Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to Field Judge and Score Desert Bighorn Sheep 5-Guesstimate Score

Here is my guesstimate on the ram in the post titled, "How to Field Judge and Score Desert Bighorn Sheep 5".   I really like the look of this ram at first glance.  He is definitely a ram that needs to be studied very closely because he has the look of a Boone and Crockett ram.  My rough eye guesses his score between 168-170 gross.

This is the subject ram above that we are trying to estimate the score.  In the pictures below I have taken two rams that we know the exact score of and put each angle up against the subject ram.  In the pictures below the ram on the left was harvested by Erik Swanson in 2011 and on the far right is the book ram that was harvested by Ron Arndorfer in 2010 (Click to see more pics and video of each of those two rams that were harvested with Colburn and Scott Outfitters).  Remember that our subject ram is in the middle.
 From the front on view it looks as though our subject ram has decent drop to his horns.  Meaning the bottom of the horns are at or just below the jaw line.  The subject ram seems to have a little flare out on the tip of each horn.  I am conservatively guessing that the left horn is 35 3/8" and the right horn is 35 2/8".  If I look at the ears on each ram they seem to hit the horn in about the same place.  If I look at the scrunched up hair between the horns on top of the head they seem to all three be fairly similar.
 Our subject ram is in the middle, my guess on his left horn is 35 3/8, 14 3/8, 13 7/8, 12 4/8, 9=85 1/8".  Now something to keep in mind while trying to judge a sheep is that it is very important to have data from prior rams that have been harvested in that area, specifically the base measurements.  I don't have the luxury of having seen this ram in person nor do I have the base measurement data.  So when I am faced with this situation I try to compare pictures side by side and see if there is any major differences then adjust my numbers accordingly.  If you are fortunate to get the average base measurements for the unit you are hunting never give the ram you are trying to judge a bigger base estimate.  I would always rather under judge a ram then over judge one.
My estimates on the right horn are 35 2/8, 14 3/8, 13 7/8, 12 4/8, 9=85"  So if you add the left (85 1/8) and right (85) estimates the gross score on this ram should be 170 1/8.  It is kind of hard to count the rings on the horn to determine age on our subject ram because of the grainy pictures but I would estimate this ram to be 8+ years old.  How did your guesses stack up against mine?  This would definitely be a ram that you would want to see and evaluate from every angle and get as many photographs and video as possible to try to make a better guess and estimate of his score.  I would always put a disclaimer on my estimate because without having seen the ram in person it can be tricky to get it just right.

Lets take a look at the estimated numbers and see how the relate to the overall score in regards to percentage:
Mass-99 5/8 or 58%
Length-70 5/8 or 42%

The yellow lines are just to give a rough idea of where each mass measurement would be taken.  It is important to keep that in mind while viewing a ram.  Look for any dents or chips in the horn that may fall within that particular quarter measurement.  I have the left horn being the longest horn at 35 3/8.  Divide the longest horn by four and you get 8 27/32 so our mass measurements for each horn would be at  base(0), 8 27/32, 17 11/16, 26 17/32.  One last thing to remember is that it is very important to find the average base measurements of as many rams that come from your unit as possible.  Try to gather as many photos and official score sheets of each ram as you can and keep a log of your new found data.  This will help give you a baseline to make your guesses from.

Couple of random tips:
1.  Big rams look big no matter what angle you see them from.  If you have any doubts from different angles then it is probably not a book ram.
2.  Big rams kind of take your breath away when you first see them.
3.  Look for a ram that carries his mass throughout the whole horn.
4.  Try to count rings and estimate old age when looking for big rams.
5.  Most book rams will have 100 inches of mass then all you have to calculate is horn length.

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