If you can’t be in the woods on a cold, snowy evening, you might as well be doing something to improve your deer hunting skill sets and tonight I happen to be working on my field scoring abilities. How do I do that you ask? Typically it’s been by watching various DVDs or TV programs and making guesstimates on the age and score of various bucks. Some of my favorites, like the Monster Bucks DVDs, actually tell you the score after a kill is made. As I think I’ve mentioned on here before, it can be a lot of fun to watch these videos with your buddies and make a little competition out of guessing the closest score.
But tonight I discovered another fun way to improve your field judging skills and it is an online game that you can find on FieldScoreWhitetails.com. On this site you essentially are shown images of bucks and then submit your field score before the timer runs out on each pic. Immediately after you submit your score, it will show you the actual score of the buck and how far off you were. You can actually compete to win prizes and the system will keep track of your “score” and average margin of error across all of the bucks you field judge. It’s free to play, definitely a good time and a great way to stay sharp on your field judging abilities. Check it out here FieldScoreWhitetails.com .
When it comes to “field scoring” a whitetail, otherwise known as guessing a buck’s antler score, you can take some simple steps to make a close guess. I’ve heard a variety of different methods for doing this, but the folks on FieldScoreWhitetails.com wrote up a real nice method and I thought it was worth sharing. Check out these great tips below…
“For quickly estimating a deer’s gross score in the field, the most effective method we have found is to add up the score on one antler, double it and then add the inside spread.*
- Beam length – For an example of estimating the length of the main beam, an average 130 class buck would have roughly 20 to 21 inches of main beam length. Bucks in the 140 class could be expected to have 22 to 23 inch beams and a 150 class will probably have 24 plus inch beams. Use the profile of the deer to make this estimate. When the beams extend past the tip of the nose, he has a 23″+ main beam.
- Mass measurements – you get four circumference measurements per side. The first is taken between the burr and the brow tine, the second is taken between G1 and G2, the 3rd is taken is taken between G2 and G3, and the 4th Between the G3 and G4.An 8pt with average mass, I would give 14 inches per side. A 10 pt. 150 class deer I would give 16 inches per side as an average mass measurement etc. Know the average mass for a mature deer in the area you are hunting and use that as a rule of thumb.
- Tine length – Tine length is measured from the main beam to the tip of the tine. Each tine measuring over 1” counts toward the gross score. Multiple long tines will add up quickly on a deer’s score.
- Inside spread – inside spread is measured at the widest point between the 2 main beams on the inside edge of each beam. A good tool for measuring this is to know that a deer’s ears measure about 16 inches from tip to tip when they are forward or he is “alert”.
Formula: beam length + 4 total circumferences measurements + total tine length = antler score for one side
Antler Score x 2 + inside spread = total gross BC Score
* This method was developed by outdoor writer and whitetail biologist David Morris and is covered in length in his book Hunting Trophy Whitetails available at Venture Press.” – FieldScoreWhitetails.com