Common Deer-Scoring Mistakes

GON seminar will teach scoring method.

GON Staff | January 26, 2007

A common mistake when scoring a rack is to record the largest circumference measurement they can find between the points instead of the smallest circumference.

These days, hunters throw out terms like G1s and abnormal kicker deducts like everybody knows what they’re talking about. Deer scoring is high interest among hunters in Georgia.

The method accepted and recognized by most is the Boone & Crockett (B&C) method. The Boone & Crockett Club is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt that keeps the North American Big Game Records Program. The Pope & Young (P&Y) Club does the same for bowhunting records, and P&Y uses the same scoring method.

When a GON editor is talking to a hunter about a big buck they have killed, it is very common for the hunter to say that he or a friend has scored the rack. On average, the scores by uncertified measurers tend to be high — often very high.

Official scorer Steve Ruckel, the WRD Game Management Section region supervisor in Albany, said there are several common scoring mistakes.
“The measuring of the beam is one thing that can have the most variation,” Steve said. “Knowing where to start down at the burr and how to lay the line and measure to the tip of the beam is something a lot of people get wrong.”

The beam measurement should be taken from the base and should follow a line along the center of the beam. This is done most easily with a cable — a bicycle brake cable works great — that is laid along the beam’s length, marked with a clip or your finger, and then placed against a ruler to get the measurement.

Another common mistake that can have a 10-inch or more effect on a rack’s score is incorrectly taking the tine-length measurements.
“One thing I see a lot is measuring the tines from the bottom of the beam,” Steve said.

Tines should be measured from where they arise from the top of the beam, not from the bottom or from the middle of the beam. The spot to measure tines from can be marked with a pencil by laying your tape measure along the top of the beam and across the base of the tine.
Of all the mistakes people can make, it is the circumferences that seem to cause the most scoring errors.

“Not taking all four circumferences is common on an 8-pointer,” Steve said.

Circumferences are taken around the main beam between the tines, but on an 8-pointer you don’t have a fourth tine. If it’s an 8-pointer, you get the fourth circumference at the mid-way point between the third point and the tip of the main beam. The other circumference measurements are taken between the points at the smallest measurement you can find — work the tape around until you find the smallest circumference. Many unofficial scores we see record the largest circumference instead of the smallest.
The mistakes that Steve mentioned occur on typical racks that are straightforward and not complicated.

“If you get a non-typical rack, that’s when someone can really get lost and make some mistakes,” Steve said. “You get into some abnormal points or rack structures that take you to a different level.”

GON’s County-by-County records require an official score, but it’s also fun to score your own racks. Cutting out the most-common scoring mistakes will bring any “backyard” score much closer to accurate.

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