“I saw him a couple times before,” Jacob said outside Shanghai Grocery in Back Creek Valley, where he and his dad, Curtis, took the deer to be checked in.
“I’ve shot other eight points, but that’s probably the biggest one,” Jacob said.
In his tree stand in Morgan County before 6 a.m., Jacob said he was able to lure the buck closer to his position by rattling a set of antlers to try to make the animal think another male was in the area.
Jacob said he heard the deer rustling in the trees, marking his territory with his antlers, before he saw him and shot the buck from about 80 yards away at about 7 a.m.
“I was fired up this morning,” said Jacob, who said he had seen the buck as recently as Saturday when only archery deer season was allowed.
Jacob and his dad were among hundreds of thousands of deer hunters who took to the woods across West Virginia on Monday for the start of the two-week gun season, which the state Division of Natural Resources predicts will be slightly better than last year.
“It’s exciting, the adrenaline rush,” Jacob said of his love for hunting. “It’s nice just getting out in the woods — seeing everything.”
Billy Wampler of York, Pa., who checked in a four-point buck, said he has made the trip to Berkeley County to hunt in the Sleepy Creek area every year since he was a teenager.
“This was the first one I saw,” said Wampler, who is awaiting the opening of gun deer season in Pennsylvania next week.
“It was nice here today. The weather was good,” Wampler said.
Ned Boyd, 82, of Martinsburg, checked in a doe that he shot Monday after obtaining a doe permit. The deer will be processed for jerky because that’s what his children enjoy, he said.
Boyd said he intends to return to the woods Tuesday as long as his all-terrain vehicle still runs.
Ray Goulet of Martinsburg left the woods with a 10-point buck Monday.
“Best I ever pulled out of here,” Goulet said.
He doubted he ever saw one as big, either, and suspects fewer hunters might be a reason for that.
Goulet recalled the woods being crowded with hunters, many from out of state.
“Heck, you’d be scared to hunt,” Goulet said.
Shanghai Grocery checked in more than two dozen deer by 1 p.m., but owner Dorothy Snow said the number of hunters has dropped significantly since the economic recession.