6:00pm: Sportsline with Tony Caridi

West Virginia’s Biggest Bucks

Since 1963 the DNR has kept detailed records of the biggest racked bucks killed in West Virginia. Each year, the agency seeks out the biggest racks hunters have killed during the fall hunting season. The call is going out again this year for hunters who killed a buck and would like to see how it measures up.

“We measure usually between 300 and 400 each year,” said program coordin

ator Gene Thorne. “Some years are better than others and well over 100 deer meet the qualifications. Last year was one of those years.”

The racks are “scored” using the Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young Scoring System. Boone and Crockett scores are applied to deer killed with a gun or muzzleloader while the Pope and Young score is attached to a deer killed with a bow. There are four categories, typical and non-typical for a gun/muzzleloader and typical and non-typical for a bow/crossbow.

“If a deer is basically an eight-point rack with a wide spread, length to the tines, and some mass to it they need to bring it to one of our official DNR measurers,” Thorne said.

Racks which meet a minimum score are recognized and entered into the DNR’s annual “big buck contest.” The minimum score for a typical gun kill is 140 and for a non-typical is 165. The minimum score for archery kills is typical 125 and non-typical 155. The largest in all four categories are awarded plaques at the September National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration.

More importantly, the racks become a growing body of data to gauge the health of the state’s deer herd.

“It’s a great data base that tells a lot about our deer management program in West Virginia,” said Thorne.

The record bucks in West Virginia include the best typical buck killed with a gun was taken in Nicholas County by Junior Bailes in 1994 with a Boone and Crocket Score of 185 4/8ths. The record non-typical gun kill came in 1997 when Charles McLaughlin killed a bruising buck in Wayne County which scored 231 5/8ths. The archery typical record was set in 1998 by Mark Lester for a Logan County buck scoring 175 6/8ths. The longest standing record is the archery non-typical record killed by Jerry Hill in Wyoming County. Jerry’s record buck has stood the test of time since 1986 scoring 212 1/8th.

Click HERE to see the top 5 of all time in West Virginia.

DNR officials say it’s been a good year for bucks in the state. They hope as many as possible call their local DNR district office and make an appointment to have the rack officially scored. It’s important to note the score cannot be official until 60-days after the kill, however the “green score” is acceptable for entry into the Big Buck Contest.

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