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How to Score a Whitetail Deer

How to Score a Whitetail Deer While many hunters have an idea of how to field judge or guess what a whitetail deer may score when you see him the woods, few whitetail hunters know how to actually score a whitetail deer. Many scoring systems exist thus I will have to cover a few different scoring systems inclusive of Pope and Young, Boone and Crockett, Buckmasters, and SCI. We’ll talk about what measurement tools you’ll need to score the deer, as well as kits available to purchase if you so choose. I would recommend purchase of a scoring kit, however if the truth is known, for the financially challenged whitetail hunter the scoring of a whitetail deer can be done with a thick piece of string, a measuring tape which rounds to 1/8 inchs, a pencil, a piece of paper and some patience. Pope and Young/Boone and Crockett Scoring Methods As a general rule whitetail deer hunters most commonly use the method of scoring a deer which is employed by Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett. Both of these Record Book Scoring Systems work the same however have different minimum requirements are weaponry rules exist for entry. For your deer to meet the minimum requirements for Pope and Young it must be harvested with a bow and possess a net score of 125 inches typical or 155 inches nontypical. Boone and Crockett mandates that you can use bow or firearm for the harvest of your whitetail deer, however the minimum requirements for a typical deer is 170, while non typical deer must score a net of 190. How to score a whitetail deer by the standards of both these clubs are identical. In simple terms measurements on how to score a whitetail deer are taken of the typical frame of the antlers first. These include the length of tines, length of main beams, and circumferences along the main beam as well as the greatest inside spread between the antlers. Once the typical frame has been accounted for, any and all non-typical points are measured and added into this rough total. From this subtotal, or "gross score" as it is commonly referred to, discrepencies in tine length, beam length, and length of abnomal points are deducted to achieve a net score. A MORE DETAILED ACCOUNT OF JUST HOW TO SCORE YOUR DEER WILL OCCUR IN A FEW PARAGRAPHS. Typical antlers: There are two categories within the scoring system for how to score a whitetail deer: Typical and Non–typical. Typical scoring gives high priority to symmetry. On a typical buck both side-to-side discrepancies and abnormal points count against the final score. Non-typical antlers: If a buck has at least one abnormal point Pope & Young permits it to be scored as either a typical or non-typical at the discretion of the hunter. An abnormal point is any point that doesn’t originate off the top of the main beam or any point off the top of the main beam that appears to be out of place, not matching the normal spacing of the tines of the other antler. When sticker points are long, whether or not it is considered a typical point comes down to it's spacing along the beam and becomes a judgment call best left to an experienced trained official scorer. The first step in how to score a whitetail deer is measuring a tine is to determine where it begins. You’ll need a pencil to mark this location. On points that come off the main beam you first have to make a mark across the base of the tine that approximates the top of the beam. This is generally done by using a straightedge to span from the low points along the top of the beam on either side of the point. This is done on the outside of the rack when scoring your deer. Make a mark on the tine and go to the next one. Measure from here to the tip of the tine, following the centerline of the tine along the outside of the rack. When measuring abnormal points that come off other points you follow a very similar procedure on how to score a whitetail deer. First determine where the edge of the primary point would be if the point were not there. Make a mark here and measure from this point along the centerline of the abnormal point out to it's end. Measuring circumferences: Regardless of the number of points the buck has, you get four circumference measurements on each beam. You’ll need to remember this to know how to score a whitetail deer. Circumference is often referred to as mass because it indicates the bulkiness of the rack. All circumferences are taken at the smallest point between two tines or at designated locations along the main beam if the buck has eight or fewer typical points. The first circumference is taken at the smallest point between the base and the brow tine. The second is taken at the smallest point between the brow tine (called the G1) and first primary typical point (called G2). If the beam has only two points (three total) the next measurement is taken 1/3 of the way from the lst point to the end of the main beam and the fourth is taken 2/3 of the way out. If the beam only has three points (four points total) the fourth circumference is taken half way between the last point and the end of the main beam. This will require more than a straightedge tape. Normally scoring kits have a plastic flexible semi think string however you can use any flexible heavy string or fishing line if you want to correctly score your deer. Measuring the Main Beams The main beams are measured along their centerline from the base all the way to the tip. Measure the length along the outside of the rack. This will require more than a straightedge tape. Normally scoring kits have a plastic flexible semi think string however you can use any flexible heavy string or fishing line if you want to correctly score your deer. Measuring inside spread: If you want to be certain you know how to score a deer one important aspect is the inside spread is the greatest distance between the beams when measured parallel to the base. In other words, you can’t angle the tape in hopes of making the rack wider. The inside spread cannot be larger than the measurment of the longest main beam. In other words, if your inside spread is less than the length of the longest main beam, you use that measurement. If the inside spread is larger than the longest main beam, you would use the measurement of the main beam and not the spread. When you're all finished with your measurements, you total them up and that is your gross score. Just to make sure you have everything, you should have the following measurements: • Inside Spread • Main Beam x 2 (1 for each side) • Typical Tines x however many your deer has • Non-Typical Tines x however many your deer has • Circumference Measurements x 8 (4 for each side) By following these instructions and looking at the diagrams on the Pope and Young score sheets you should be able to come up with a rough score on your own using the information above and on the score sheet. Normally when scoring a deer its best to have a friend stand and write down the measurements for you rounded up to the nearest 1/8 inch. This way you can score the deer and call out the measurements to whomever is recording the numbers for you. Then I retreat to a calculator to add the total score. Deductions: Gross score for Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young are the total number of inches, however both clubs employ deductions for typical bucks. A deduction occurs when symmetry is not exact on both sides of the antler. For example, if the G1 or browe tine on the right side is 4 inches long, and the G1 or browe tine on the left side is 3 inches long you have just experienced a 1 inch deduction. Deductions on typical whitetail antlers occur at every measurements if they differ. This is really the only thing I don’t like about either system is that they are calling for the perfect whitetail deer, rather than giving credit for all of the bone on the whitetails deers head. However this is how to score a deer by methods of Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young. How to Score a Deer Using the Buckmaster’s System Buckmaster’s scoring system calls for firearms deer to meet 140 inches of their system’s standards to meet minimum requirements. Archery harvest must score 105 by their scoring system. So here is how to score a whitetail deer by Buckmaster’s System. The philosophy of Buckmasters' new Full-Credit Scoring System is to measure and record whitetail deer antlers without forcing them to conform to a criterion of perfect symmetry. This Full-Credit Scoring System takes nothing away from the rack. It simply measures every inch of antler and classifies it accordingly. The Buckmasters system can be distinguished from other whitetail scoring systems in these nine important areas when learning how to score your whitetail deer:  The Buckmasters system does not deduct differences between lengths of opposing typical points.  It does not include the inside-spread measurement in the score because it is a measurement of air, not antler.  Since the inside spread between the main beams is not added into the rack's score, a rack with a broken skull plate can be entered into the BTR.  There are four classifications of antlers categorized as: Perfect, Typical, Semi-Irregular, and Irregular.  Minimum score is the same for each of the four categories of antlers. The minimum score for all firearms-harvested deer is 140 inches. A minimum score of 105 inches is required for all bow-harvested deer. These minimum scores may sound low until you realize the inside-spread credit is not included. Remember this when you score your whitetail deer.  The BTR system provides categories for all types of firearms which include centerfire rifles, shotguns, handguns, and blackpowder guns. The bow-and-arrow category includes all compounds, recurves, and longbows, with a separate category for crossbows. The "Pick-Up" category is for racks which have been found rather than harvested by a hunter. The minimum score for this category is 140 inches. There is even a category for shed antlers which are measured only as right or left antlers, not as a pair. Minimum score for shed antlers is 75 inches.  No drying time is required before antlers can be measured.  The BTR also has a separate category for antlers still in velvet.  There is opportunity for entry for bucks which have been taken behind deer-proof fences, providing they meet the entrance criteria noted on the BTR Code of Ethics for Hunting On Game-Proof Fenced Properties. The Full-Credit Scoring System does not penalize a deer's antlers because of their shape or configuration since they have no choice in how they grow. Remember this when your scoring your own whitetail deer. Each hunter may prefer certain antler characteristics, but to call one preference right and another preference wrong would be absurd, especially where a design of nature is concerned. There is no justifiable reason to penalize a rack's score because of the origin of a point or the direction in which it grows. How to score a whitetail deer is important for this reason, the BTR minimum scores will be the same whether the rack is perfectly symmetrical or largely irregular. The BTR Full-Credit Scoring System's mandate is to record what nature produced, without making any assessment of its aesthetic value to the human eye. In the case of animals such as mountain sheep or goats, there is a static horn design. These animals never depart from what is considered the norm in how to score a whitetail deer in any way that would confuse their scoring criterion. A scoring system which is fair to one big-horn ram will be fair to all such rams because they are only created with one basic horn design. However, whitetail deer are quite another matter. For a measuring system to be as fair to deer as it is to wild sheep and goats, it must be prepared to acknowledge every antler configuration possible without penalty. This is the basis of the philosophy behind the BTR Full-Credit Scoring System. To fully understand the Buckmasters philosophy for not including the inside-spread measurement into the rack's score, imagine a set of whitetail antlers altered to a flexible state, so that the main beams could be spread wider or narrower. In other scoring systems, the changing of the inside-spread measurement would affect the final score, either positively or negatively. However, in reality, the actual inches of antler would not be altered by widening or narrowing the inside spread. All that has really been altered is a measurement of air, not antler. For this reason, the BTR system includes the inside-spread measurement only as supplementary data for identification purposes. Remember this when you learning how to score a whitetail deer. When measuring typical tines, no deduction is made when one typical point does not have a matching point on the opposite antler. An example would be a 9-point rack with five typical points on one side and only four typical points on the other. BTR does not force this rack to become a hypothetical 8-pointer by deducting the unmatched point. No matter how antlers grow, the BTR will accept and record them. By simply recording what nature produced and classifying it accurately, the BTR offers whitetail enthusiasts the opportunity to record their trophies with an unbiased, record-keeping agency that allows systematic comparison of the amazing, natural artistry of whitetail antlers. Measuring is taken in the same manner however as aforementioned no inside spread occurs. This is how to score a deer by Buckmaster’s record system. How to score a whitetail deer by SCI Methods The SCI Record Book of Trophy Animals uses SCI’s unique all-inclusive record keeping system, the most used system in the world, to document our hunting heritage. The scoring system recognizes typical and non typical animals and both free range and estate taken animals. NO deductions are enforced penalizing animals for asymmetry in the SCI scoring system. Minimum Standard for SCI Record Book Typical Whitetail Buck 115 inches Minimum Standard for SCI Record Book Non Typical Whitetail Buck 125 inches How to score a deer by means of SCI methods is exactly the same as Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett except no deductions occur. Scoring Kits Available For Purchase For whitetail hunters that are not financially challenged I recommend purchasing your own scoring kit. They are relatively inexpensive and here are a few to consider. OUTDOOR EDGE KIT My choice of scoring kits is made by Outdoor Edge. MSRP is around $73. It’s simply awesome and contains all instructions for most big game animals, a knife, a pen, scoring sheets, and comes in a wonderful little case, along with all measurement tools, etc. Boone & Crockett Field Scoring Kit Includes everything to score your trophy like a pro. • Official B&C Measuring Tape • Measuring Cable with Clip • Offical B&C Scoring Book • Solar calculator • Lockback Caping Knife • Pen • License Holder • Game Cleaning Gloves • Zip Ties (Attach carcass tags) • Hand Towels (For quick clean up) • Nylon Carry Pouch • Bonus: Complete B&C Scoring System on CD In cooperation with the Boone & Crockett Club, Outdoor Edge now offers the Official B&C Field Scoring Kit with everything you need to score all 38 categories of North American big game. This set comes complete with scoring book, pen, solar calculator, official measuring tape, cable with clip, folding caping knife, game cleaning gloves, license holder, hand towels and zip ties all in a compact nylon carry case. Scoring Book Features easy to follow instructions with multiple score charts for all 38 categories of native North American big game recognized by the B&C Club. Includes a history of the B&C Club, how to enter a trophy in the records book, taxidermy tips, caping instructions, decimal point conversions and more. ALLEN ANTLER SCORING KIT Measuring Cable, Tape Measure, Calculator and Scoring Charts for Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, Elk, Bear and Antelope MSRP $10 Contents: • Scoring chart for whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, bear, antelope • Measuring cable • Tape measure • Calculator RACKULATOR The world's only electronic calculating big game scoring tool. Simply by the electronic tape measure and rolling the electronic wheel, score your trophy only once and it will calculate seven final scores in different scoring systems and categories, (typical or non-typical), at the push of the score button. MSRP $119 The "RACKULATOR" will score antlered or horned big game animals quickly and easily. It measures, calculates and displays the total score of the left side, right side, inside spread, each tine, circumferences and beams. The "RACKULATOR" totally eliminates potential for mathematical errors and revolutionizes the scoring process. OUTDOOR EDGE BOONE AND CROCKETT SCORING KIT Price Range: $44.00 Includes Boone and Crockett measuring tape and cable, scoring book for all North American big game species, calculator, pen, game cleaning gloves, hand towels, zip ties and a folding caping knife, all in a compact nylon carrying case. Also includes an instructional CD. - Hunting > Cutlery > Axes, Skinners & Shears In conclusion, it’s fun to kill a big whitetail deer but its frustrating if you don’t know how to score a deer. I hopes this helps you.

Darrin Bradley

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