Are you still scratching your head trying to figure out how to score your deer antlers? Unfortunately, it's not as simple as counting the points and calling it a day. In order for your antler racks to compete with others for state records, they must be officially scored using a recognized method. These scoring methods require a very specific process to determine their eligibility in the record books. Whether you think you have a record-setting rack or not, it's important to know how to officially score your deer antlers.
The fact is that there are several different recognized methods for scoring deer antlers. While Boone and Crockett is the most commonly used, there are others that some hunters prefer using. Here we'll take a closer look at the different scoring methods and reveal how to go about using them.
Note: In order to use any of the scoring methods provided below, you'll first need to pick up a steel measuring wire. This is necessary to get proper measurements (nearest eight of an inch) of the circumference and spread lengths, as most reputable scoring methods require a steel measuring wire to be used; otherwise, your antlers could be ineligible. In addition to the measuring wire, you'll need an alligator clip to secure it on the antlers.
Boone and Crockett Club (B&C)
The Boone and Crockett Club is a nonprofit conservation organization founded by the 26th U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt in 1887. As the name suggests, the Boone and Crockett Club was named after two men responsible for discovering much of America's vast unexplored wilderness - Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett.
Originally, the Boone and Crockett Club focused on preservation of wildlife and game species, as over hunting and lack of regulations led to the extinction and decline in a number of wildlife populations. While the organization still practices wildlife preservation, they are also known for their big game scoring system which was officially adopted in 1950. Hands down, Boone and Crockett is the most popular and widely used deer antler scoring system there is. When you see read about a trophy buck in a wildlife magazine, chances are it was scored using this method.
In order for your deer antlers to be eligible for Boone and Crockett scoring, the deer must have been legally harvested during your state's respective hunting season. If you killed the deer out of season, using an illegal firearm, or if you didn't have an active hunting license, the antlers aren't eligible for using this method. This is done to preserve the integrity of the club and to promote proper hunting ethics.
So, just how exactly does the Boone and Crockett system determine a score for a rack of deer antlers? You'll need to refer to their online scoring system for exact measurements, but the scoring factors are:
- Tine circumference
- Tine length
- Beam length
- Inside spread
As stated above, symmetry is also a factor that's used to determine the Boone and Crockett score of deer antlers. Unlike other methods, the Boone and Crockett method places an emphasis on how symmetrical a deer antler rack is. If there are noticeable imperfections, points will be dedicated away, giving it an overall lower score. The scoring on a rack of deer antlers before points are deducted for asymmetry is known as the gross score, while the scoring afterwards is known as net score.
Pope and Young Club (P&Y)
The Pope and Young Club is a membership-based, nonprofit organization that keeps official records of deer and other big game harvested from bow hunting. Founded in 1961 by Glenn St. Charles, the Pope and Young Club is named after two bow-hunting pioneers - Dr. Saxton Pope and Arthur Young. Together, the duo was responsible for bringing attention to the otherwise dying hobby of bow hunting, which is why the club was named after them.
The Pope and Young Club was built on a foundation similar to the Boone and Crockett club, placing an importance on the education and preservation of wildlife and proper hunting ethics. Ever since the organization's inception over half a century ago, they've remained on the forefront of bow-hunting ethics and education. One of their most notable achievements is the creation of a deer antler scoring system designed specifically for bow-harvested deer.
All deer antlers scored using the Pope and Young method must meet a certain criteria for eligibility, one of which is how it was harvested. Because the organization is focused on bow hunting, all antlers scored using this method must come from a bow-harvested deer. Like the Boone and Crockett method, the deer must be harvested legally and ethically, following all of the respective state's rules and regulations. In addition, deer must be harvested following the Pope and Young Club's Fair Chase rules. If you fail to comply, your antlers will become ineligible for scoring.
For eligibility in the Pope and Young Club's Records Program, a typical whitetail deer must have a score of 125, while non-typical whitetails require a score of 155.
The scoring factors used by the Pope and Young Club method are as follows:
- Number of points
- Length of points
- Inside spread length
Safari Club International (SCI)
The Safari Club International is a worldwide leader in big game conservation and education. The origin of the Safari Club International may be a little confusing to some, as there are several "safari clubs" throughout the world. However, one of these clubs set up in Los Angeles, California back in 1971 eventually became what's now known as Safari Club International. As the Los Angeles club grew, they decided to reach out to others in an effort to combine them into one large club. Today, there are over 55,000 members in 190 chapters throughout the globe.
Safari Club International is most known for their simplistic approach to antler and horn scoring. Unlike the Boone and Crockett method, there are no deductions given for asymmetry. If a deer has a large, impressive rack of antlers, they believe points should be given and not taken away for it. While some hunters agree with this approach, others prefer the scoring of antlers to be weighed by their symmetry.
Buckmasters Trophy Records (BTR)
The Buckmasters Trophy Records is a scoring method dedicated to measure and record whitetail deer antlers without forcing them to conform to perfect symmetry. As you may have guessed, this scoring method was created was created by Buckmasters, the number one hunting association in the U.S. Jackie Bushman founded the Buckmasters association back in 1994 with a dream of creating an all-inclusive organization for whitetail hunting.
Although it's considered one of the newest antler scoring methods available, the Buckmasters Trophy Records has become quite popular amongst the whitetail hunting community. One of the reasons for its success is the methodology of not penalizing a rack of antlers because of their asymmetry. If nature gave a deer one side of antlers that didn't mirror the other side perfectly, this system won't deduct points from your total.
In order for your deer antlers to be eligible for the Buckmasters Trophy Records, they must have a minimum score of 140 inches for all deer harvested by firearm and 105 inches for all deer harvested by bow and arrow or crossbow.
Another notable feature of the Buckmasters Trophy Records is their whitetail deer antler categories. Unlike other scoring methods that use typical and non-typical categories, the Buckmasters Trophy Records uses perfect, typical, irregular and semi-irregular. This allows for a greater depth of antler scoring and the ability for your rack of antlers to come out as a record-setter in one of the respective categories.
Some of the factors that determine the BTR score of a rack of antlers are:
- Number of points
- Tip to tip spread length
- Beam spread length