How to Score a Mule Deer: Master the Art of Successful Hunting

How to Score a Mule Deer

Scoring a mule deer is an important skill for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking to compare your trophy with others or simply measure the success of your hunting expedition, knowing how to accurately score a mule deer can be a rewarding experience. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of scoring a mule deer using the Boone and Crockett method.

What is the Boone and Crockett Method?

The Boone and Crockett Method is a standardized system used to score big game animals based on a combination of antler or horn measurements. It ensures consistency and fairness when comparing trophy animals. This scoring method takes into account the size and symmetry of the antlers, as well as the spread of the main beams and the tine length.

Scoring Process

Before you start scoring, there are a few basic terms you should familiarize yourself with:

  • Main beam: The central part of the antler, from the base to the tip.
  • Tine: Any point projecting from the main beam.
  • Symmetry: Balance and proportionality between the left and right sides of the antlers.
  • Spread: The widest distance between the main beams, measured perpendicular to the centerline.

Now, let’s break down the scoring process into simple steps:

Step 1: Measure The Main Beams

Using a flexible measuring tape, measure each main beam from its base to the tip. Make sure to follow the curvature of the beam, and record the length in inches.

Step 2: Count The Tines

Identify each tine on the antlers and count how many points there are. Keep in mind that only tines exceeding one inch in length will be counted towards the score. Record the number of tines.

Step 3: Measure The Spread

Using a yardstick or a scoring cable, measure the widest distance between the main beams. Ensure that the measurement is taken perpendicular to the centerline of the skull. Record the spread in inches.

Step 4: Measure The Tine Lengths

Measure the length of each individual tine that exceeds one inch. Start from the base of the tine where it meets the main beam and measure to the tip. Record the length of each tine in inches separately.

Step 5: Calculate The Gross Score

Sum up the measurements of the main beams, the spread, and the recorded tine lengths. This sum will give you the gross score of the antlers.

Step 6: Assess Point Deductions

Now it’s time to assess any point deductions. Points may be deducted for various reasons, such as abnormal points or non-typical features. Refer to the Boone and Crockett scoring manual for specific guidelines on point deductions.

Step 7: Calculate The Net Score

Subtract the deductions made in the previous step from the gross score to get the net score. The net score represents the final score of the mule deer’s antlers.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Score A Mule Deer: Master The Art Of Successful Hunting

What Is The Best Time To Hunt Mule Deer?

The best time to hunt mule deer is during the early morning or late afternoon when they are most active.

How Can I Improve My Chances Of Spotting A Mule Deer?

Improving your chances of spotting a mule deer can be done by scouting the area beforehand, using high-quality optics, and moving quietly and slowly.

What Should I Look For In A Hunting Spot For Mule Deer?

Look for areas with plenty of cover, food sources, and water nearby when choosing a hunting spot for mule deer.

What Type Of Weapon Is Recommended For Hunting Mule Deer?

Both rifles and archery equipment are suitable for hunting mule deer, but make sure to choose a weapon you are comfortable and proficient with.


Scoring a mule deer can be a fun and educational experience for avid hunters and wildlife enthusiasts alike. By following the Boone and Crockett method, you can accurately measure and compare the size and symmetry of mule deer antlers. Remember to refer to the official scoring manual for detailed instructions and guidelines. May your hunting adventures be fruitful and enjoyable!

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