More and more hunters are interested in how to measure and "officially
score" their deer racks. Whitetail antlers in most places are gradually getting
bigger and bigger, especially with the advent of quality deer management, and
more now than ever qualify for the recordbooks.
The main recordbooks are Boone and Crockett and Pope & Young.
B&C was the first, starting over a century ago, and is the main club for
rifle hunters, but allows entries taken by all legal means. It has higher
minimum scores than P&Y, which was started about 50-plus years ago for
bowhunters. Both use similar scoring procedures.
Essentially, what you do to score a rack is measure the beams, points, and
circumference of the beams between the points, add those measurements to the
inside spread measurement, and subtract some abnormalities to get your score.
There are also some other measurements taken for the record, but not added into
the score. Measurements must be made with a flexible steel tape or steel cable
and recorded to the nearest 1/8-inch.
Here then is a quick summary on how it's done. As an example, I will use
P&Y's directions for scoring a typical whitetail. Refer to the
A. Number of Points on each antler. To be counted a point, a projection must
be at least 1-inch long AND, at some location at least 1-inch from the tip, the
length of the projection must exceed its width. Beam tip is counted as a point,
but not measured as a point.
B. Tip to Tip Spread is measured between tips of main beams.
C. Greatest Spread is measured between perpendiculars at a right angle to
the center line of the skull at widest part whether across main beams or
D. Inside Spread of Main Beam is measured at a right angle to the center
line of the skull at widest point between main beams. Enter this measurement
again in "Spread Credit" column if it is less than or equal to the length of
longer main beam. If greater, enter longer main beam length for Spread Credit.
E. Total of Length of Abnormal Points. Abnormal points are generally
considered to be those non-typical in location (such as points originating from
a point or from bottom or sides of main beam). Sketch all abnormal points on
antler illustration (front of form) showing location and length. Measure in
usual manner and enter in appropriate blanks.
F. Length of Main Beam is measured from the center of the lowest outside
edge of burr over outer curve to the most distant point of the main beam. Begin
measuring at the location on the burr where the center line along the outer
curve of the beam intersects the burr.
G-1-2-3-4-5-6-7. Length of Normal Points. Normal points project from the top
of the main beam as shown in illustration. They are measured from the top edge
of the main beam (baseline), over their outer curve, to their tip. To establish
the appropriate baseline, lay a tape or (preferably) a cable on the top edge of
the beam on each side of the point and draw a line under the cable to reflect
the top edge of the beam as if the point was not present. Record point lengths
in appropriate blanks.
H-1-2-3-4. Circumferences. Circumferences are taken at the smallest place
between corresponding normal points, as illustrated. If first point is missing,
take H-1 and H-2 at the smallest place between burr and second point. If G-4 is
missing, take H-4 halfway between the center of G-3 and tip of main beam.
Refer to the chart for how to calculate totals -- check the websites below for more specifics.
The minimum score for a "typical" whitetail to qualify for P&Y is 125,
while for B&C it is 170. There is also a category called "non-typical,"
designed for deer racks that are more abnormal. Essentially, the difference
between the categories is that in "non-typical," abnormalities are not all
For more information, including downloadable scoring sheets and where to find "official scorers,: check out the P&Y and B&C websites listed below:
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Mike Strandlund is the late editor of Bowhunting World Magazine and bowhuntingworld.com, and is a member of the National Bowhunters Hall of Fame. We continue to run his insights into bowhunting to help others, which Mike would have loved.