W.Va. Hunting Season Sparks Family Competition
Anna and Chuck Baker are just returning from their farm to check in a deer. It was Anna who bagged the did a little nine point buck.
Listen to Anna share the story of how she killed her buck.
Anna has been hunting for about 30 years. Her husband processes the deer and she cooks them up and she’s proud of her recipe. They prefer deer meat to beef, saying it’s healthier due to its lower fat and cholesterol content.
West Virginians and visiting hunters will spend the next two weeks in the mountains and valleys of the state tracking that prized buck. Deer season helps keep the population manageable but it also means a big boost for the state’s economy. The state Department of Natural Resources expects hunters to spend an estimated $230-million in mostly rural areas.
For Anna and Chuck, part of the sport involves an annual competition.
“We say whoever gets the biggest buck gets to wear the buckmaster cap,” Anna said.
They are at the Country Roads Store, in Pence Springs located in Summers County, which has a curious feature.
A front window peppered with bullet holes the owner says came from an incident involving a disgruntled customer. The game checking station sign hangs behind the holes now. Hunters drive into the parking lot to report and tag the deer they harvested… or at least share stories about the ones they saw. Rarely they volunteer stories about the one’s they miss...it’s usually a friend who offers that lead.
Cashier and game checker, Sybil Crane, works at Country Roads. She says it’s been a busy one, with 25 deer checked so far and many more people stopping by for hot dogs, pizza, gas and propane. Some were from Virginia, North Carolina and even El Paso, Texas.
“Deer season is a pretty big thing around here," Crane said. " Usually if you get here at a certain time of the evening, they all come piling in at dark when it’s done and over with."
“You’ll see five or six out in the parking lot...standing around...talking."
Crane not only checks game, she also hunts it. She has already been out earlier that morning but came back empty handed after only seeing two does and a fawn.
So who gets to wear the buckmaster cap, a baseball cap with the title in bright, blaze orange across the front?
“So this year, so far...I’ve got it,” Anna beamed. “Unless he gets a bigger one. He got a 5-point.” Chucked laughed, acknowledging that getting a bigger buck was going to be difficult.
For Anna, the hat is as much of a trophy as the 9-point-buck-itself.