CHARLESTON, W.Va. — 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.
Justice, an avid hunter, thanked state officials and all who had submitted photography.
"Each and every one of them was truly amazing," Justice said. "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 of our beautiful outdoors. That's some really good stuff right there."
The Big Buck Photo Contest, co-sponsored by the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources and Department of Tourism, was open to residents and non-residents 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 short account of their hunt and a photo with a buck they harvested during the 2022 hunting season.
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. A judging committee made up of Justice, DNR Director Brett McMillion, Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby, or their designated representatives selected the winners.
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 a lifetime hunting and fishing license. The five adult winners can choose a lifetime hunting license or a two-night state forest cabin stay. Only West Virginia residents are eligible for a lifetime license.
Big Buck Photo Contest Youth 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.
Big Buck Photo Contest Adult Division Winners
Stephen Booth — Buffalo, W.Va.
Vanessa Dillon — Parkersburg, W.Va.
Kevin Korzun — Romney, W.Va.
Madeline Nelson — Marlinton, W.Va.
Jordon Peterson — Youngstown, Ohio