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For the less experienced hunter, knowing exactly how many points a deer is worth or how valuable it may be on the market is extremely challenging to judge when out in the field. Relying on sight alone is never an effective way to do so, but knowing what to look for can help tremendously, and properly measuring your trophy afterwards will provide you with the most accurate score.

The Boone & Crockett Club developed the first scoring system back in 1949, and it is still widely used today. Some of the general guidelines to follow include the following:

  • Always measure a deer and its rack with with a reliable steel cable or steel measuring tape
  • Measure as close to exact as you again, using fractional figures and rounding to the nearest eighth or one-sixteenth if possible

First, begin measuring from the lowest point of the deer’s antlers (the base, also known as the “burr”), stretching the cable to the most distant part of the antler’s tip. With the help of a partner, write down exactly how long the cable stretches to the nearest centimeter. The length of the main beams are an important aspect in the final score of a deer’s rack.

Antlers have four circumference measurements. To start, begin measuring from the smallest point on the burr to the first point, repeating this until all four circumferences have been recorded. There can be an occurrence in which some points may be missing, like when an 8-point deer has been retrieved, for example. These deer do not have a fourth point due to their smaller size. To properly score their antlers, measure from the main beam up to the halfway point of the third point.

The “spread credit” is the largest distance from either side of the rack, or the widest point between each beam. This can account for some of the most points depending on the size of your target.

Abnormal or atypical points are also worth noting, as these can account for a loss of points if there are several on the rack. These are defined as smaller points located in odd positions, or ones that grow away from the traditional shape of the rack. With that said, symmetry can also play a role in scoring, with more symmetrical antlers being scored higher than those that may be asymmetrical.

Once you’ve tallied up all your points, add up all of the aforementioned stats (subtracting any abnormal points based on their total lengths), subtract the total difference between each distance of the right and left burrs and main points, and the total difference of the four circumference measurements.

Scoring a deer’s rack can be time consuming and somewhat confusing, but once you’ve learned the basics, you can begin to perfect the art with time. For additional help, check out the Boone & Crickett measurer here!