- Lynn Burkhead
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"What does he score?"
Deer hunters across North America will ask that question as much as any other this autumn.
And with good reason — saying that a hunter has shot a 10-point doesn't tell anyone around the campfire just how good of a 10-point buck has been tagged.
But saying "I shot a 125 class 10-point" or "I shot a 170 class 10-point" gives a good mental image of just how big a buck truly is.
So what's in a scoring number when it comes to scoring whitetail deer?
First, to be scored by an official measurer of the Boone & Crockett Club or the Pope & Young Club (for archery hunters), a trophy has to have gone through a 60-day drying period.
Then, for typical whitetails, the scoring procedure involves obtaining the measurements in inches and eighths of an inch of the deer's main beams; the various tine lengths (G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, etc.); the four circumference measurements (H-1, H-2, H-3, and H-4) on each side; and finally, the inside spread.
Add those numbers up and a gross score is obtained.
Once a gross score has been determined, it's time to subtract symmetry deductions (the measured differences between the left and right main beam lengths; the differences between the various side-to-side tine measurement lengths; and the differences of the side-to-side circumference measurement lengths).
Those symmetry differences are then added up and that total is subtracted from the gross score.
If any abnormal points exist on the antlers, their measurements are also added up on each side and then that cumulative figure is deducted from a typical buck's gross score.
Once all of that math work has been done, a whitetail buck has an official 60-day net score.
The procedure is basically the same for measuring a non-typical whitetail with the exception being that abnormal point length measurements are added to the final net score, not subtracted from it.
Symmetry differences are still deducted from a non-typical buck's score however.
Once a net score has been obtained, it's time to see if the trophy buck qualifies for the Boone & Crockett Club's official records — a typical buck must net score 170 0/8 inches and a non-typical must net score 195 0/8 inches to make the hallowed "B&C Book."
For bowhunters, whitetail deer minimum entry net scores are 125 0/8 inches for typical bucks and 155 0/8 inches for non-typical bucks to make the Pope & Young Club's archery record book.