WEST VIRGINIA — Governor Jim Justice reminds hunters that West Virginia’s buck firearms season will start Monday, November 20.

Gov. Justice reminds hunters that they must purchase their license and deer stamps before the season starts if they want a chance to take an additional buck during the state’s most popular hunting season.

“West Virginia’s buck firearms season is a cherished tradition that spans generations and unites us in our love for the outdoors,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to encourage every hunter, whether you’re a resident or non-resident, to get into the woods and enjoy a hunting adventure and experience all of the goodness and beauty of West Virginia.”

The two-week buck firearms season will run through December 3.

Resident and non-resident hunters who want a chance to harvest an additional buck must purchase a Class RG or Class RGG stamp by 11:59 p.m. on November 19.

Licenses and stamps can be purchased online or at an authorized license retailer.

Big Buck Photo Contest Returns

Gov. Justice also announced the launch of West Virginia’s 3rd annual Big Buck Photo Contest and invites hunters to submit a photo with a buck they harvest during the 2023 hunting season along with a short account of their hunt for a chance to win prizes.

The contest, which has received over 2,000 submissions since its inception in 2021, will open on November 21.

Photos must be submitted by December 22 for hunters to be eligible for a prize drawing.

“As a lifelong hunter, I want to invite everyone to participate in the West Virginia Big Buck Photo contest and enjoy our state’s incredible deer hunting opportunities,” Gov. Justice said. “Whether you come home with a buck or win one of these prizes, I want to encourage you to get in the woods and join the thousands of hunters who have participated in this exciting contest over the last two years, and help show the world why West Virginia is one of the best places to hunt.”

The Big Buck Photo Contest is open to West Virginia residents and nonresidents and includes a youth division for hunters 17 and younger and an adult division for hunters 18 and older.

Participants must hold a valid 2023 West Virginia hunting license and provide the 13-digit WVDNR-issued game check number for their buck. Consent for the release and use of submitted photos is implied upon entry.

Contest prizes include:

  • Resident Youth Division: Five winners will be randomly selected to receive a free resident lifetime West Virginia hunting and fishing license.
  • Resident Adult Division: Five winners will be randomly selected and may choose between a free resident lifetime West Virginia hunting license, a two-night stay in a Cabwaylingo State Forest cabin, or a two-night stay in a Seneca State Forest cabin.
  • Non-Resident Youth Division: Five winners will be randomly selected to receive a Cabela’s prize package.
  • Non-Resident Adult Division: Five winners will be randomly selected and may choose between a two-night stay in a North Bend State Park cabin, a two-night stay in a Twin Falls Resort State Park cabin, or two Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour passes.
  • After the contest closes, a random drawing will be used to select finalists from each division, and entries will be judged on photo composition, antler size, antler points, and the quality of the hunt narrative. Winners will be announced in January 2024.

Additional Deer Hunting Opportunities During West Virginia’s Buck Firearms Season

The second split of West Virginia’s antlerless deer season also opens on November 20 in 51 counties and will run through December 3.

Class N or Class NN stamps to hunt antlerless deer can be purchased anytime.

Hunters may harvest two deer on the same day, but only one can be an antlered buck.

The first deer does not have to be legally checked before harvesting the second deer on the same day. However, all deer must be checked, and the checking confirmation number must be recorded before hunting on any subsequent day.

Hunters must check in their game online at WVhunt.com, at an authorized license agent, or by calling 1-844-WVCHECK. To make game checking go smoothly, hunters must ensure their DNR accounts are up-to-date and accessible before going afield.

For specific deer regulations in each county and wildlife management area, hunters should consult the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at license agents, WVDNR district offices, and online.

(Video in the story shows the top stories for Thursday, November 16, 2023)