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Visual guides/references for estimating antler size

Westdesign03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
481
I was poking around online and found what look like some good charts visually estimating deer age. Pretty cool. Didn’t really see anything for visually estimating antler size. Does anyone know of any decent visual guides around that show you how to roughly estimate what antler class a buck might be in? Such as 130” class, 140-150” class, this kind of thing. I understand it can probably get in the weeds with typical vs non typical, if the deer has a bunch of kickers and points going everywhere, etc.

I know antler size is not everything but I get excited about the size of a good rack just like the rest of us. Would be cool to sharpen up the skill of estimating a rack size from a distance especially for us less experienced hunters, just to get a general idea of what you’re looking at.


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shwacker

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Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
754
Learn how to score deer first of all. Then score several, Any you can get your hands on, your own or others’ deer. Then you can just look at a buck, width, mass, approx tine lengths, and do a quick calc on it. Also review a lot of pics on online forums and make a guess before you read further and see what he actually scored.


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Allegheny Tom

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SH Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2018
Messages
3,345
Location
Western Pennsylvania
I don't believe that there are very many hunters that can get closer than 8"-10" with just a single encounter. Even bucks that I know can be a challenge to judge. Some days/angle/lighting they look entirely different than the last time I saw him. Multiple sightings and multiple pics help towards being accurate.

I've been hit and miss with judging on the hoof. I once had a neighborhood buck that I estimated at 140". I eventually got to score it and I came up with 140 1/8". Not bad. But I've also been off by 10" on a few others.

A 10 point has 19 measurements. Being off by only a half inch on each one can really effect your estimate.
Length measurements are the biggest factor, mass is 2nd and spread is 3rd.
Beam length can be a challenge. Spread and mass are easier. For mass, I like to compare the base to the eyeball. Spread is fairly easy...a mature buck's tip to tip ears spread is about 16 or 17 inches. Tine length can be compared to ear length.

I like to put them in classes...shooter or not a shooter, then score it when I have the rack in my hands.
 
Last edited:

131north

New Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
35
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
I saw something like that - it attached to your sight and gave you an age estimate based off chest size. Probably could figure out how to mark some reference points based on what you were aiming for antler-wise(no pun intended)
 

BOWHUNTER14

Active Member
SH Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2019
Messages
145
Location
Southwest MO
You are better off judging a deers age off of its body than its antler size. Genetics and food play a huge factor on antler size. But the body will always show the same size with age.
 

Blinginpse

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2015
Messages
1,328
Learn to judge deer.... but as quick factors size of their eyes can give you a idea on mass. Also ear size can give you not only width but also tine length

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Nutterbuster

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2017
Messages
5,720
Location
Where the skys are so blue!
I don't believe that there are very many hunters that can get closer than 8"-10" with just a single encounter. Even bucks that I know can be a challenge to judge. Some days/angle/lighting they look entirely different than the last time I saw him. Multiple sightings and multiple pics help towards being accurate.

I've been hit and miss with judging on the hoof. I once had a neighborhood buck that I estimated at 140". I eventually got to score it and I came up with 140 1/8". Not bad. But I've also been off by 10" on a few others.

A 10 point has 19 measurements. Being off by only a half inch on each one can really effect your estimate.
Length measurements are the biggest factor, mass is 2nd and spread is 3rd.
Beam length can be a challenge. Spread and mass are easier. For mass, I like to compare the base to the eyeball. Spread is fairly easy...a mature buck's tip to tip ears spread is about 16 or 17 inches. Tine length can be compared to ear length.

I like to put them in classes...shooter or not a shooter, then score it when I have the rack in my hands.
I have never given a dried fig for measurements. That changed on the SOA hunt last year, where they told me in no uncertain terms that if I messed up and shot a baby I was banned from the drawings for life and would be kicked out of the hunt.

Minimum requirements were an 18" inside spread or a 20" main beam, I believe. Maybe vice-versa? Basically a 4yo deer or better. The biologist stressed that I was looking for either a main beam 3 times the length of the ear, or antlers spread wide enough to put his alert ears INSIDE the rack.

The buck I shot barely made each criteria, and was kinda shrugged off by the state guys.
Screenshot_20200630-013409_Facebook.jpg
The one my dad got was impressive enough by their standards to go on the state website.
Screenshot_20200630-013434_Facebook.jpg

All that to say, I definitely believe in using ears as measuring tools. I will shoot every buck I see that goes outside the ears and/or has a main beam 3x the length of his ear. The first measurement is much easier to ascertain if you have the right angle, in my opinion, but the second is probably more reliable overall. Many of the deer from the area we hunted were high and tight racks.

No idea what our deer scored, but they were both aged by the biologist at 4.5 years. I call it a win. I'm not smart enough to do the math on inches, but general rule-of-thunb guidelines like the biologist gave us will be something I bear in mind in the future. Although honestly, i made the call to shoot based off the deer's body shape and the way he carried himself. He was way more beef steer than goat, ya know?
 
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