FAIRLEA, W.Va. — It’s not uncommon for hunters and anglers to argue among themselves about the size of fish and game. Those who think they are good at estimating those sizes might find a chance to prove it at the State Fair of West Virginia this week.
The West Virginia Natural Resources Police Officers Association is sponsoring a game it calls the Mountaineer Sportsman’s Challenge at their booth at the fair.
“We’re trying to get the public more involved in hunting, fishing, and the outdoors, so we thought this would add a little more excitement,” said the organization’s President Sgt. Chris Lester.
The organization’s booth includes five West Virginia native species, a whitetail buck, a black bear, a trout, a wild turkey, and the antler of an elk. Those wishing to participate can estimate the Boone and Crockett Score of the deer’s rack to the nearest inch, the bear’s weight to the nearest pound, the fish’s weight to the nearest ounce, the turkey’s beard to the nearest 1/8th of an inch, and the nearest inch on the Boone and Crockett score of the elk antler.
“It’s just like siting in a tree stand trying to judge how big the buck is and whether you want to shoot it. ,” said Lester.
Since folks from all over West Virginia and many from out of state visit the fair, winners will be determined by which of the six DNR Districts they live in and non-West Virginians will have their own category. The winners from each district will be compared and the top score of those seven will win a $200 gift card to Cabela’s. They’ll also get to carry the title of Mountaineer Sportsman or Woman of the Year.
The elk, deer, and turkey beard have already been measured and certified by an official Boone and Crockett scorer. The weights of the bear and fish were recorded at the time of their harvest and prior to being sent to the taxidermist and will serve as the base for those answers.
The display is located in the West Virginia Building on the State Fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 17th. Entry to the contest is free, but you must be 15 to win the grand prize. Those under the age of 15 will have separate questions to answer and win prizes on the spot.
“We think it will be a lot of fun. Guys always sit around the campfire and discuss antler size or fish size. This is a chance to see who is right,” said Lester.