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What Makes An 80″ Antelope?

It may seem like a ways off yet, but fall will be here before you know it. With fall comes antelope hunting and this past weekend we were reminded just how special a Boone & Crockett antelope buck is.

A gentleman from Wyoming came into the Salt Lake City ISE show on Saturday and asked the deer tour manager, Roger Selner, if he’d have time to score an antelope he shot with his bow last fall. Roger agreed and the hunter brought the buck back to the booth the next day. Immediately, we all started guessing as to what the buck scored and watched as Roger put the tape to him. When it was all said and done, the buck grossed 84-6/8 and netted 82-4/8. This buck was extremely deceiving as he has an enormous head, which made his horns appear smaller than they really were. Nonetheless a great trophy and one that is a truly special accomplishment.

A collage of trail cam photos of the buck from over the summer.

To have some fun with it, we posted some trail camera photos the hunter had gotten of the buck over the course of the summer to our Facebook page and let our fans guess the score. We had scores ranging from low 60s to high 80s and even in the 90s. What this told us is exactly what we all know…antelope are extremely tough to field judge and score. Properly field judging an antelope is an art form and once you’ve mastered it, you have a huge leg up on other hunters. While many said this buck scored in the 60s and 70s, someone who knows antelope looks at it and understands it’s a B&C buck.

Antelope are among the toughest animals to field judge. The trail cam photos of this buck are truly deceiving unless you know exactly what to look for in a B&C antelope…mass and length. With almost 7″ bases and 15″ length (one side busted off a full inch) on each side and over 4″ on mass above the prong, this buck grosses 84-6/8 and nets 82-2/8 B&C.

In order to get that coveted 80” antelope, a buck primarily needs great mass and length. Mass does way more to an antelope’s score than people give it credit for. A buck could be 16” tall and have great prongs and never make the book based on his lack of mass. Many guys get hung up on looking for super tall antelope. In fact, they should be looking for bucks with great mass and good length. The length of the horns is always a good base, and 15” is usually the benchmark for a buck to have what it takes to start a score heading toward 80”. However, the buck needs the right mass measurements to add onto that length in order to reach 80”.

This buck had an enormous head, which more than likely caused many to guess this buck scored in the high 60s to mid 70s. Take a look at the mass though, especially above the prong…that’s where this buck really shines. With that big of a D1 and D2 measurement, plus great D3 and D4s, and over 6″ prongs this buck’s score added up fast.
A side profile of this buck shows just how heavy this buck was. Always reference the width of the eye when determining a buck’s mass from the side. If the buck’s bases look wider than the eye, the buck has good mass.

Using the 4×7 rule (7” bases, 7” D2 measurements, 7” prongs and 7” total D3 and D4 measurements) can greatly increase your antelope scoring abilities. Pick up a copy of Mike’s best-selling book today on our store, to learn all the ins and outs of scoring antelope. This book also comes with a supplemental DVD that features a section on field judging.

A page out of Mike’s book, Hunting Trophy Antelope – A DIY Guide, that shows the 4×7 rule.

About Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief

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Following in the footsteps of his father, Guy has taken up the reins and is now at the helm of the Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and the Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal. A fine hunter in his own right, Guy has taken several trophy animals and has become an expert in trophy hunting as well.

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