To score a typical buck you will be required to take several different measurements of the antlers in different ways.
Once you have completed gathering your measurement data, sum up the numbers and subtract any deductions for features that are different from one side of the rack to the other. Keep the following general rules in mind when measuring and scoring a rack.
- Take every measurement with a flexible steel cable or ¼-inch flexible steel tape.
- Enter fractional figures to the nearest eighth of an inch.
- Be sure to keep the measuring tape or cable tight and centered against the beam or point. Any slack will skew the final score.
The Measuring Process
1) Document the length of both main beams.
- Start from the center of the lowest outside edge of the burr on the outer side of the main beam.
- Run a flexible steel cable along the center of the outer side of the main beam all the way to the tip of the main beam. At the tip, mark the cable (you might use an alligator clip) to identify the end of the main beam. Use the ¼-inch steel tape to determine the length of the marked cable.
- Use a partner to hold or masking tape to secure the tape or cable to the beam to ensure the cable follows the antler’s centerline.
2) Jot down the length of all the normal main points.
- A point must be at least 1 inch long to qualify as a point, but at the 1-inch mark it cannot be wider than 1 inch (it can’t be wider than it is long, in other words). Line up the steel measuring tape along the outer, top edge of the main beam under each main point. Mark this baseline with a pencil. This line represents what the main beam would look like if the point was not present and is your starting point for measuring the tines.
- Start at pencil baseline and measure the center of the outer side of each point all the way to the tip. A partner or masking tape will help during this step.
3) Document four circumference measurements of the main beam. All antler racks have only four circumference measurements, regardless of the number of points per main beam.
- Start at the smallest point between the burr and the first point and repeat the measurements between all main points until you have recorded four circumference measurements.
- If the brow tine (G1) is missing, take the first and second main beam circumference measurements at the smallest place between burr and first main point.
- In the case of an 8-point whitetail, the fourth point (G4) is not present. Take the H4 measurement halfway between the third point and the tip of the main beam.
4) Determine the spread credit.
- Spread credit is the widest point in between main beams taken perpendicular to the skull. (The widest point between the main beams).
Net about 115 as an 8-pointer
5) Tally and record the sum of the total of lengths of all the abnormal points.
- Abnormal points are non-typical in their location. Examples include smaller points that extend from the bottom or sides of the main beam or main point, or “extra” points that exist beyond the normal pattern of points.
6) Keep track of the difference of each parallel measurement between the right and left antler.
- Measure the bigger antler first. Then, determine the difference of the same measurements for the smaller antler. Do this for the main beams, main points and circumference measurements.
Quick Scoring Steps
Here’s a quick-hit summary of the eight steps for scoring a typical buck’s rack (download a scoring sheet here):
1) Add the total length of both main beams.
2) Add the total length of all the points.
3) Add total length of four circumference measurements.
4) Add the spread credit. Spread credit is the inside spread measurement unless that measurement exceeds the length of the longest main beam. In that case, the length of the longest main beam is entered as the spread credit.
5) Subtract the total number of inches of all abnormal points on a typical rack.
(Note: Examples include sticker points originating from a main point, points originating from the bottom or sides of a main beam, or extra points beyond the normal pattern of points).
6) Subtract the difference between each measurement of the right and left main beams.
7) Subtract the difference between each measurement of the right and left main points.
8) Subtract the difference between each of the four circumference measurements.
= Final Score
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[NOTE: For a non-typical trophy you add abnormal points (Step 5), instead of subtracting them.]
Net about 125 as an 8-pointer
That’s it! You now have a “green score.” Official measurements cannot be taken until antlers air dry at room temperature for 60 days. Any score calculated before the drying period is known as the “green score.” For an “official” score, antler trophies need to be measured and scored by a trained and certified B&C measurer.
Also, some information recorded on the B&C score sheet is purely supplemental data that’s used by officials and record books to keep an accurate history of the animal taken. Here are three measurements required on the B&C score sheet but not added into the final score:
- The number of points on each antler.
- Tip-to-Tip Spread (The distance between the two tips of the main beams).
- Greatest Spread (The distance between the farthest outside portion of each antler).