Complete listing of S.C.’s antler records is available online
The SCDNR initiated the South Carolina white-tailed deer Antler Records Program in the spring of 1974. Since that time, 7,469 sets of antlers (7,167 typical and 302 non-typical) have made it into the list, according to Charles Ruth, Big Game Program Coordinator for SCDNR.
Initially, agency officials only conducted measuring sessions a few times each spring. But since 1987, they have scheduled antler scoring sessions throughout the state. They now hold approximately 12 sessions annually.
Each year SCDNR wildlife biologists, wildlife technicians and volunteers measure approximately 500 sets of antlers. Generally, only about 25% of the antlers that are measured make the Antler Records List. The bulk of entrants fall short of the minimum scores, said Ruth.
The agency published the first Records of South Carolina White-tailed Deer in 1998. Since that time, SCDNR has published a number of updates on an annual or semi-annual basis. The updates include only the new entries for the current year and the top 100 typical and top 50 nontypical entries from the All-time List.
Records list serves two main purposes
The new online publication represents the complete listing of all typical and nontypical entries on file through Spring 2019. It is only available on SCDNR’s website. The size of the document makes printed copies cost prohibitive.
The purpose of the Antler Records Program is twofold. First, because of the increased interest in deer hunting exhibited by sportsmen, it is a means of recognizing outstanding white-tailed deer taken in South Carolina. Secondly, it provides management information that allows SCDNR wildlife biologists to identify areas that produce quality deer. When particular areas stand out it is important to attempt to recognize the underlying characteristics that produce outstanding animals.
Ruth said, “Records are based on the Boone and Crockett Club scoring system. (This system) measures the mass and symmetry of deer antlers in two categories—typical and non-typical. The scoring system is based primarily on antler size and symmetry. And it includes measurements of the main beams, greatest inside spread of the beams, circumference measurements at certain designated locations, and the number and length of the points. To be counted as a point, a projection must be at least one inch long. And it must be longer than it is wide at its base.”
Scoring methods differ for typical and non-typical antlers
Deductions are made for points that arise abnormally from the main beams or from other points. Symmetrical differences between corresponding measurements on the right and left antlers also cause deductions. For non-typical antlers, abnormal points are added to the score rather than being deducted as in the typical category.
A set of antlers is classified as typical or non-typical based on its general conformation, the number of abnormal points, and a determination as to whether it will rank higher in the typical or non-typical category. Current minimum scores for the South Carolina Antler Records List are 125 typical points and 145 non-typical points.
All antlers must undergo a minimum 60-day drying period before they can be officially measured. A fair-chase statement must be signed for all hunter-killed deer. If a set of antlers meets the minimum score the record is added to the list and a certificate is issued recognizing the outstanding white-tailed deer taken in South Carolina.
Click here to read about Mark Haslam’s hunt that produced two trophy deer in the lowcountry.