Hunters in West Virginia encouraged to participate in ‘Big Buck Photo Contest’

CHARLESTON, WV – Hunters in West Virginia have more to look forward to this year, including the chance to show off their harvests and win prizes by participating in the first ever “Big Buck Photo Contest,” open from Nov. 22 to Dec. 27.

“Hunting is a treasured pastime of West Virginians young and old, and I invite all those who enjoy the tradition to participate in this photo contest,” =Justice said. “Head into the woods prepared for a safe and successful hunt and then take it one step further by submitting a photo of you with your buck for a chance to win some amazing prizes. This is one more reason to take advantage of the world-class hunting opportunities we have in West Virginia. Not only do you have the chance to make memories with your loved ones and bring home a big buck, but you also have a chance to win big!”

The contest is open both 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. 

Youth Division:

  • 5 winners can select one of the following: 
  • Free lifetime WV hunting license (must be a WV resident)
  • $250 Bass Pro Shops gift card
  • $250 Cabela’s gift card

Adult Division:

  • 5 winners can select one of the following:
    • Free lifetime WV hunting license (must be a WV resident)
    • $500 Bass Pro Shops gift card
    • $500 Cabela’s gift card
    • Two-night stay in a Cabwaylingo State Forest cabin
    • Two-night stay in a Seneca State Forest cabin

To enter the contest, take a photo of yourself with the buck you harvested during a 2021 hunting season, write a short account of your hunt and upload the photo to the Big Buck Photo Contest entry form online at Those entering must have a valid 2021 West Virginia Hunting License and will need to enter the 13-digit DNR-issued game check number for their bucks. Official rules for the contest can be found here.

“This is a really exciting opportunity and we hope hunters of all ages join the contest,” said WVDNR Director Steven McDaniel. “Gov. Justice and I really want to see more and more young people take up hunting and fishing in West Virginia. They are the next generation of hunters and anglers and it’s important that outdoor traditions continue for years to come. The Big Buck Photo Contest is just one more way to share your love for hunting and the beautiful natural resources our state has to offer.”

After the entry period closes on Dec. 27, a random drawing from all eligible entries will select 20 finalist entries from the Youth Division and 20 finalist entries from the Adult Division. These finalist entries will be presented to a judging committee made up of Gov. Justice and WVDNR Director McDaniel (or their designated representatives) who will evaluate each entry based on photo composition, size of antlers, number of antler points, and quality of narrative describing the hunt and determine the winning entries. Winners will be announced in January 2022.

West Virginia’s buck firearms season is an ideal time to participate in the photo contest. The season began today, Monday, Nov. 22, and will continue through Sunday, Dec. 5. Hunters are required to use their permanent DNR identification number to check in their game by phone at 1-844-WVCHECK (1-844-982-4325), by computer at, or at a hunting and fishing license agent.

More information about the season can be found online at Hunters are also encouraged to review the 2021-2022 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary before going afield.

All details about the Big Buck Photo Contest are available at

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