How to Measure Mule Deer Horns


The official scoring of mule deer horns is done by the Boone and Crockett Club for deer taken with a firearm and the Pope and Young Club for deer taken by archery. To be considered for the record books, the horns will have to be officially scored. However, you can give the horns a "green" rough score at home to see if your horns meet the minimum score to be considered.

The mule deer minimum score for Boone and Crockett is 180 points for an "Award" and 190 points for the "All Time" record. The Pope and Young minimum is 145 points. All measurements are made to the nearest 1/8th inch. Green score check sheets can be found online at both clubs' websites.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/4-inch flexible, steel tape measure
  • Scoring sheet
  • Count the number of points, or antler tines, on each antler. A point must be at least 1 inch long to count.

  • Measure the various spreads between the two antlers, using the 1/4-inch flexible, steel tape measure. Take the measurements between the tips of the inner-most tines, between the two outer-most edges of the full horns and between the widest inner-most edges of the full horns. Write these measurements on the scoring sheet.

  • Measure the lengths of all "abnormal" tines. "Normal" tines are those that fork on the end of the main horn beam and the lower fork that comes off of the main beam. Any tines that grow out of the antlers that are not part of the normal forked tines are considered abnormal. All abnormal tines are measured from the tip of the point straight down the tine to the beam it grows off of.

  • Measure the main beam from the antler burr -- the rough base of the horn against the skull -- along the horn, curving up along the first and lowest tine. Repeat this for the opposite horn.

  • Measure the lengths of the normal tines. Measure each normal tine, starting at the base of the tine where it joins the beam, up to the tip of the point. Measure over the outer curve of the tine. Repeat this for the opposite horn.

  • Take the circumference measurements. Measure around the horn at the narrowest spots: between the antler burr and the brow tine, or the small point just above the burr; between the burr and the first lower antler fork; on the beam between the first lower fork and the upper fork; and on the lower fork itself between the beam and the fork at its end.

  • Add all of these measurements together to see if you meet the minimum score. If your horns meet the score, you will have to let them dry for 60 days and then have an official scoring done on them. The clubs can give you the names of official scorers. Be aware that the drying process will shrink the horns a bit all around.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a soft measuring tape that bends easily, as a stiffer tape will buckle and not give a true measurement. Having a helper hold one end of the tape will make the job easier and more accurate.
  • Having the score sheets will make the job easier, as they have illustrations showing how to measure, and they contain a place to record your measurements.


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