Scoring Your Whitetail Trophy

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Do You Know How?

(Craig Watson photo)

Not every buck needs to make the records book to be considered a trophy, but if you‘re curious as to how your buck measures up, here are some tips on how to score your whitetail.

Tools of the Trade

To accurately score your buck, you will need a 1/4-inch wide, flexible steel measuring tape graduated to measure in eighths of an inch. It is also helpful, but not necessary, to have a folding carpenter‘s ruler with a brass measuring extension. This is useful for taking the spread measurements. A scoring cable and clip is also helpful. This is a flexible, plastic-coated steel cable that makes it easier to measure along the curve of the main beams. Once you have run the cable out to the tip of the beam, attach the spring-loaded clip onto the cable where your mark is. Then lay the cable out on the measuring tape to get your measurement. It is best to score your buck by following the instructions on an official scoring sheet. These are available as a downloadable PDF from the Boone and Crockett Club‘s website. Go to “Records” then “Scoring.” Online scoring is also available on the site.

The Basics

Under the Boone and Crockett Club‘s scoring system, a typical whitetail buck‘s final score is the sum total of measurements (to the nearest eighth of an inch) of its spread credit, length of his main beams, length of points, and eight circumference measurements, less the differences of any abnormal points and lack of symmetry. The length of any abnormal points and the differences in symmetry between one side of your buck‘s rack and the other are used to calculate a final or net score. As an example, we will score a typical 14-point whitetail without any abnormal points. And to be counted as a point, a point has to be at least 1 inch long, but not exceed 1 inch in width at the point where it is one inch long.

Start at the Beginning

Although an official scoring sheet asks for the total number of points per side, the tip-to-tip spread, and the greatest spread (outside spread) these totals are not used to calculate the final score. These measurements are noted only as a reference for the B&C records department when processing and checking entries. Your first measurement for an official score is the inside spread (noted on the score chart as “D”).

Inside spread of the main beams (i.e.: 20-3/8”) -- this measurement is simply the distance in inches at the widest inside point of a buck‘s rack taken between or inside the main beams. The next measurement is the length of each main beam (23-6/8” and 24-2/8”). To measure each main beam start at the bottom of the burr of each antler, in line with the eye socket. Run your cable or tape outward along the outside curve of the main beam, out to the tip of the main beam. The score chart asks for the differences between each measurement on the right and left antler. The total for this column will be used to calculate the final score. As an example, our main beams the difference is 4/8 (24-2/8 minus 23-6/8 = 4/8).

You will note that the score chart then asks for the spread credit. This number is usually the inside spread measurement; however, you need to check the longest main beam measurement. Spread credit can be equal to, but not exceed the length of the longest main beam. If the inside spread is longer than the longest main beam, your spread credit is the length of the longest main beam. Our buck‘s inside spread does not exceed the longest main beam (24-2/8); therefore 20-3/8 is our spread credit.

Your next measurements will be the length of each point “G.” The length of each point is measured along the outer curve starting at the base of the point where it arises from the top of the main beam. There are six points, or tine length measurements on our 14-point buck. The seventh point is the tip of the antler, which is accounted for when measuring the main beams.

Finally, measure the eight circumferences along the main beam “H.” Circumference or mass measurements are taken from these four points along the main beam:

  1. “H-1” (smallest measurement between the burr and the eye guard)
  2. “H-2” (smallest measurement between the eye guard and the second point)
  3. “H-3” (smallest measurement between the second and third points)
  4. “H-4” (smallest measurement between the third and fourth points)

The Tally

Totaling columns one through three, and subtracting column four (symmetry deductions) you will be left with your buck‘s final score. Our sample buck‘s final score is 164-1/8.

Abnormal Points

If your buck has abnormal points, they would be measured and accounted for in this section, and added into column four as deductions. If your buck has enough abnormal points, it may score better as a non-typical. In general, abnormal points are those additional points that do not grow upward from the main beam or points that fork.

Official Scoring

These are the basic instructions for scoring a simple whitetail rack. The Boone and Crockett Club‘s official scoring manual, "Measuring and Scoring North American Big Game Trophies" is a useful reference source for scoring more complicated trophies, as well as all species of big game recognized by the Club‘s records program.

To make the Boone and Crockett Club‘s all-time records book, a typical whitetail will need a final score totaling 170 or more inches -- 195 inches for non-typical. For the club‘s three-year awards book, the minimum entry score is 160 typical -- 185 non-typical. If you have taken a buck that you feel might make the book and you want to enter your trophy, it will need to be scored by an Official Boone & Crockett measurer after the mandatory drying period (60 days from the date of harvest).

For a list of Official B&C measurers in your area, or for more information on the Boone and Crockett Club, scoring, or becoming a B&C associate, visit their website.

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Editor's Note: This was originally published on December 30, 2003.

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