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Antlers and Inches

21 Nov 2016
@ 03:26 pm (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Good Day Everyone,
When I was growing up in Whitetail Deer country (you know, back in the good ole days) I would hear hunters talk about an eight point buck, a ten point buck, a big eight point, etc. Now it's all inches - "I've got a 160 inch class ten point on my game cams that I'm holding out for..." The whole thing is a little irritating to me but who am I to say one way is better or worse? There are usually pros and cons to all trends.

Do you guys in other parts of the world see the same sort of things with other game animals? If so what are the benchmarks you hear talked about? For example I hear guys say that their life's dream is to kill a 200 inch whitetail. What are the trends in your neck of the woods?

Replies

25 Nov 2016
@ 09:36 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Antlers and Inches
Hi Joshua
i'm no expert as im not a trophy hunter but ill try my best and hopefully someone will correct me where im wrong

red, sika and fallow are mainly done in points
thar, chamois, goats and pigs are done in inches
elk/wapiti i think is points with a spread in inches?

we have a system for scoring here called the douglas score. each species have its own specific measurement but its based on measuring length and girth of the antlers and then calculating it from there.
you can look it up.

there is no douglas score for undrawn pig tusk so there is a separate system for this but it works on similar principals
26 Nov 2016
@ 04:00 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Antlers and Inches
Hello,Joshua. I think it depends on who you travel with or read. The people I hunt with usually use inches , but that is for moose and bears. I do know some deer hunters and typically they use point count, unless it is a "book" specimen. Then they will relate the actual scoring, which to me would be the same as describing it in Swahili. Personally, I prefer to relate in age of animal.

Some examples: my nephew shot a 57" bull moose (no mention of how many points), I shot a 5 year old sow black bear (lots of pepperoni); most mulies are "four pointers", elk are "six pointers"; my other nephew shot a "two point" moose. There is a local term for an immature (two-point) bull moose that is quite common. They are known as "unicorns".

Most of these descriptions are the antler configurations required by regulation during their specific seasons.



23 Dec 2016
@ 06:27 pm (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Antlers and Inches
Many of the hunters in my area are older guys, people that started hunting in the 50's through the 80's. For whitetail deer, all of them seem to use a combination of antler point counts (total points, as in "I shot an 8-pointer", not "I shot a 4x4") and the greatest spread. They probably use these standards because almost nobody back then (at least around here) was familiar with the B&C scoring system. Most hunters around here started doing it to feed their families, not to pursue large trophy deer, so they likely didn't care much about it.

I use the inch system, typical or non-typical, and point counts to describe antlers. For example, I will tell people that my biggest deer shot was a 150" typical 10-pointer, 20" spread. As for the size of the animal itself, I just use my best guess at age and the weight after field dressing, saying something like "it was a four to five year old deer and weighed 205lbs after it was gutted."

I just find the B&C system to be a much more accurate representation of the size of the animal's antlers, though it does take a fair amount of studying to be able to make a decently accurate guess as to an animal's score in inches. For a simple example of why it's more accurate than just saying 8-pointer, my uncle shot a 9-point buck this year and I shot an 8-point buck. My 8-pointer was significantly larger than his nine, so just using point counts can be misrepresentative of the size.
27 Dec 2016
@ 04:13 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Antlers and Inches
I use a bastardized version of the B&C system. The original B&C system works fine, except that you must deduct points for non-symmetrical features as it was designed to award for symmetry.
I just use their method to measure the beam, tines, diameter and spread without deducting anything. That way you get simple total inches of bone without taking away from interesting and unique things like drop tines, stickers and other features that make all racks unique and interesting. Of course this only works for me and anybody else that does the same thing, but then again I'm not expecting to enter anything in "the book". It also makes your deer or elk sound bigger :)
31 Dec 2016
@ 03:24 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Antlers and Inches
Earlier this week, I had a conversation with a hunting partner, describing successful hunts of the past. It wasn't until I was re-reading this thread that it dawned on me how we had been describing the animals. It was by weight, at the butchers. Apparently, we don't really care how many points the animal scores. The descriptions used were comments like "a big bull", in reference to a mature bull moose when taken under the Limited Entry Authorization; another was "a bull (or cow) elk", with the understanding that it was a 6-point due to antler restrictions in our area, or in the antlerless season. What questions and comments were always made were "how big?", and the answers were in pounds, "680# on the hook" or "320# in the freezer". I guess we are more interested in how long we eat like kings.
03 Jan 2017
@ 02:42 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Antlers and Inches
Paul -
By this am I to understand that you would pass up a 7x7 "400 inch" bull standing next to a run of the mill 5x5 with a bit bigger body?

Just checking.......:)
03 Jan 2017
@ 07:00 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Antlers and Inches
I regularly pass up big stags & shoot a yearling for the freezer, unless asked to I'd rather let them grow. I love to see a big wild Stag in the bush. Let him breed..
03 Jan 2017
@ 07:37 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Antlers and Inches
Yeah conservative hunting. Managing your foods use by date isn't always done with stickers ......... Food before glory any day.
03 Jan 2017
@ 08:02 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Antlers and Inches
Food and "glory"

I guess for me, (and for what I am most reasonably allowed to do) if I wanted to go out and tip over some meat (in the case say, of a white tail deer) it would not take long. I am allowed one tag per year (unless I bow hunt). Antlers are just a way of making it harder and making it last longer. In the case of other critters, just getting a tag to hunt can be difficult - on the far end of the spectrum they don't call bighorn ram tags the tag of a lifetime for nothing. So if I ever get one, I'm going to try to hunt the longest time possible and that generally means passing up the little guys. In addition, often the really oldest/largest racked specimens are also often the ones that are on their way out and have already spread their genes. My largest white tail buck had teeth worn below the gum line - he would not have made the winter. That buck made "the book" but I did not and would not enter such a contest. Far too much money/ego has entered the record book game and ethics are stretched to the limit and then some.

Its a weird concept to try and justify, but in the end everybody that eats kills things and has to make their own peace with what they do. I can't eat horns, but I can eat what carries them around. And I can look at the antlers for years to come and remember long after the meat is gone.
03 Jan 2017
@ 10:09 pm (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Antlers and Inches
Thomas, I had not heard of the Douglas system before. I looked it up - interesting. Thanks for the info.

I am a competitive person by nature. I was fortunate as a teenager to watch a guy who was dating my sister at the time make a real jackass of himself in public by not being able to control his competitiveness. It got me thinking about my own ability or (at the time) lack thereof to control my own. It didn't happen overnight but that incident led to a lot of reflection on my part of what things I should and should not allow myself to approach competitively. And I realized that hunting offered me opportunity for an unhealthy brand of competition. For me, competing against other hunters is a path I've no interest in pursuing. If there's a competition in my hunting anymore the competitor is myself.

I get as excited as the next guy over an animal with a set of trophy antlers or horns. But I have three coequal primary concerns in my approach to hunting. They are hunting well (subjective, I know), killing cleanly, and killing usefully. So for me a 200+ pound doe from our farm in Illinois is a better kill because of the meat harvest than a 130 pound 10 point buck from Texas. But sometimes you can have both.

The novelty aspect plays a role as well. While I have harvested dozens of whitetail deer and am fortunate to have access to land where I should be able to harvest more in the future I have never had a chance to hunt moose, bighorns, or lots of other game and the novelty of such a hunt, if I get to make one, would have its own impact on my outlook and considerations.

I'm rambling, but I like what Mark said - "Its a weird concept to try and justify, but in the end everybody that eats kills things and has to make their own peace with what they do." I do know that for me I've come a long way toward being able to respect a lot of different approaches to hunting even though some of them will never fit me. When I was 18 I was bothered by everyone who didn't approach things the way I did. Now fewer things trouble me. But I am troubled by hunters whose value of a hunt is in comparing inches of horn or antler as though they're comparing biceps.
04 Jan 2017
@ 02:30 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Antlers and Inches
Mark - not really sure what a "7X7 400 inch" bull is. If you are talking elk, the 7x7 goes down (hopefully) as we can't shoot 5x5's (minimum is 6 points, one side). Don't know if it would be a "400 inch" as I don't have a clue what to look for. I've heard some guys say our elk are bigger than most, but I've seen some pretty massive elk, and ours don't compare. All I look for is a point count that goes something like this: four..FIVE SIX!
04 Jan 2017
@ 03:23 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Antlers and Inches
Paul -
Good for you, I guess, in not knowing what I refer to. Its a bull elk 7 points to a side that scores "400 inches". It would be a lifetime bull for anybody I personally know (I seriously doubt one will ever grace my wall). I guess my point was would you pass up such a creature to shoot (in your case) a perhaps younger bull with a larger body and smaller 6x6 antlers?

As an addendum to my last post - the last couple of years I have sometimes wondered if maybe I had harvested enough nice white tail bucks for one lifetime - how many does anyone "need". But when I spend a below zero day sitting in one spot I'm still pretty keenly dialed in to an ever bigger one. Maybe its just a matter of time and evolving? Or, wising up to sitting still in one spot all day when its -10?
04 Jan 2017
@ 04:11 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Antlers and Inches
Mark, I'm thinking that if there were two such bulls, standing side by side, and both presented the ideal shot, like pretty well everyone else, I would take the big one. But, there are still some other considerations. How far do I have to pack this critter? If there is a difference of body weight where it would take an extra trip or two through rough terrain, there would be some hesitation. Most of our hunting is on the river, so with the boat available it would be a no-brainer. When it comes down to harvesting an animal, for us anyway, it's not a matter of score or size, it's "Is it legal?" If the answer is yes, it's taken. There may be a huge, higher scoring buck/bull right around the corner or just inside the treeline, but that one isn't in the scope. I've been on too many hunts where someone says they are holding out for a given size animal and they go home with nothing. But that's their call, and I respect it. As most hunters know, there are no guarantees that you will even see a legal animal in any given season, so I will take the first one presented to me.
 

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