Beat these 3 beastly WV hunting records


Some truly impressive trophies have been recorded over the years by hunters and fishermen in West Virginia.

Here are some wild, wonderful records for some of the biggest, longest and most impressive animals in the Mountain State.

1. Big turkeys

There are some huge gobblers in West Virginia, especially in Jackson County. The National Wild Turkey Federation has a scoring system for both “atypical” and “typical” turkeys. They add up things like weight, claw size and beard length, then average them out for a numerical score.

“Atypical” birds often have bigger claws or beards, but might not look like our standard image of a proud, strutting, “typical” turkey. But hey, we’re not judging, there are records for both types! The largest “atypical” turkey in West Virginia was harvested in 2004 in Jackson County, had multiple beards, with one nearly a foot long, and weighed 21.6 lbs. Its total NWTF score was 160.1.

The biggest typical bird was harvested in May 2016, also in Jackson County. This bird did not have multiple beards like the atypical one, so it got a NWTF score of only 87.6. But, it was still a monster, with a single beard more than a foot long, and weighing in at 25 lbs!

2. Reel big fish

West Virginia’s got countless bodies of water, from tiny ponds to massive reservoirs, mountain creeks to the Ohio River. That means there’s a huge variety of fish records to sort through. But believe it or not, the biggest fish records in the Mountain State are not from the Ohio or Kanawha, but from lakes.

The biggest whopper in state history was a grass carp caught in 2005 at Warden Lake in the Eastern Panhandle. Warden Lake is not too big, but the fish was: 50 inches long and 71.69 lbs! Coming in at a close second is a flathead catfish caught in the Little Kanawha back in 1956. It was 52 inches and 70 lbs.

The longest fish caught in West Virginia was a Stonecoal Lake muskellunge (a type of pike, usually known as a “muskie,”) in 2003. His fish didn’t weigh much—“only” 38.5 lbs—but its length of 52.7 inches barely beat out some of the heavy hitters.

A couple other notable records: a striped bass caught in Bluestone Lake in 2010 was 47 inches and 45.7 lbs, and a rainbow trout caught in Berkeley County in 2014 was 33 inches and 19.4 lbs.

3. Oh deer!

Deer hunting is probably the most popular type of hunting in West Virginia. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has a program called “Big Buck Certification” (formerly the Big Buck Contest), which keeps track of typical and non-typical records, going by the official scoring guidelines of the national Boone and Crockett Club.

Probably the craziest-looking, most non-typical deer in state history was a monster buck taken by in 1997 in Wayne County. It had a massive forest of antlers– 31 points!– and got an official score of 231 5/8. The typical buck record is from Nicholas County, with a deer that scored 185 4/8 in 1994.

Some more recent bucks have approached these longstanding records. In 2014, a bow hunter took down a massive 12-pointer that scored in at 188 ⅞ for a bowhunting record. Just last year, a hunter took a 15-pointer that unofficially scored “green” (before the antlers were allowed to dry and shrink for 60 days) at 191 2/8.

Are you ready to beat these West Virginia Fish and Game records?

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This post was last updated on July 27, 2020