Haff said a deer's antlers generally have two main beams. Any growth off a main beam is called a tine. A tine has to be at least one inch long to be counted as a point. Nubs or growths less than an inch don't count, Half said.
A ten-point deer is one that has ten points on its antlers, five on each side. Many hunters would be joyed to bag a 10-point buck. In most cases, a 10 pointer is above average.
A typical mule deer is four points on one side with brow tines. But in Montana, we refer to one side of the antler rack for both whitetail and mule deer. For a non-typical rack that has more points on one side than the other, it's referred to as a 4-point by 5-point, never a 9-point.
Nearly all bucks with superior genetics and adequate nutrition have eight or more points when 2 years old. Bucks with inferior antler genetics may never have more than seven points, even when mature.
Number of points on each antler. To be counted a point, a projection must be one inch long and its length must exceed the length of the base. All points are measured from tip of point to nearest edge of beam as illustrated. Beam tip is counted as a point but not measured as a point.
To determine if a buck has an inside spread measurement of at least 13 inches, look at the distance from ear-tip to ear-tip on a buck with ears in the "alert" position. It is unlawful to take more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater in a county where antler restrictions are in effect.
The term “trophy buck” has been around about as long as black powder. Or maybe a lot longer, since big antlers have been found in prehistoric campsites. But what do veteran hunters call a trophy. To most, it is probably a deer with antlers that score over a certain minimum.
For many hunters, a trophy whitetail deer is defined by age. This is for a couple reasons. For one, a young buck (say, two or three years old) with a 8 or 10 point rack has the potential to mature into an older buck with high-scoring 10 or 12 point antlers, long tines, and heavy main beam.
Good bucks will have at least seven or eight inch second points. Outstanding animals may have G-2's 9-11 inches long. The third point may be shorter or longer than the second, but it too should be eight inches or longer on an outstanding buck.
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