CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The winners of the 2008 West Virginia Big Buck Contest have been announced by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, according to Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Gene Thorn, chairman of the West Virginia Big Buck Contest Review Committee.
The contest is sponsored by Toyota and administered by the Division of Natural Resources.
Support was also provided by the Izaak Walton League of West Virginia, West Virginia Bowhunters Association, West Virginia Muzzleloaders Association and the West Virginia Physically Challenged Advisory Board.
The contest’s purpose is to recognize sportsmen who take an extraordinarily large antlered buck in West Virginia.
This past year, 251 hunters had their deer antlers scored at one of the six Division of Natural Resources district offices, field offices or the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show in Charleston.
Seventy-eight hunters participated in the 2008 West Virginia Big Buck Contest by entering their legally harvested bucks into one of three of the following categories: gun, bow or crossbow.
Contestants were required to meet certain conditions to participate: deer antlers needed to meet or exceed a minimum score established for the respective category, an Official Game Check Tag had to be presented and a Fair Chase Statement had to be signed.
Nineteen bucks killed by gun hunters scored at least 140 typical or 165 non-typical. In the typical-gun category, the winner was Ronald Myers from Charleston with a 10-point buck killed in Kanawha County that scored 165 6/8.
A huge 19-point buck taken in Brooke County, harvested by Donald Stroud Jr. from Weirton, scored 176 2/8 and won the non-typical gun category.
Muzzleloader hunters needed to score at least 140 typical or 165 non-typical to qualify.
There were no typical or non-typical bucks taken with a muzzleloader in 2008 that met the minimum score.
Bowhunters killed 57 deer that scored at least 125 typical or 155 non-typical.
The winner of the typical-bow category was Bobby Kelly of Cumberland, Ky., with a 10-point buck from Logan County that scored 157 0/8.
The non-typical bow category winner was Patrick Donahue of Mallory, who took a big 16-point buck in Logan County that scored 176 1/8.
Two bucks, killed by physically challenged crossbow hunters, met the minimum typical score of 125.
The typical-crossbow category winner was Don England of Iaeger with an 11-point Wyoming County buck that scored 159 2/8.
There was no non-typical buck taken with a crossbow in 2008 that met the minimum non-typical score of 155.
The Boone and Crockett Club or Pope and Young Club rating systems are used to score bucks, depending upon the method of harvest.
Boone and Crockett Club guidelines are used to score deer harvested with a firearm, muzzleloader or crossbow (used by physically challenged hunters with a Class Y Permit).
Certificates are presented for racks scoring at least 140 typical or 165 non-typical for firearms and muzzleloaders and scoring at least 125 typical or 155 non-typical for crossbows.
Deer harvested with a bow are measured according to Pope and Young Club standards and are recognized with a certificate for racks scoring at least 125 typical or 155 non-typical.
The winner in each category will receive a plaque during the 2009 National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration, held the fourth weekend of September at Stonewall Resort State Park.
A complete list of all bucks meeting minimum qualifications will be posted on the Division of Natural Resources Web site at www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/bigbuckcontest.shtm.