“Great Deer, but it isn’t 150 Inches”; How to Score a Whitetail
The time of year is upon us, when social media posts of bucks are popping up on our news feed. Countless people are harvesting great deer, they are proud of their trophy and are putting them on display for the world to see. This is what makes this sport great, generally everyone is proud of you for your harvest. You have put in countless hours of effort, practiced all summer long, scouted, hung stands, planted food plots, and developed game plans. Ultimately, you have won the battle of the fall.
But there is one thing that will bring you down from your high faster than it started, and that is the comment, “Great Deer, but it isn’t 150 inches” followed by a subsequent post of their deer that they in “fact” know is 150 inches. These discussions always get heated, and someone says something in anger. So, to save any unwanted negative feedback, we are going to discuss scoring of a buck with the Pope and Young standards. I have also attached a link to the score sheets.
To complete the unofficial scoring of a whitetail, one needs to follow the instructions on the bottom of the sheet completely. The math is simple, and the measuring instructions are straight forward. They even provide a spread sheet on the top of the page to keep your measurements organized and separate from each other.
Once the measurements are made, add the columns together and transfer the corresponding column letter into the next sheets left most column. Add and deduct according to the instructions. Bingo, you have unofficially scored a deer. If it is over the minimum requirements for a whitetail (125 inches), you will need to wait the mandatory 60 day drying time. After the drying period is completed take the trophy to be scored at the nearest scoring center. If it is not over the minimum, hold you head high and be proud of your harvest. Many people go without harvesting a deer and you need to be proud that you have killed one.
Now to touch back on the issue of being called out on deer size. This is entirely in the hunter/huntress’s hand. Making it into the Pope and Young record book is an honor that many hunters/huntresses have. It is a way to honor their trophy and themselves for the hard work that that have put in to harvest this animal. There are hard feelings for someone that will arbitrarily call their buck a record book buck, when it clearly is not. This is where the conflict arises. There is no faster way to discourage and lose respect from fellow hunters/huntresses by falsely scoring a deer.
On the other end of the spectrum, you should not be ashamed for harvesting a deer that you chose to take. Regardless if the deer is 25 inches or 200+ inches. The deer at the time was a trophy to you. There is no need to lie about size, mass, gross or net scores. You have conquered your goal of being successful in the hunting woods, and you should be proud. And remember, just because your trophy didn’t make the books this time doesn’t mean you will never get in. Use antler size of a deer as a goal, and you too will one day see your name in the book.
Get out there and share your pictures, stories, and goals will all the sportsman/woman you can. They will support you and your harvest. But the biggest thing is to be satisfied with your harvest. If you want to put the score in the post, GREAT! But take the time to measure the buck or be ready for an attack. Challenge yourself to be better every day, and the trophies will increase with the effort put in.
Remember, having the desire to become successful in hunting, takes a mindset change and that is the hardest part in this endeavor. We can help you with changing this mindset, and once you have changed you will appreciate the hunt more, and start understanding what being a sportsman/woman is all about. Remember our mission is to redefine tradition. Challenge traditional thinking and push others to do the same. We must dedicate ourselves to hone in on our primal instincts and combine them with new methodologies and technologies to truly master evolution.