Gov. Justice announces start of buck firearms season, return of Big Buck Photo Contest

CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice today reminded hunters that West Virginia’s buck firearms season will start Monday, Nov. 21 and that they need to 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 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,” Gov. Justice said. “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.”

Resident hunters and non-resident hunters who want a chance to harvest an additional buck must purchase a Class RG or Class RRG stamp, respectively, at WVhunt.com or at an authorized license retailer by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 20. The two-week season will open Nov. 21 and run through Dec. 4.

Resident landowners may harvest an extra buck without purchasing an RG stamp if they are hunting on their own property. Nonresident hunters who own land in West Virginia are not exempt from purchasing a license or the extra buck stamp, even if hunting on their own property.

Hunters are reminded that they are required to use their permanent DNR identification number to check in their game online at WVhunt.com, at a license agent or by calling 1-844-WVCHECK. All deer harvested on Nov. 21-22 in Barbour, Jackson, Mason and Upshur counties must be brought to a designated biological game examination station. For more information, check page 14 of the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

In eight counties and portions of two counties, hunters are required to take an antlerless deer before harvesting a second antlered deer. For more information, see pages 15, 20 and 22 in the 2022–2023 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available to download at WVdnr.gov.

Big Buck Photo Contest Returns

Gov. Jim Justice also announced the return of West Virginia’s Big Buck Photo Contest, which gives hunters an opportunity to share photos of their buck harvest for a chance to win prizes.

The contest is open to West Virginia residents and nonresidents and includes two divisions: a youth division for hunters 17 and younger, and an adult division for hunters 18 and older. Five participants from each division will win prizes.

To enter the contest, hunters must submit a photo with a buck they harvest during a 2022 hunting season along with a short account of their hunt. Submissions may be uploaded using the Big Buck Photo Contest entry form at WVdnr.gov/photocontest. Those entering must have a valid 2022 West Virginia Hunting License and will need to enter the 13-digit DNR-issued game check number for their bucks.

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

The second segment of West Virginia’s antlerless deer firearms season also opens Nov. 21 and runs 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. Class N/NN stamps to hunt antlerless deer may be purchased at any time at WVhunt.com.

“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. I want to thank Gov. Justice for promoting our hunting seasons and outdoor recreation and making them such a big part of his administration.”

Small game hunting is prohibited during the first three days of buck firearms season in all counties with a buck firearms season.

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

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