Each year during March, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) scores deer antlers throughout the state, with a major scoring effort during the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic scheduled for March 28-30 at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia.
A total of 4,820 sets of white-tailed deer antlers, including 4,649 typical racks and 171 nontypical, are currently ranked on South Carolina's all-time antler records list, according to Charles Ruth, Deer Project/Turkey Project supervisor for DNR. Minimum scores for state record listing are 125 points for typical antlers and 145 points for nontypical antlers. Scoring is based on the Boone and Crockett system.
The objectives of the state records list are to recognize outstanding animals and to identify areas that produce quality deer, according to Ruth. This information allows biologists to take a closer look at habitat, deer herd condition, and offer land management suggestions to landowners.
Although record deer have been recorded from all counties, Aiken, Anderson, and Orangeburg counties have produced the greatest numbers in the past three to four years. Generally, larger deer are more abundant in areas that have fewer deer, as compared to parts of the state with high deer numbers, according to Ruth.
Last year's scoring sessions produced 168 new entries into the South Carolina records list, including one buck that met criteria for entry into Boone and Crockett's three year awards period list.
Hunters must provide necessary documentation, such as the date and county of the kill, and sign a "fair chase" statement when they bring in a set of antlers for scoring. Antlers in velvet or those that are broken and repaired or antlers separated from the skull plate cannot be officially measured for the state records list.
If the lower jawbone of the animal was extracted during taxidermy or otherwise saved, it should be brought to the scoring session so biologists can determine the deer's age. An accurate weight measurement at the time of the kill is also helpful.
2008 ANTLER SCORING SESSIONS
* Tuesday, March 4, 2-8 p.m., Seneca, Ace Hardware, US 123 across from Wal-Mart, (864) 882-2100
* Thursday, March 6, 2-8 p.m., Piedmont, Palmetto Farm & Garden, US 29, (864) 617-2025
* Friday, March 7, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Barnwell, USDA Service Center, 100 Fuldner Road, (803) 259-7143
* Saturday, March 8, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Bowman, Great Outdoors Taxidermy & Deer Processing, 6066 Vance Rd. (I-26 Exit 165 then 1.8 miles towards Bowman), (803) 829-4242
* Tuesday, March 11, 2-8 p.m., Pickens, Tri-County Ace Hardware, Town Creek Shopping Center, US 178, (864) 878-0052
* Friday, March 14, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Bath, Wilson's Taxidermy, 158 Victory Lane, (803) 593-3357
* Friday, March 14, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Garnett, Webb Wildlife Center, 1282 Webb Ave., (803) 625-3569
* Friday, March 28, noon to 8 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886
* Saturday, March 29, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886
* Sunday, March 30, 1:30-6 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886
* Wednesday, March 26, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Bonneau, Dennis Wildlife Center, 305 Black Oak Road, (843) 825-3387
* Columbia: At DNR office, 1000 Assembly St., Columbia, by appointment only, (803) 734-8738
* Greenwood: At DNR office, 2751 SC 72 East, Abbeville, by appointment only during March, (864) 223-2731
* Florence: At DNR office, 2007 Pisgah Road, Florence, by appointment on Fridays during March, (843) 661-4768
* St. Mathews: Calhoun Co. Agricultural Building, 912 F.R. Huff Drive, St. Mathews, by appointment only during March, (803) 655-5809
For more information about DNR visit www.dnr.sc.gov.