Whitetail deer are one of the most common game animals for hunters in the USA. But how many points do you score for that big buck’s antlers? Learning how to add all the points isn’t too difficult, but it does take a little practice. Here’s a guide to counting deer points and scoring your prize buck.
You don’t have to be a math whiz to learn how to count points on deer antlers correctly. Any hunter, regardless of qualification, can count points on their buck by reading up on techniques online. The Boone and Crockett Club website includes a user-friendly, easy-to-use scoring chart that will help you score your whitetail deer quickly and accurately.
Simply follow along, punch in those numbers, and let the internal technology handle the rest. If you’re a new hunter and looking at how to count points on your buck, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll look into everything you need to know about scoring your buck and much more. Let’s get started!
What is the Boone and Crocket Scoring System?
Hunters have long kept track of the sizes and measurements of the racks on the deer they shoot, even before record books were established. This has made it easier for hunters to remember the size of the animals and compare them to other bucks shot by other hunters.
However, because there was no standardized method for measuring and tallying rack sizes, many hunters disagreed about which bucks were the largest. Sometimes, hunters were not using the same measurements. Even when they agreed on something, such as counting the normal points, nearly all the bucks compared had differences that produced important questions.
- Which are the main points on a buck that can be scored?
- What qualifies as an antler point?
- What about other antler points and abnormal points?
The Boone and Crockett Club is a non-profit organization created in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt for passionate big-game hunters. An authorized committee of B&C members took on the challenge of widening the scope of the club’s current basic methodology to a more complete, equitable, and objective measurement system.
This system was meant to recognize remarkable North American big game animals.
Their actions developed an objective, honest, and fair grading system known as the Boone and Crockett scoring system. The Boone and Crockett record book classified scores into two groups:
Boone and Crockett Awards = 160-170
Boone and Crockett All-Time Awards = 170+
Their score sheet is available on their website; you can download it and enter the measurements. If you submit the Boone and Crockett Club with your information, they’ll use it to create valuable data. This information can then be used for conservation and game management.
Typical vs. Non-typical Deer Antlers
Hunters coined “typical” and “non-typical” antlers to describe the relative size of killed bucks. A typical deer has a symmetrical rack, which means that each antler’s orientation, the direction of tines, the number of points, and general arrangement are mirror images of one another.
In contrast, a non-typical deer looks unbalanced, and you can identify them at a glance. You’ll notice that the point count on each side does not match. This imbalanced appearance can be counted easily as having six points on one antler and four on the other.
However, if you’re scoring a BC score, the difference between typical and non-typical becomes prominent. When you score a typical buck, abnormal points will be deducted from your total score. But when you score a non-typical buck, you get extra points.
The lengths of the atypical scores are included in the final net score sheet, which is the main difference between scoring a typical and a non-typical rack. On a typical buck, these values are deducted from the score sheet. The majority of non-typical points include spits and kicker points. Drop tines, for example, are far less common to come across.
How to Count Points on a Buck’s Antlers
Now that you know some basic aspects of point counting, let’s look at how to score your buck accurately.
Step 1: Measure the Antler Beam Length
The first step is to measure the entire antler length from base to tip. As a deer antler is certainly not a perfectly straight piece that you can measure with a simple ruler or tape, this process can be challenging.
You may use a flexible cable or string to measure the exact length of the main beams. You’ll want to trace the beam length using the cable/string. After you reach the end, use an alligator clip or tape, or ask a friend to mark the end.
Now measure the length of the string or cable for the beam length. After measuring, take record and repeat the process on the other antler.
Step 2: Measure the Tine to Get Your “G” Measurements
The “G” values refer to the antlers’ tines. Each tine’s measurement is assigned a G and a number, beginning with the tine closest to the skull. G1 refers to the first tine (closest to the skull), G2 corresponds to the following tine, and so on.
To obtain the “G” values, put a piece of tape over the base of the tine, aligning it with the top edge of the main beam. After placing the tape, measure from the base of the tine to the top. Repeat this for each tine and record your measurements.
Step 3: Measure Abnormal Points
What counts as abnormal? Any tine or point that does not come from the main beam. This can include leaners, stickers, kickers, and drop tines. Abnormal points are measured independently from the main tines and noted in their own category on the scoring sheet.
To be counted as a point, a tine must be at least 1 inch long, and its width should be less than its length (for example, a 2-inch tine with a 2 1/2-inch base would not count).
Step 4: Measure the Inside Spread
Calculate the inside spread of the two antlers, which is the distance between the insides of the antlers’ outer sections. This measurement is taken perpendicular to the skull’s center line. The Boone & Crockett scoring chart refers to this measurement as a “spread credit” if it is shorter than the longest main beam.
If your spread credit is longer than the main beam, then that longer main beam length will decide your overall score. For instance, if the inside spread is 22 inches and the longest of the two main beams is 20 inches, then 20 inches is used as the inside spread credit.
Step 5: Take Circumference Measurements or the “H”
You’ll probably require more than just a regular carpenter’s tape measure to finish the “H” measurements. Here you’ll need a flexible tape measure used by tailors since you’ll have to wrap it around the antlers to obtain the circumference. Alternatively, you can roll a wire around the antler, measure the wire, and then mark the circumference.
Any antler, regardless of the number of tines, will have eight total H measures, four on each side. The H1 measurement will be the least circumference between the first point and the burr. The smallest circumference between the first and second points will be the H2 measurement. Continue taking measurements until you have four measurements for both antlers.
The smallest point between the following G points is used for all other circumference measurements. If G4 is absent, H4 is taken halfway between the center of G3’s base and the main beam’s tip.
For example, if you get a 6 point without G3 or G4, find the halfway point between the G2 and the main beam’s tip, measure its circumference, and use this value as your H3 and H4 measurements.
Step 6: Add the Measurements
For this step, you’ll need your most reliable calculator. All you have to do is add your measurements together. Your buck’s green gross score is the sum of all your measures. But the net score is what counts if you want to put your score in the record books. To find it, subtract any side-to-side differences and the abnormal points.
For instance, if the left G3 number is 4.5 inches and the right G3 number is 5, you should subtract a half inch from the measures. Now that you have the net score, you must wait for the rack to dry for 60 days before recalculating the score to make it official. To determine the final score, you’ll follow the same procedure.
How To Count Points on a Buck: Quick Summary
Let’s quickly summarize the main steps to count the point on a buck:
- Measure the length of the two major beams.
- Measure the lengths of each point.
- Add the four circumference measurements together.
- Count the spread credit.
- Subtract the total length of all atypical tines on a typical rack.
- Subtract the difference between each main beam measurement for the right and left.
- Subtract the differences in the left and right major points’ measurements.
- Subtract the difference between each circumference reading.
As most hunters take down one buck each season, scoring is a process best left to the professionals. A taxidermist, guide, or even a professional wild game processor can assist you in counting your points.
You’ll need a notepad, flexible tape, basic math skills or a calculator to score your prize. If you believe your buck is great enough to break a record and is qualified for a place in the records, send your bid formally by reaching the Boone and Crockett Club. A professional from the club will arrive and record your new score for everyone to see in their book.
What counts as a point on a buck?
In hunting, a point on a buck refers to the individual tines of the antlers. A tine has to be at least one inch long and may be quickly counted by assuming that an overwhelming majority of mature whitetail bucks grow a brow tine on each antler and that the main beam tip is counted as one point. Points are typically documented on Column G, which is why hunters often refer to them as G-points. Points include the brow tine, which sticks straight up near the base of the antlers.
How rare is an 8-point buck?
8-point bucks are the most common, making up 50 percent of antlered deer in all mature buck age classes. Is an 8-point that may be average to many hunters your perfect buck? It all depends on the hunter’s preferences and criteria such as hunting pressure, available food, and the age of the buck. Ultimately, the decision of what constitutes a “perfect buck” is subjective and varies from hunter to hunter.
Do you count brow tines in the score?
Brow tines are small antlers that point forward over the deer’s eyes. These are counted for whitetail deer but not for mule deer.
How can you count a buck’s score in the field?
One quick estimation can be made by counting the number of points through your scope or binoculars. A buck that has two standing normal points per side is probably an 8-point buck. If you spot one with three standing points, it is probably a 10-point buck.
Counting deer antler points in the field is a good way to estimate the score, but you’ll need to bag the deer and let its antlers dry for 60 days before you can get an official score.
When do deer drop their antlers?
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