Core Stories

#MeasureItMonday with Boone and Crockett

Evaluating Big Game

Evaluating game in the field is a conservation ethic that dates back over a century when it was imperative for wildlife recovery and a sustainable harvest to only take mature male animals. Since then, it has become a skill among big game hunters, not unlike precision shooting with firearms and bows. While judging a big game animal in the field is a skill that comes from experience, the next best way to gain this knowledge is through photographs.

There are visual clues such as body size, coloration, stature, attitude, and movements you can use to judge the age and maturity of a animal that will help determine if it should be harvested. But for this exercise, we will be using the Boone and Crockett score to calculate trophy quality of an animal's horns or antlers to help guide that decision.

Join us on Instagram and Facebook every Monday for your chance to guess the Boone and Crockett score of a different species and win a limited-edited Leupold Core hat.



All-time minimum: 170
Awards Book minimum: 160

All four subspecies of North American mountain sheep are scored the same under Boone and Crockett’s system. The final score is the sum total of measurements of the length of each horn and four mass, or circumference measurements per horn, less deductions for symmetry.

Length of Horn: The lower curve of the horn of a trophy-quality ram will always drop below the line of the chin. If the bottom of the curl approximates the line of the lower jaw and rises to the level of the nostril, these horns are likely to run about 35 inches in length. On up past the nostrils is adding inches.

Mass: A horn that is already broomed will carry more weight, and produce better circumferences for the second and third quarters, than will horns on which the lambing points (year one annuli) are still present. Carrying mass; good second and third quarter circumferences are vital to make the records book.

Dall’s sheep, along with Stone’s sheep are classified as a thin horn, so horn mass is not as high as is found with bighorn and desert bighorn sheep.


To be announced Thursday 6/20/19



All-time minimum: 110
Awards Book minimum: 100

Coues’ whitetail deer (pronounced cows) of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico are smaller in body and antler size than their northern whitetail cousins but are scored the same way under the Boone and Crockett system. The minimum entry scores for the record book reflect this size difference with 160 for typical whitetail and 100 for typical Coues’ whitetail.

It is not uncommon to see a mature buck with 4 points per side (3 points plus eye guards) or eight points, or a 4x4, Coues’ deer make the record book. A 5x5 is then a prime specimen, with an even greater chance of scoring high and making the book.

In order to be counted and measured as a point, the point must be at least one inch long from its point of origin off the mainbeam but not more than an inch wider at one inch in length.

Like all whitetail deer, the lengths of points contribute greatly to the final score (33%). For Coues’ whitetail mainbeams represent 32% of the final score, mass 25%, and inside spread 10%.


Net Score: 128 3/8

Gross Score: 130 2/8

Key Measurements:
Length of Main Beam - R: 20-1/8 L: 20-3/8
Circumference H1 - R: 4-1/8 L: 4-1/8
Inside Spread - 16-7/8
Number of Points - R: 5 L: 5
G2s - R: 9-2/8 L: 9-3/8

This is a well-put together typical Coues’ whitetail, starting with being a 5x5. Length of main beams and inside spread are above average with strong mass measurements carried up the mainbeams. The average inside spread for a book deer is 14-1/8 inched. Over 9-inch G2s is exceptional for a Coues’ deer.

Click to Download The Official Score Chart

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