Whether you're a seasoned hunter or a newcomer eager to learn, this blog is packed with information to help YOU master the art of scoring a whitetail buck. For the past year I’ve worked hard to produce the art and information for this new print The Scoring & Field Judging of the White-tailed Buck.
WHY SCORE A RACK
Before we dive into the scoring process, let's discuss why scoring a whitetail buck rack is important.
- Conservation. Responsible hunting includes tracking the health and population of deer herds. Similar to body weight, it’s one more metric that we can use as hunters to track trends in herd health.
- Trophy Evaluation: As hunters, we’ve been fascinated by large antlers since the dawn of time. Scoring is a metric to determine the quality of a buck's antlers.
- Personal Achievement: While we never determine the success of the hunt by the size of the rack, scoring your own buck still a rewarding experience, and it’s a lot of fun to do.
The two most common scoring systems are the Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young. Boone and Crockett is for fair-chase hunting with any weapon, while the Pope and Young is for big game taken with archery equipment.
Scoring yourself is fun, but if you want your buck recorded in one of these record books, you need to have it officially scored by one of these clubs registered scoring agents.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of scoring, you'll need some tools:
- A flexible, but not stretchy, cord or twine. You can also use a flexible tape used for sewing.
- A measuring tape or straight edge like we have here, for taking measurements
- A calculator for adding up totals
- Scoring Sheets: a blank sheet of paper will work if you’ve done this before. You can also download my free scoring sheet at the link below.
Now, let's break down the basic steps for scoring a whitetail buck rack using the Boone and Crockett system.
1. Inside Spread
2. Main Beam Lengths
3. Tine Lengths
4. Circumference Measurements
5. Any abnormal points
Plug these numbers into the appropriate place on the scoring sheet and follow the instructions to calculate the gross and net scores.
So how exactly does deer score high? Most hunters are thrown off by a wide spread or a big frame. While those definitely help, here’s where the inches really come from on most deer:
38% of the score comes from the number of tines and their length
30% is the Main beam length
20% comes from mass
12% is from the Inside Spread
Here are some additional tips to ensure accuracy in your scoring:
- Be consistent in how you measure each antler point. Projections must be at least one inch long and longer than they are wide to count as a point. The old saying that “if it’ll hold a ring, it’s a point” isn’t always true.
- Double-check your count of typical and non-typical points on each side.
- Learn the difference between normal and abnormal points. This is where having a registered scoring agent comes into play. Top trophies are even panel scored, and how to score individual points is often decided by a group of experts.
Scoring a whitetail isn’t just about bragging rights; it's a way to appreciate these amazing animals and the time and effort it takes to manage and hunt them them. I hope you found this art and information helpful. If you have any questions or want to share your own scoring experiences, feel free to leave a comment below. Good luck to everyone this Fall!
To download the scoring sheet featured in this video visit the link in the description below, enter your email, and print out a copy at home!
As an artist, it’s my passion to enhance the atmosphere of deer camp. The best way I know to do that is through my best-selling paper prints “The Growth & Maturity of the White-tailed Buck", “The Anatomy & Physiology of the White-tailed Buck”, and The Scoring & Field Judging of the White-tailed Buck. The above art and information (plus much, much more) can be found in one place that you can hang on the wall. It’s been an honor to produce them, and I guarantee you they’ll be the talk of hunt camp!
Wishing you a successful deer season,