The philosophy of Buckmasters’ Full-Credit Scoring System is to measure and record whitetail deer antlers without forcing them to conform to a criterion of perfect symmetry.
This Full-Credit Scoring System takes nothing away from the rack. It simply measures every inch of antler and classifies it accordingly.
The Buckmasters system can be distinguished from other whitetail scoring systems in these nine important areas:
- The Buckmasters system does not deduct differences between lengths of opposing typical points.
- It does not include the inside-spread measurement in the score because it is a measurement of air, not antler.
- Since the inside spread between the main beams is not added into the rack's score, a rack with a broken skull plate can be entered into the BTR.
- There are four classifications of antlers categorized as: Perfect, Typical, Semi-Irregular, and Irregular.
- Minimum score is the same for each of the four categories of antlers. The minimum score for all firearms-harvested deer is 140 inches. A minimum score of 105 inches is required for all bow-harvested deer. These minimum scores may sound low until you realize the inside-spread credit is not included.
- The BTR system provides categories for all types of firearms which include centerfire rifles, shotguns, handguns, and blackpowder guns. The bow-and-arrow category includes all compounds, recurves, and longbows, with a separate category for crossbows. The "Pick-Up" category is for racks which have been found rather than harvested by a hunter. The minimum score for this category is 140 inches. There is even a category for shed antlers which are measured only as right or left antlers, not as a pair. Minimum score for shed antlers is 75 inches.
- No drying time is required before antlers can be measured.
- The BTR also has a separate category for antlers still in velvet.
- There is opportunity for entry for bucks which have been taken behind deer-proof fences, providing they meet the entrance criteria noted on the BTR Code of Ethics for Hunting On Game-Proof Fenced Properties.
The Full-Credit Scoring System does not penalize a deer's antlers because of their shape or configuration since they have no choice in how they grow. Each hunter may prefer certain antler characteristics, but to call one preference right and another preference wrong would be absurd, especially where a design of nature is concerned.
There is no justifiable reason to penalize a rack's score because of the origin of a point or the direction in which it grows. For this reason, the BTR minimum scores will be the same whether the rack is perfectly symmetrical or largely irregular. The BTR Full-Credit Scoring System's mandate is to record what nature produced, without making any assessment of its aesthetic value to the human eye.
In the case of animals such as mountain sheep or goats, there is a static horn design. These animals never depart from what is considered the norm in any way that would confuse their scoring criterion. A scoring system which is fair to one big-horn ram will be fair to all such rams because they are only created with one basic horn design. However, whitetail deer are quite another matter. For a measuring system to be as fair to deer as it is to wild sheep and goats, it must be prepared to acknowledge every antler configuration possible without penalty. This is the basis of the philosophy behind the BTR Full-Credit Scoring System.
To fully understand the Buckmasters philosophy for not including the inside-spread measurement into the rack's score, imagine a set of whitetail antlers altered to a flexible state, so that the main beams could be spread wider or narrower. In other scoring systems, the changing of the inside-spread measurement would affect the final score, either positively or negatively. However, in reality, the actual inches of antler would not be altered by widening or narrowing the inside spread. All that has really been altered is a measurement of air, not antler. For this reason, the BTR system includes the inside-spread measurement only as supplementary data for identification purposes.
When measuring typical tines, no deduction is made when one typical point does not have a matching point on the opposite antler. An example would be a 9-point rack with five typical points on one side and only four typical points on the other. BTR does not force this rack to become a hypothetical 8-pointer by deducting the unmatched point. No matter how antlers grow, the BTR will accept and record them.
By simply recording what nature produced and classifying it accurately, the BTR offers whitetail enthusiasts the opportunity to record their trophies with an unbiased, record-keeping agency that allows systematic comparison of the amazing, natural artistry of whitetail antlers.