CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice today announced the winners of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' second annual Big Buck Photo Contest. The 20 youth and five adult winners were announced at a press conference at the State Capitol on Wednesday.
"I want to thank the DNR and everyone who submitted a picture," Gov. Justice said. "Each and every one of them was truly amazing. It's important that we encourage everyone, including our children, to go outside, learn about nature, and enjoy the outdoors, just like we did when I was young. It's an honor for me to contribute by promoting these great kids and adults who're taking advantage our beautiful outdoors. That's some really good stuff right there."
The Big Buck Photo Contest, sponsored by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and Department of Tourism, was open to residents and nonresidents and included a youth division for hunters 17 and younger and an adult division for hunters 18 and older.
To enter the contest, hunters had to submit a photo with a buck they harvested during a 2022 hunting season along with a short account of their hunt. Each entrant was required to show proof of a valid 2022 West Virginia Hunting License and had to include the 13-digit DNR-issued game check number for the buck.
Finalists were chosen by random drawing from all eligible entries and winners were selected by a judging committee made up of Gov. Justice, WVDNR Director Brett McMillion and Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby or their designated representatives. Winning photos were selected based on photo composition, size of the buck’s antlers, number of antler points and how well the hunt was described. Finalist photos can be viewed here.
The 20 youth participants will all receive one lifetime hunting and fishing license. The five adult winners can choose one lifetime hunting license or a two-night state forest cabin stay. Only West Virginia residents are eligible for a lifetime license.
Youth Division Winners
Adult Division Winners
- Hadley Allen — Charleston, W.Va.
- Olivia Barker — Thornton, W.Va.
- Kyla Bibey — Dennison, Ohio
- Courtney Burgess — Walton, W.Va.
- Blake Burner — Mineral Wells, W.Va.
- Eli Currence — Elkins, W.Va.
- Donovan Dameron — Cyclone, W.Va.
- Landon Hartshorn — Shock, W.Va.
- Dillon Jones — Charleston, W.Va.
- Bella Kesterson — Franklin, W.Va.
- Paige King — Lancaster, Md.
- Jonah Marcum — Chapmanville, W.Va.
- Rylee Martin — Sutton, W.Va.
- Carter McCloud — Ravenswood, W.Va.
- Cole Owens — Waverly, W.Va.
- Brayden Reese — Scott Depot, W.Va.
- Brayden Seago — Sisterville, W.Va.
- Samuel Shomo — Junior, W.Va.
- Carter Stover — Summersville, W.Va.
- Slade Terral — Bob White, W.Va.
For more information about hunting and fishing in West Virginia and to purchase a license, visit WVdnr.gov.
- Stephen Booth — Buffalo, W.Va.
- Vanessa Dillon — Parkersburg, W.Va.
- Kevin Korzun — Romney, W.Va.
- Madeline Nelson — Marlinton, W.Va.
- Jordon Peterson — Youngstown, Ohio