Friday, June 29, 2012

Field Judging Elk and Scoring Elk Antlers 3

Field Judging and Scoring Elk
This post is in response to the prior post, "Field Judging Elk and Scoring Elk Antlers 2"
Below is a quadrant of photos of the "G5" Bull that Darr had sent me prior to the 2011 Arizona archery elk hunt to estimate his score. Darr was able to put his hands on the bull the other night at the Desert Christian Archers monthly gathering. He scored the bull and has the actual measurements. Lets see where I estimated correctly and where I underperformed. The thing I like about trying to field judge and estimate score of trophy animals is that it is constantly a learning experience.  Our readers seem to be very close for the most part in guessing the score of this bull.  We had scores on our facebook and email ranging from 370 to 400 inches.

Here are the actual measurements of the bull.  Lets compare to the estimates.
Left Side: 16 4/8, 18, 15 7/8, 23 4/8, 16 2/8, 56 2/8, 26 6/8=172 7/8
Right Side: 16 4/ 8, 17 7/8, 17 5/8, 25, 19 4/8, 54, 26 3/8=176 3/8
Spread 36 Total 172 7/8+176 3/8 +36=385 2/8 Gross

Overall I made some good guesses but I was way off on the mass which still leaves me scratching my head.  It amazes me that a bull of this caliber would only have 26 6/8 and 26 3/8 inches of mass per side.  On mass alone I missed the mark by 6 7/8.  I still look at the photo and video and it is hard to see how light and thin this bulls mass is.  I have never seen a bull of this caliber have under 28 inches of mass.  I was pretty good with my point estimations but my main beams guesses were also a little off at 58 on each side where the actual numbers were 56 2/8 and 54 respectively.  So on this particular bull I would give myself a C+.  I am also making a mental note about the bulls in Unit 10.  Seems as they grow good long points but sometimes are lacking in mass.  I think that could also be one of the reason the bulls in Unit 10 seem to break so bad during the rut.  The only break that I would cut myself is that it sometimes is very hard to make guesses and estimates without having seen the bull in person.  I think if I would have seen the bull in person I might have picked up on the skinny mass and shorter main beams.  How did you do with your estimations?

Colburn and Scott Outfitters Guide Darr Colburn at the Desert Christian Archers monthly get together holding the G5 Bull.

Darr and Arizona Elk Society Founding Member and President Steve Clark going over the numbers

Left Side: 16 4/8, 18, 15 7/8, 23 4/8, 16 2/8, 56 2/8, 26 6/8=172 7/8
Right Side: 16 4/ 8, 17 7/8, 17 5/8, 25, 19 4/8, 54, 26 3/8=176 3/8
Spread 36 Total 172 7/8+176 3/8 +36=385 2/8 Gross

Lets look at each category of this bulls score and its relationship to percentage of the overall score.  For the example I am just rounding to neareast whole number. 
Point Length=185" or 48% of total score
Mass=53" or 13.7% of total score
Main Beam Length=110" or 28.5% of total score
Inside Spread=36" or 9.3% of total score

Below are a couple of charts to for tips and to use as a reference while field judging bull elk.  Notice how our subject bull did not meet the "norm" in regards to mass.

As much as I love to pour over the numbers and analyze data it is important to keep in mind that the thrill of the hunt, getting to enjoy God's creation and spending time with friends is the thing that keeps us coming back for more.  Try to not let score determine whether the hunt is a success or failure.  Stay tuned for another exercise in Field Judging and Scoring Elk from JayScottOutdoors.  Be sure to find us on face book( JSO and CSO) and check out our YouTube channel.

1 comment:

Craig and Richelle Steele said...

10 inches is nothing on an elk. If you miss each measurement by 1/2 inch on a 6x6 (not including the inside spread) you will miss judge a bull by 10 inches. Honestly, if you are consistently judging them with-in 10 inches, you are doing good, although being under is typically better.

I had the bull at 390-392 and I did not catch the mass. This bull has UNSCORABLE mass on is 4ths & 5ths that draws you in. I think he looks way better with light mass and the heavy tines. If he would have had a heavy beam or scorable mass, his tines would look a lot shorter. I love to know the score of animals, but as far as world records, net scores, blaa, blaa..... They can have it, that's a big damn bull.

Great post guys! I was looking forward to seeing that bull alive because those heavy tops are just what I like!

Craig Steele

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