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Sutton youth among winners in Governor’s Big Buck Photo Contest

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice last week 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. A Braxton County youth was among the winners.

“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.

Rylee Martin of Sutton was a winner in the youth division. She is the daughter of Jeremy and Tina Martin Amazingly, Rylee is not the first winner in her family as her father was selected in 2021.

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.

For more information about hunting and fishing in West Virginia and to purchase a license, visit