Kimble said taking the musket on hunting trips has become a tradition with the mascots.
"Other Mountaineers have gone and shot multiple deer with it before," he said. "I've taken it with me deer hunting before, also."
Some WVU fans stood behind Kimble on Friday.
"This is a smart young man from West Virginia who did nothing wrong, who was celebrating who he is," said Robert Hickman, who holds two degrees from WVU and lives near Fairmont. "If you're from West Virginia and you love the outdoors, or if you hunt or don't hunt, or if you fish or don't fish, it is a celebration of this state. As a WVU graduate, I'm thrilled to death with him. Happy as can be."
The Mountaineer mascot first appeared at athletic events in the 1936-37 school year. The Mountaineer is selected each year and the mascot's outfit is custom tailored to fit the winner.
Last February, the bearded Kimble was chosen from among 13 applicants.
In July, he appeared with other Big 12 mascots at the conference's football media days in Dallas, even exchanging words with Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops about the teams' game in November. Earlier this year, Kimble was featured in a national commercial promoting the university and was part of an ESPN commercial with WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen.
"It's been incredible," Kimble said. "The transition to the Big 12 has given so much limelight to WVU."