April 8, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

While it may seem like an odd time to be discussing this, an unexpected surprise over the weekend had me curious about scoring deer antlers. Since Iíve only harvested one ďtrophyĒ buck in my life, Iím not yet familiar with how the experts score the horns. To be honest, my buck, while a nice 10-pointer, probably wouldnít score as well as Iíd like him too, so Iíve never really had any incentive to learn about the points system.

Well, that all changed late Saturday afternoon while I was fishing of all things. No, Iím not a poacher and no I didnít snag the worldís first underwater buck. As I was moving from one pond to the next I just happened to spy something catch the sun on top of one of the diversions in the bean field. I was driving my truck and it was pretty far away, but I was pretty sure I had spotted a shed.

Considering how far away I was, I became a bit excited by the idea of a rack large enough to be seen from that distance. I slammed the pickup into park and started out across the field. I figured it was some plastic or something else. As I got closer it was obvious that it was a deer antler, a rather large one at that. I could not believe my luck, but wait, it got better. As I crested the side of the diversion I noticed the second side of the rack lying just on the other side of the ridge, not more than five feet away.

I grabbed up the two sides of a massive nine-point buck. He had five perfect points on the left side but only four points on the right. It is a beautiful rack, without any real blemishes. The right side has not lost a point, nor does it show any sign of a break, itís just ďmissingĒ that 10th point.

Obviously with sheds, itís hard to appreciate any width or spread on the rack itself, but the mass on this set of horns is what makes it nice.

This was too good to be true. I knew my father-in-law had been spreading lime earlier in the week, maybe he had found them and set them aside. But why wouldnít he have just put them in the tractor and hauled them back to the house.

Then I wondered if maybe the dogs had dragged one of his racks out of the garden and taken off for a burial run. That didnít make much sense either. They have a bunch of nice racks and sheds that are used in landscaping in the garden and flowers around the house, but I didnít remember ever seeing these before. Besides, why would the dogs take them all this way and just leave them in the middle of the field?

Still I wasnít sure about my find. I figured Iíd play it safe and not rush into the house and show off my find. I asked if someone was playing a late April Foolís joke on me, but if they were, no one confessed.

When I announced where I found the sheds, the stories started flowing about seeing this deer during the season. He had been in the sights of the master hunter, but had been spared because he was short just one point. Letís just say if he had walked in front of this apprentice hunter, Iíd have a much nicer deer hanging in my living room. For now, Iíll just have to settle for the sheds.

While itís not really my trophy, it still sparked my interest in the scoring system. Little did I know that Boone and Crockett actually has a scoring program on its website at www.boone-crockett.org. All you have to do is follow the directions, measure the rack and it will calculate your score and even give you a tally sheet to print out. While itís obviously not official, it gives guys like me an idea of what they have.

I must admit I wasnít really up on the G-3ís and G-4ís and all the jargon, but the instructions are pretty clear. Before the deductions my rack scored roughly 155. Thatís with plenty of guesswork as far as the spread and inside measures since these were sheds and not an intact rack.

Iím obviously no expert, and donít really know what 150 points means. It takes a 160-class deer to earn a B&C award. Someone told me the deer I had mounted this year, a 10-pointer, was a 140-class deer. The only thing I can say, either Iím not very good at scoring or maybe I have a 120-class deer on the wall, because right now Iím looking for some super glue to stick these two sheds on that mount.

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