If you are new to hunting, the idea of scoring may be an unfamiliar concept to you - I know it was for me. Simply put, scoring a buck’s antlers is an easy way for you to compare the size of your prize game with other trophy bucks.
Not all deer are created equal, and scoring is a method that different hunting clubs have codified to judge the quality and size of each buck. Depending on which organization you choose to associate with, you’ll score your deer differently.
If your buck has a rack large enough to go into the record books, you could send in your score to one of the four record-keeping organizations. So let’s learn how to score your white tail deer with ease!
How To Score A White tail Deer? First Things First
Before you get your buck’s rack in your hands, let’s briefly go over what you’ll be measuring. In the image above, you can see these different measurements and how the four clubs include or exclude particular dimensions.
For example, only the Boone & Crockett club take into account the symmetry of the deer’s antlers in their score. All four of the clubs measure the Main Beams and most measure the Non-Typical Points.
Organizations can list deer as either Typical or Non -Typical bucks. If your buck has a lot of non-typical points, then it’s better to enter it in as a non-typical buck.
There are two different scores that you’ll hear talked about - a gross score and a net score. The total score includes all of the points and possible measurements, whereas the net score will subtract any differences in symmetry and non-typical points.
I like to go with a gross score because it isn’t a nit-picky scoring method and it allows you to appreciate the immensity of your buck’s rack.
One last thing to be careful of is how long the deer’s rack has been sitting. Once you mount the buck, it will take about 60 days for the antlers to dry out. During this time they will shrink as they lose water.
If you score the deer right after you shoot it, this is considered a “green scoring” because your score will be higher than scoring the antlers after they’ve dried out. Only scores that have been taken after the antlers have dried out can be recognized as official scores for each of the clubs.
What You’ll Need
First, you’ll need to have shot your buck! To get your first buck, maybe you should check out what WhiteTail deer like to eat to help you on your next hunt.
As far as measuring equipment goes, you can get by with a few different tools. Here are the following tools that I recommend for scoring your deer.
The Steel Measuring Tape needs to be flexible to bend with the curve of the antler. I’ve found that Tailor’s Measuring Tape also works well.
The Wire Cable can be anything that’s long and can also bend to follow the curve of the primary beam. I use a bicycle brake line for this purpose.
Lastly, choose one of the clubs scoring sheets that make the most sense to you. Here are the scoring sheets for the following organizations.
Since Boone and Crocket is the oldest club, it’s typically the one most hunters will try first. I score my buck like the BuckMasters because they do not penalize for non-symmetric antlers. I recommend choosing the system you like best!
For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to walk you through the Boone & Crocket Measuring system below. There’s also a short youtube video you can check out to walk through the Boone & Crocket method.
Step One - Counting the Points
Firstly, you’ll want to count the points on the rack starting with the abnormal points and then to the standard ones. A normal point has to be at least 1 inch long and must be longer than it is wide. Anything smaller than this is considered a non-typical point.
Step Two - Measuring the Spreads
Next, you’ll need to measure the spreads. You’ll want to gauge the tip to tip spread between the last two tips of the antler at the front.
Then you need to measure the greatest range which is usually between the main two beams but can sometimes be a kicker point that’s further away than the main beam
Lastly, you will want to measure the inside spread which is the inside distance between the two main beams. This measurement is typically close to the greatest range, but it should be smaller since it’s from the inside of the beams not to the outside.
Step Three - Measuring the Main Beams
Using your wire cable you will want to stretch it carefully from the head of the buck where the antler begins, along the outside of the beam all the way to the very last point. Once you have this length of the wire you used, measure it along your ruler to find your beam length.
Step Four - Measuring the Tine Lengths
This is an important step because you need to be careful where you begin this measurement. You will want to start this at the center of the main beam and then out to the tip of the point.
These are the G1-G7 measurements in the image to the right.
Step Five - Measuring the Circumference
It’s always important to take the smallest measurements when measuring the circumferences. You will only and always make four circumference measurements marked as H1-H4 in the diagram above.
If you only have an 8 pointer, you need to ensure you measure directly between the last tine and the last point.
Measure and Repeat
Once you do this for the left or right side of the antler, then you need to repeat steps 1-5 for the other side as well. The trick for Boone & Crocket is symmetry between the right and left sides.
So you will compare the measurements from the right and left sides of the buck’s rack and then subtract the difference between these two measurements.
Without subtracting your scores, you have the gross score which is the total score minus the asymmetries and non-typical points you find. I use this score for my record keeping, but an official score will use the net score.
That’s It - Not Too Difficult Right?
I wanted to leave you with this incredible video looking at the largest typical buck ever recorded. If you are lucky enough to shoot a buck like this, you’ll want to remember these five steps to score your deer.
What do you think? Which scoring method do you use? Let me know in the comments below! All the best to you as you hunt for your next trophy buck - you now know everything there is to know about scoring it.