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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog


Buckmasters’ redesigned certificates of entry
Buckmasters’ redesigned certificates of entry

By Mike Handley

“How much did you pay for that new Silverado?”

“It lists for $31,000, but I got it for $22,000.”

“Has a V-8, right? What kinda gas mileage does it get?”

“Yep. With the windows rolled up and the cruise set, I get 18.”

I’m neither endorsing nor slamming Chevy trucks. I have one. But I’ve had this conversation more than once, and it has occurred to me that I’m incapable of answering any differently.

I cannot say $22k without pointing out my $9,000 savings. I can’t say 14 or 15 mpg around town.

It’s human nature, I guess, to accentuate the positive. Maybe a man thing?

The same is true among deer hunters.

If a hunter says he shot a giant 10-pointer and you ask what it scored, he’s going to quote the true gross, not a B&C net (after deductions) or the official BTR score (which doesn’t include the inside spread measurement). Heck, if you ask me about my biggest buck, I’m going to say 150 ... not 133, which is its official BTR score (sans the 17-inch inside spread).

And a deer doesn’t have to hit the ground for this to happen.

“What did you see this morning?”

“Mostly small bucks and a few does, but, oh man, there was an 8-pointer every bit of 150, chasing a doe through those cedars.”

I’ve illustrated this aspect of human nature to explain the motivation behind one of the most exciting things to come down the pike since I’ve been at the helm of the BTR. Now, for the first time ever, hunters with record-book bucks can get a certificate that shows a true gross score (we call it a “composite” score).

We haven’t changed the way we measure and categorize antlers. In terms of ranking whitetails, we’re still a bone registry. Every scoreable inch of antler counts; we have no deductions whatsoever. But we do not include the measurement of air in the official score.

We added a box on our scoresheets several years ago to reflect the all-inclusive composite score, which is the figure most of us quote. That added feature is the reason many big buck contests began using our scoresheets, because B&C sheets do not have a box indicating a “gross” score.

But the composite score has never appeared in the actual record book or on the certificates we mail for entries.

Until now.

We’ve redesigned the certificates to include both the official and composite scores. All new entries will receive them at no charge (beyond the $20 entry fees), and those wanting to replace their old certificates with the new ones can do so for a mere $5.

Also, the next (sixth) edition of “Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records,” which will be published next fall, will include the composite score. I’ll write more about the upcoming book in future blogs.

This is huge, folks. You can bet that I’m going to be replacing my certificates just as soon as I’m back in the office and can hit the “print” button. It might be the same deer, but I’d rather have a certificate that says 150 than 133 any day. Wouldn’t you?

Hunter Unknown Seth Bauer BTR Dan Roach

Post Rating


# Mike
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 10:32 AM
I agree completely. It has always been my opinion that anything the buck grew as antlers should be counted in the score. How many of us are perfect? Do we get deductions? So, let's not arbitrarily deduct from the antler score for what some people deemed imperfection!

If the deer grew it, count it and yes do not count air between his ears. A lot of us could score 0 in that measurement!!!!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011 1:12 PM
i shot a 14 pionter a few years back and had it scored by a b&c scorer . it had a 9 inche tine on one beam that it didn't have on the other , so he deducted it . it had 22 inches of air between the beams ,,,,,,,, after all the deductions he put on it , the rack only scored 138 5/8 typical ,,,,,,,,,, it makes me wonder what it might score under the BTR scoreing system .
Mike Handley
# Mike Handley
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 1:39 PM
Mike and Vic: The mechanics of measuring are almost identical between the two systems. We tape the same things in the same places.

The biggest difference is that we have no deductions whatsoever. An official BTR score represents every scoreable inch of antler, and that's how bucks are ranked in our book (bone against bone). Our composite score includes the inside spread, and it's merely a means of completing the description of a rack, so to speak.

It's the solid matter (antler) that Mother Nature produces, which is why we do it this way. And, yes, "perfect" racks are the rarest of all among mature bucks. Air has only an aesthetic value; it doesn't grow.
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