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#5704922 - 04/17/15 12:46 PM field scoring bucks
rattler03 Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/14
Posts: 760
Loc: Richardson - Archer County
I think I have a pretty decent procedure in place when I try to estimate a buck's score from game photos or through the binoculars, but it seems a lot harder than aging a deer for me. I still think age is a much more important thing to use when judging a buck, but I am hoping to get better at field scoring bucks. I am particularly curious how you come up with your mass total and your main beam lengths. Right now I base my beam lengths off of what I think the spread is and then adjust according to the general arc of the beams, and for the mass I just use 26-28" for an average and then adjust that to the buck in question. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, and I'm sure there are a lot of other hunters on here that could benefit from y'alls expertise on this subject.
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My new life is waiting in old Mexico
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#5704942 - 04/17/15 12:54 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
I used to use the sheds I have collected and the bucks killed measurements as a base for scoring off of a the ranch I was hunting. I used 85"-90" in Hill Country bucks and 95-100" as a base score on the frame(mainbeams, mass and spread) on another ranch. The lower end was for mainly 8 pointers and the upper end was for mainframe 5x5 or better bucks. It was just a quick reference to add a buck up if needed. Beams will fall into a average range with most bucks on a place. Now I just shoot what I like if it appeals to me.
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#5705550 - 04/17/15 06:49 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
rattler03 Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/14
Posts: 760
Loc: Richardson - Archer County
Thanks stxranchman, I was hoping that I'd get a response from you. How would you approach scoring bucks on a ranch that you have limited experience hunting? I just got on a new lease this spring in Archer County. Other than my lease last year near Cisco and one 4 day hunt around Ozona, all of my experience has been on two eastern hill country ranches. I am confident that the body size of a mature buck in Archer County is going to be a lot bigger than what I'm used to, antlers will probably be better too I think/hope. Where I've hunted in the past a buck that field dressed over 100 lbs. was considered big, and honestly a 100" deer was a pretty nice buck. I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't know what I'd use as my base score (mass, beams, spread) like you described.
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Walk the night, travel light, cross the Rio Grande
Someone strums a mandolin, soft gulf breezes blow
My new life is waiting in old Mexico
-Robert Earl Keen

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#5705580 - 04/17/15 06:58 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
If you can find sheds that will help. Find out what a mature buck will field dress and that will help a lot. One thing I can say is if a buck is good body size and his antlers look big, then he will be. Stop in a local taxidermist shops in that area to see what people of having mounted. Measure ear length, tip of nose to corner of eye and width across the eyes so you have references to judge by on TC pics this fall. Check local processors starting in the archery season. Look for a mature buck. I would think a mature buck should have 85" to 90" of frame. Using 85" and it a lot more only means the buck will score more. grin Also just shoot what you like, the score will not mean as much if you like the way the buck looks.
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#5705673 - 04/17/15 07:28 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
BowsnRods Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 05/05/08
Posts: 1571
Loc: Bandera County
I utilize stxranchmans method of scoring in the field, becasue thats the way he taught me. It is very accurate and thats how I scored deer for many years while I was guiding. 85/90 frame on a good hill country deer and 90/95 on a south texas. helps judge pretty quick in the field just add up the length of points to your frame.


Edited by BowsnRods (04/17/15 07:34 PM)

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#5705681 - 04/17/15 07:31 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
rattler03 Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/14
Posts: 760
Loc: Richardson - Archer County
I totally agree that a score is only a number and shouldn't be a requirement for an animal to be a trophy. I've never thought that way and never will. Its just fun to try to score bucks and I think very quantitatively so I'm interested in getting better at it. I was thinking of using 85" as a base score, too, so I'll probably start there and see what else I can find out about my area. Thanks, stxranchman, by the way how much rain did you get down there the last two days. Looks like y'all got dumped on.
_________________________
Walk the night, travel light, cross the Rio Grande
Someone strums a mandolin, soft gulf breezes blow
My new life is waiting in old Mexico
-Robert Earl Keen

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#5705705 - 04/17/15 07:38 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
Just make sure you are using that frame base score on mature bucks, 5+. It can vary greatly on younger bucks. Knowing ear length and width will greatly help your field score also.
I have had 15"+ now since March 5th till today and it is still raining. Still have a great chance tonight and tomorrow and chances of rain thru next Friday. Let it rain.
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#5705792 - 04/17/15 08:41 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
rattler03 Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/14
Posts: 760
Loc: Richardson - Archer County
10-4, that base score will be for mature bucks only. 15+ inches in 6 weeks is awesome. That's probably close to the total for the worst recent year, maybe 2011. I remember growing up in San Marcos and getting something like 20" of rain in a 24 hour period which caused the historic October 1998 flood. All that rain washed out of there very quickly, but the rain y'all have been getting lately should have a great impact on vegetation. This could be an awesome year for antlers throughout the state but especially down south.
_________________________
Walk the night, travel light, cross the Rio Grande
Someone strums a mandolin, soft gulf breezes blow
My new life is waiting in old Mexico
-Robert Earl Keen

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#5705817 - 04/17/15 08:57 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
2011 was less than 7" for the year. I had only 9" from May till December then in 2012. This should be a great year with all the rain since October. I got 11 acres of Soybeans and Lab Lab that has been popping out of the ground for the last week now. Supposed to get sunshine on Sunday.
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#5705893 - 04/17/15 09:37 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: stxranchman]
tlk Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 1985
this has been discussed before. I have a friend who is an outstanding hunter and he is able to look at a deer on the hoof and add up the measurements quicky to get a rough score. I tend to go by feel - I can add up inches but I have always just looked at a deer and come up with a score. It comes from decades of looking at bucks in the wild and also observing many deer on tv shows, books, etc. In most cases I can get within 3-5 inches of a measured deer. Neither way is right or wrong - most experienced hunters can mentally measure tines in their heads. I have always just sized up a rack and determine a score without the math
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#5713999 - 04/23/15 08:37 PM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
huntnguide83 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/27/11
Posts: 2159
Loc: Bryan, TX
What I've always used is the eye circumference for a mass reference. A deer eye is approximately 4.5". I estimate its base size then depending on how he carries mass I retain,add, or deduct measurements. Most average deer will loose around 1/2-3/4" per each measurement. I also use a bucks ear length for beam length. Ear length is typically around 5-6". Finding local sheds or having harvest history is a big plus. On our ranches I've also noticed that a buck who's beams extended out to his nose had a beam length in excess of 24/25". This is all again having a history of our deer. Hope some of this may help.
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#5717985 - 04/27/15 08:43 AM Re: field scoring bucks [Re: rattler03]
REALKILLER Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 02/19/15
Posts: 912
The first thing I look at is the body unless the rack is so huge you don't even think about looking at the body. I age the body by the neck, shoulders, back, gut, and head. Normally when a mature buck steps out there is no mistaking him, but I really don't want to ground check a 3 year old. I hear that a 4 year old is at 70 percent of his maximum potential and at that age I try to determine if he is going to be any better or is he a cull buck, or even a freaky non typical that may score high before I make a decision. I would rather kill a 5 year old or up though. Scoring can be tricky if you travel a lot and hunt different species of white tail, because of the body size. Little bodies make antlers look big and big bodies can make a rack look smaller. If you know that the buck is mature by aging the body you can make a better judgment on the rack, so when that buck that your guessing at 4 or older steps out, you wont be so disappointed when you walk up to him after the shot. If he is mature you will have killed a buck that should of at least been at his 70 percent range. I you know the bucks in your area or the average size by taking data you can look at the buck and the antlers and get a close score in about 3 seconds or less. Dont waist too much time watching because in reality they don't sit still. Ultimately if you can get good at aging a deer, you can score them on the hoof with this method and by looking at a lot of deer racks in the area you hunt in.
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