Antlers will abound throughout the Palmetto State as the search for new state record deer antlers gets underway during the S.C. Department of Natural Resources' annual series of scoring sessions.

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 25-27 at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia. A total of 5,449 sets of white-tailed deer antlers, including 5,243 typical racks and 206 nontypical, are currently ranked on South Carolina's all-time antler records list, according to Charles Ruth, Deer and Wild 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 and deer herd conditions in order to make future management recommendations.

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 213 new entries into the South Carolina records list, the second highest number of entries in the last 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.


Tuesday, March 1, 2-8 p.m., West Union, Neville's Hardware, 120 South Hwy. 11, West Union (864) 638-2531

Thursday, March 3, 2-8 p.m., Clemson, Ace Hardware, 1301 Tiger Blvd., Clemson (864) 654-6950
Friday, March 4, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Barnwell, USDA Service Center, 100 Fuldner Road, (803) 259-7143

Thursday, March 10, 2-8 p.m., Taylors, Rock's Country Store, 430 Groce Meadows Rd., Taylors (864) 895-8324

Friday, March 11, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Bath, Wilson's Taxidermy, 158 Victory Lane, (803) 593-3357

Friday, March 25, noon to 8 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886

Saturday, March 26, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886

Sunday, March 27, 1:30-6 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886

Wednesday, March 30, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Bonneau, Dennis Wildlife Center, 305 Black Oak Road, (843) 825-3387

Clemson: At DNR Office, 311 Natural Resources Dr., by appointment only during March (864) 654-1671 ext. 16.

Columbia: At DNR office, 1000 Assembly St., by appointment only any time of year, (803) 734-8738

Florence: At DNR office, 295 Evander Dr., Florence, by appointment on Fridays during March, (843) 661-4768

Garnett: Webb Wildlife Center, 1282 Webb Ave., by appointment only during March, (803) 625-3569

Georgetown, Samworth WMA Office, Monday afternoons during March - 12 p.m.-5 p.m., 420 Dirleton Rd., (843) 546-8665

Greenwood: At DNR office, 2751 Hwy. 72 East, Abbeville, by appointment only during March, (864) 223-2731

Union: At DNR Office, 124 Wildlife Drive, Union, by appointment only during March, (864) 427-5140