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 27-29 at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia.
A total of 5,038 sets of white-tailed deer antlers, including 4,858 typical racks and 180 non-typical, 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 non-typical 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 habitat 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 228 new entries into the South Carolina records list, the highest number of entries in 15 years.
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.
2009 ANTLER-SCORING SESSIONS
Date, time, location, telephone
* Tuesday, March 3, 2-8 p.m., Taylors, Rock's Country Store, 430 Groce Meadow Road, (864) 895-8324
* Thursday, March 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Clemson, DNR office, 311 Natural Resources Drive, (864) 654-1671 ext. 24.
* Friday, March 6, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Barnwell, USDA Service Center, 100 Fuldner Road, (803) 259-7143
* Tuesday, March 10, 2-8 p.m., Belton, Finley's Taxidermy, 4027 Bellhaven Road, (864)224-5464
* Friday, March 13, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Bath, Wilson's Taxidermy, 158 Victory Lane, (803) 593-3357
* Wednesday, March 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Bonneau, Dennis Wildlife Center, 305 Black Oak Road, (843) 825-3387
* Friday, March 27, noon to 8 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886
* Saturday, March 28, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886
* Sunday, March 29, 1:30-6 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886
* Columbia: At DNR office, 1000 Assembly St., Columbia, by appointment only, (803) 734-8738
* Garnett, Webb Wildlife Center, 1282 Webb Ave., by appointment only during March, (803) 625-3569
* Greenwood: At DNR office, 2751 Hwy. 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
* Union: At DNR Office, 124 Wildlife Drive, Union, by appointment only during March, (864) 427-5140
DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people. Find out more about DNR at www.dnr.sc.gov.