10/2011 29 138 7/8
Ronnie Campbell     Wyoming 11/17/2011  30 138 4/8
Kerri Bryant   Logan 10/31/2011 31 137 6/8
Jimmy Way Wyoming 12/08/2011   32 136 7/8
Larry Rockel     Mingo 11/18/2011    33 136 5/8
Daniel Smith   Mingo 11/18/2011   34 136 0/8
Jack Chapman  Cabell 11/05/2011 35 135 6/8
William Wallace Mingo 12/24/2011 36 135 5/8
Joshua Sears  Raleigh 10/04/2011 37 135 4/8
Fred Chaffins McDowell   10/17/2011 37 135 4/8
Mark Davis Hancock 11/09/2011 38 135 2/8
Kenneth Davis Kanawha 12/14/2011  39 134 7/8
Frankie Dalton Sr.  McDowell 10/11/2011 40 134 3/8
Charles Braton    Wyoming 10/25/2011 41 134 0/8
Willard Broomfield  Wyoming 10/29/2011 42 133 4/8
Jason Hart   Monongalia 10/21/2011 43 133 2/8
James Flanigan Putnam 10/14/2011 44 133 0/8
Richard Phillips Upshur 11/15/2011 44 133 0/8
Jason Dunlap Roane 11/17/2011 45 132 2/8
Junior Underwood  Preston 11/17/2011 45 132 2/8
William Hourington   McDowell 11/21/2011 46 131 7/8
Ethan McCallister  Logan 10/29/2011 47 131 6/8
Andy Potts    Upshur 10/31/2011   47 131 6/8
Glen McClung III   Lincoln 11/03/2011 48 131 5/8
Ronnie Erwin Jr.   Kanawha 10/17/2011  49 130 7/8
Perry Shamblin   Roane 10/02/2011  50 130 6/8
Robert Noe   McDowell 11/19/2011  51 130 0/8
Robert Delorso   McDowell 12/01/2011    52 129 1/8
Glen Roberts   Kanawha 10/29/2011 53 128 4/8
Jerry Walls  Logan 11/17/2011  54 128 0/8
Richard Phillips    Preston 10/27/2011 55 126 7/8
John Skull     Jackson 10/21/2011  56 126 5/8
Kevin Arnold    Kanawha 11/05/2011 56 126 5/8
Brad Huffman  McDowell 11/03/2011 57 126 4/8
Brandon Daniels Raleigh 11/07/2011   58 126 1/8
Otis Rose  McDowell 11/26/2011    58 126 1/8
Chadwick Lusk  Logan 11/15/2011  59 125 4/8
Terry Ballard   Logan 11/12/2011    60 125 1/8
Mark Hildreth   Roane 11/19/2011 60 125 1/8
William Lester   McDowell 10/22/2011   61 125 0/8
         
Antler Configuration:  NonTypical   Weapon: Bow
Charles Daniel Cabell 11/10/2011 1 169 1/8
Larry Gray   Mason 11/12/2011   2 167 0/8
Lewis Edens  Putnam 10/01/2011  3 162 2/8
Russ Dawkins  Wood 11/04/2011  4 161 7/8
         
Antler Configuration:  Typical Weapon: Crossbow
Freddie Houchins Wyoming 11/05/2011  1 151 1/8
Ronald Myers Kanawha 11/17/2011 2 130 5/8
         
Antler Configuration:  Non-typical   Weapon:  Crossbow
None in 2011        



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