Know-How: How Big is That Summer Buck, Really?

by
posted on July 22, 2017
summer_bucks_f.jpg

You see a buck, antlers slathered in velvet, across a field on a humid late-summer evening and think it looks staggeringly big. But the velvet, the buck’s skinny summer neck and the warm glow of light can lead to gross exaggeration in your mind.

When field-judging a buck’s score on the Boone and Crockett scale, you need to calm down and look closely at specifics: the length of the tines, the inside spread of the main beams, the circumference (mass) of the beams at four locations and the length of the beams. It helps to practice by judging mounted heads; come to an approximate score then compare your estimate to the known score to gauge your accuracy.

Here are four ways to quickly judge a buck’s real proportions. These work anytime; just remember velvet can add the appearance of extra length and mass that will be gone come fall.

The average whitetail buck, when its ears are alert, has an ear tip-to-tip spread of about 16 inches. If its beams are just outside its perked ears, the inside spread of its antlers is around 18 inches.

A buck’s ears typically measure about 6 inches from base to tip. If you see the side of a buck’s rack or are looking at the buck from an angle, visualize this 6-inch increment and use it to judge the length of the brow tines and other points.

The circumference of a buck’s eye averages about 4 inches; use this to judge mass. A heavy-racked buck carries mass that appears to be wider than its eye. Judge the circumference of the main beam between the antler base and the brow tine, and between each point up to the third and fourth (mass beyond the fourth tine doesn’t count toward score). Velvet surrounding the antlers can make mass appear to be much greater than it is, so you’ll have to make some mental deductions.

The distance from the center of a mature buck’s eye to the end of its nose is around 8 inches. When viewing a rack’s profile from the side, this measurement can help you judge beam length. A rack that extends beyond a buck’s nose has very long main beams.

Latest

S&W 350 Lifestyle
S&W 350 Lifestyle

Smith & Wesson Introduces Model 350

Smith & Wesson has introduced the Model 350, the company's first production revolver chambered in the powerful straight-walled 350 Legend.

Members' Best 2022

Be it a bucket list hunt in a land of giants, an anniversary escape with a loved one, a quick scouting trip turned big-buck showdown or the culmination of a trophy slam, American Hunter readers searched for and found opportunity near and far this past year.

First Look: Buck Bourbon Rack House Blind

Veil Camo has announced the integration of its Wideland Camo pattern with the new Buck Bourbon Rack House 300+ One Way Mesh hunting blind.

First Look: Canvas Cutter Dominator 2.0 Bedroll

The Dominator 2.0 Bedroll is Canvas Cutter’s flagship outdoors sleep solution, designed for any backpacking, hunting, fishing, or camping adventure.

Florida Expands Gator-Hunting Hours and Equipment

Gargantuan gators beware! Florida's 2022 hunting season started on Monday, 8/15 with brand new rules regarding hunting hours and acceptable equipment.

First Look: Alps OutdoorZ Elite Backcountry Pack System

Alps OutdoorZ has announced a new frame and pack system developed for backcountry hunters: the ultralight, modular Elite frame and pack bags.

Interests



Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.