Statewide Big Buck Photo Contest kicks off with start of firearm season

TAYLOR COUNTY—Hunters have returned to the woods, as the buck firearms season began on Monday, and huntsmen are looking to claim monster bucks this year.

“West Virginia’s buck firearms season is an incredible time of year and one of the most exciting ways you can enjoy a hunting adventure and experience all of the outdoor goodness our beautiful state has to offer,” Governor Justice said.

The return of buck season means the arrival of the annual Big Buck Photo Contest, a statewide competition to see whose deer reigns supreme.

The contest is a statewide competition that allows hunters to share their pictures of their buck harvest for a chance to win prizes.

The Big Buck Photo Contest is open to any hunter, resident or nonresident, who is at least eight years of age or older, who possess a valid 2022 West Virginia Hunting License. 

The competition will feature two categories: a youth division for those 17 years old and younger and an adult division for hunters 18 and up.

Taking part in the contest is easy. Hunters will submit a photo to with their harvested buck killed during the 2022 firearms season, along with a short description of their hunt. 

Each submission must also include the 13-digit DNR-issued game check number for their bucks.

Five participants from each division will win prizes including a free lifetime hunting and fishing license for the five youth winners. In the adult category, winners may choose a free lifetime hunting license, a two-night say in a Cabwaylingo State Forest cabin or a two-night stay in a Seneca State Forest cabin.

“Whether you’re a lifelong hunter like me or just getting started, I want to encourage you to get into the woods in the next two weeks and join the thousands of hunters who have helped make this special season one of West Virginia’s most beloved and time-honored traditions,” Justice voiced.

Hunters are reminded that they are required to use their permanent DNR identification number to check in their game online at, at a license agent or by calling 1-844-WVCHECK. 

In addition, officials remind hunters that the second segment of West Virginia’s antlerless deer firearms season also opened on Monday and will continue through Dec. 4 on private land and select public lands. 

Archery and crossbow hunting for antlered and antlerless deer is also legal during the buck firearms season and subject to all archery and crossbow deer hunting regulations, with Class N/NN stamps needed to hunt antlerless deer. Those stamps may be purchased at any time at

“Not only do West Virginia’s deer seasons provide quality outdoor recreation, they are incredible for our state’s economy and a major boost to our tourism industry,” West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Brett McMillion said. “Our deer seasons attract thousands of out-of-state hunters and bring in millions of dollars in license and stamp sales and overnight bookings at our state park and forest facilities.”

For more information about West Virginia’s hunting seasons, visit


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