How to Score Whitetail Deer


Hunting should be a need-based activity first. It is our responsibility as hunters to ensure the entire animal we harvest is used in some way.

If you’re hunting whitetail deer and you fill your buck tag, there’s a good chance you’ll have plenty of meat and hide for your family’s needs throughout the winter. The antlers become a trophy which you score to keep track of the accomplishment you’ve earned because of your skill as well.

There are four factors to consider when measuring a whitetail buck for scoring.

  • Main beam lengths of the antlers.
  • The inside spread of the rack.
  • Tine lengths.
  • The circumference of the antlers.

This process leads you to an eventual score. Most communities keep track of these scores to determine wildlife growth, hunter success, and other data points.

Scoring a Whitetail Buck

The first measurement involves the main beams of the antlers. Measure along the outside of each antler, beginning at the base of the burr. Then follow the outside and center main beam to the tip. Record both measurements.

Then measure the spread of the main beams from the inside. This reading becomes your spread credit, assuming that it isn’t longer than the length of the main beam. 

The next step is to measure the tine lengths of the antlers. Each tine is measured on its own. The closest one to the head, called the “brow tine,” is designated G1, followed by G2 (the longest tine on most bucks), G3, and so forth until you reach the end of the antler. The last point before the main beam tip is your final tine measurement.

You must record each tine measurement individually.

Then you’ll begin the circumference measurements, designated as H1, H2, and so forth. The H1 measurement is the smallest circumference between the first point and the burr. Your H2 measurement is then the smallest between the first and second points. You’ll continue this process until the H4 measurement, as you record four measurements per side.

If you don’t have a G4 tine on the antler, then your H4 measurement is taken at the halfway point of the G3 tine and the main beam.

A Note on Abnormal Points on the Rack

Some whitetail bucks have abnormal points on their antlers. You’ll need to take a measurement of each one, which counts toward the gross score for the trophy, but is then deducted from the total score to reach a net rating. Abnormal points must be at least one inch in length to qualify for measurement. 

You’ll then add up the main beam lengths, spread credit, G measurements, and H measurements to reach a gross score for the antlers.

If you’re interested in a record because of the antler size, you’ll then need to accommodate deductions side tine differences, circumference changes, and any abnormal points which qualify for scoring.

You must score at least 125 to qualify for record entry, with 160 required for awards and 170+ necessary to have a chance at a record. 

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