Scoring A Deer
The first thing that comes to mind for most people when they talk about scoring a deer is hunting and killing a big buck and filling your freezer with venison for weeks of fabulous dinners. Scoring a deer actually involves measuring the antlers of the deer and obtaining a score. Deer scoring has become popular amongst sports hunters as a way or recording their catch and the deer scoring system is used as a method of determining a winner in a sports hunting competition.
The Boon and Crockett Club is a US organization that has been regulating hunting since 1887. They realized that if regulations were not introduced into hunting, many populations and species of animals would be hunted into extinction. In 1932, this same organization developed the first scoring system of measuring antlers. In this way, they were able to make records of the deer killed and this method of scoring became the benchmark method of determining a winner in hunting competitions.
You don’t have to be a competitive hunter to score a deer, but knowing the basics of scoring a deer will help you to record your successes when you do go hunting, and you may find yourself learning more than you thought about deer and their territory.
How To Score A Deer
The first few things you will need to score a deer is an EDC pen and tape measure, preferably dressmaker’s measuring tape which is easier to work with. You’ll also need a scoring sheet. You can download a scoring sheet from the Boon & Crockett website. A set of antlers is called a rack, and you will be measuring the various points of the rack and recording the measurements on a scoring sheet.
A typical measuring system will need to take note of the following aspects of the antlers or a rack:
- The inside spread at the widest point of main beams
- The number of points on each antler
- Spread from tip to tip
- Widest spread point
- Length of abnormal points
- Length of the main beam
- Length of typical points
- Count the number of points your rack has and record your findings.
- The first measurement you need to take is the widest points of the inside of the antlers. These are referred to as the main beams.
- You will then need to measure each antler, left and right, individually. Measure the outer length of each antler to the point of the main beam point.
- The next step is to measure each separate point of the antlers. These are often referred to as G1, G2, G3, etc. These are called the brow points.
- Measure the mass by placing the measuring tape between each burr of the antlers. Make sure you are taking the measurements from the outer edge of the beam. This will give you the mass or H1, H2, H3 scores.
- To record the length of the tines, start to measure from where they emerge from the main beam.
- Check to ensure all separate measurements have been accurately recorded in your scoring sheet.
- A typical rack uses no more than 4 circumference measurements. The measurements are taken at the smallest circumference in between the antler point. The G1 is taken from the smallest circumference between the burr and the first point. You can then measure the smallest circumference between G1 and G2, G2 and G3 and the final measurement between G3 and G4.
A point needs to meet certain requirements to qualify as a definite measurement for deer scoring. The first point needs to be a minimum of 1 inch in length and the length must always be more than the width.
Tallying Your Recorded Measurements
The measurements are tallied to determine the deer score. You can score additional separately categorized points if your rack is typical or non-typical. Points can also be deducted if there is a difference in symmetry.
If you feel you have a definite winner on your hands, you will need to air dry your rack for a couple of months before having it examined by an official scorer.
Once you have all of your measurements, you can start tallying your score. The differences between each point from left to right will be deducted from your total score. Subtract the right from the left scores of all of you G and H corresponding scores. You can then add all the measurements such as the beam, inside spread and G and H points and round them off to the nearest eighth of an inch to get your total gross score. Finally, subtract your deductions from your gross score and you have your net score.
What Is Considered To Be A Trophy Buck?
Boon and Crockett have deemed the minimum scoring for a white-tailed deer to be 160 inches. Pope and Young also have a scoring system and their requirements are 125 inches. There are other organizations that also have their own scoring systems so it may be necessary to research the system used in each region to be sure you can score appropriately. A typical whitetail buck will have a nice symmetrical rack with only a few non-symmetrical features. The less there are, the less points will be deducted. Other factors may include the health of a deer and its age. Topically, a young buck may only have a 4 pointed rack, while a considerably older buck may have a 10 pointed rack.
What Is The Purpose Of Keeping A Deer Score?
The main purpose of keeping a deer score is for competition or award purposes. This is probably more specific to sports hunters. However, many hunting and environmental organizations keep such records up to date so they can keep an eye on deer population in a particular area. By doing this, they can ensure that the population of deer is not under threat of extinction or being totally removed from their natural territory.
What Is the Highest Deer Score Ever Recorded?
In 2016 a Tennessee hunter named Stephen Tucker shot a buck with the most impressive rack you could possibly imagine. The antlers on this buck branched out into dozens of points depicting an animal that had lived a long and healthy life. All in all, there were 47 points giving a deer score of 312 ⅜I niches. This had broken the previous record from back in 2003 with a score of 307 ⅝ inches. This buck had been shot by a then 15-year-old Tony Lovstuen. However, the largest rack ever scored was 333 ⅞ inches. This deer would not have a hunter’s name recorded with his score as he was found in Missouri and not shot by a hunter.
Can You Tell The Age Of A Buck By His Antlers?
Size is usually the best indicator of a buck’s age. A young buck will be considerably smaller than his adult counterparts. However, once a buck reaches full maturity, guessing his age can be tricky. That’s when you can take a good look at his antlers. As a buck gets older he will generally have more points on his rack. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. It will also depend on the health of the buck and the location he is in. This is usually due to the food sources he has available to him. The more accurate way of determining a buck’s age is to look at his teeth. This may be a difficult method though, as you will not be able to get close enough to the buck without shooting him.
Is There An Easier Way To Scoring A Deer?
Fortunately, technology has caught up to deer scoring and you can now record your measurements into an app to determine your gross or net scores. Some apps are infinitely more advanced and allow you to score a buck you have hunted or even one you have photographed or had its image captured via a trail camera. These apps make it possible for hunters to tally up their scores within moments, but for researchers, they are also useful tools for tracking deer population in a certain territory. There are many apps you can choose from so you can find one according to ease of use and accuracy.
Once you master the skills of scoring a deer, you will undoubtedly want to keep a record of every trophy buck you shoot. Your records will help you keep track of where most of your successes where and the best time of year to go hunting.
Remember to always follow the rules of safety when it comes to hunting so that you and your fellow hunters are safe. Also, respect the rules in terms of what you can shoot and keep the number of kills to a minimum. The balance of nature is often brought to a fragile state due to overhunting so hunt responsibly so that healthy numbers of deer can be maintained for future generations and for the local environment and the deer population in your favorite hunting grounds.