Big Game Hunting Discussions
Measuring Up - Pronghorn Antelope
A Three Part Series on Scoring Pronghorn Antelope, Mule Deer, And Whitetail Deer
Big game hunting across the country has continually grown in popularity. Each hunter is showered with new tactics, state of the art equipment and better game management to help them achieve the success they desire. These successes are paralleled with more trophy bucks taken and more inquires on how to score these animals. In this Three Part Series, I will give you the basics on how to score antelope, mule deer and typical whitetail deer. Keep in mind this is just the basic instruction for there are numerous variables that can occur when scoring these trophies. This will in turn help you to better understand the scoring system and allow you to sharpen your trophy judging skills.
The western plains is home of the prairie speedster, the Pronghorn Antelope. Its range in the western United States is as far east as Kansas, south to Texas and Mexico, and north to south central Canada. Its population makes it a popular species for the gun hunter and a challenging trophy with archery equipment.
‘Part One’ in this series takes us to the fastest mammal in North America - The pronghorn antelope.
Being a horned animal, the basic measurements are different than those antlered animals. The basic measurements that are calculated for the total score for a pronghorn are: Horn Lengths, Circumferences and Prong Lengths. Supplementary data such as inside spread, and tip-to-tip spread are also added to the score sheet, but only as identification purposes and not as part of the total score.
All measurements are taken with a 1/4” wide tape measure and/or cable and are listed in eights of an inch.
The length is measured over the outer curvature of the horn. This measurement starts at the lowest point on the outside middle of the horn base and continues on the outer curve to the horn tip. Note: The base of the horn is sometimes irregular and the lowest point does not always occur at the center of the horn. If the lowest point is at the front or back of the horn, measure from this lower edge up 2” and mark this location on the horn with masking tape. This mark must be transferred to the middle of the horn and from this mark the horn length can be measured. (Illustration A)
Record this right and left measurement on Line C.
Circumference measurements are taken at four locations on the horn. The measurements are taken at the following described locations. (Illustration B)
D-1 Base Measurement - The horn base is measured with the tape in contact with the lowest circumference of the horn; the tape must be at right angles to the long axis of the horn.
Record this measurement on Line D-1.
D-2, D-3, D-4 Circumferences -These are determined by dividing the length of the longer horn by four, and mark both horns at these quarter locations. There are always two circumference measurements taken below the prong and two above the prong. If the D-2 circumference falls on the swell of the prong, the D-2 measurement is taken directly below the swelling of the prong. If the D-3 circumference falls on or below the prong, take this measurement directly above the prong. These measurements are taken with the tape at right angles to the long axis of the horn and recorded on the appropriate lines.
The prong length is taken from the tip of the prong along the upper, outside edge to the junction of the main horn and continuing perpendicular to the axis of the horn to he rear center. (Illustration C)
Note: The rear center can be determined by lying a straight edge on the back of the horn, where it comes in contact with both horns is the rear center. Use either a one-quarter inch steel tape or measuring cable. Right and left prong measurements are recorded on Line E.
Total Score - Calculate the total by adding Columns 1, and 2. Then subtract Column 3. This is your Final Score.
Pronghorns can be very difficult to field judge, but regardless of size, knowing the score makes us better at field judging the animals we pursue. Understanding the basics of measuring will also help us manage our hunting areas to allow them to produce larger, trophy animals.
To enter a trophy in the record books, it is required to be scored by an official measurer and a sixty-day drying period from the time of harvest must have passed. A list of official measurers can be obtained through Fishing Buddy Outdoors or through your local Game and Fish Departments.
Editor's Note: Wayne Muth is an avid big game hunter and FBO Field Staff member. He attributes much of his success to hard work and quality equipment. Mathews bows, Rocky Mountain Broadheads and Gold Tip arrows top the list of quality tools to make his hunts successful. Wayne also is the creator and manager of TON's affiliate Big Game Outdoors.
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