Friday, September 9, 2011

The Spirit of The Brute Endures!

Folks that follow my blog may remember my posts about some bucks with very nice antlers at one my sites in North Carolina (see here).  It turns out that we also have Brutes around here, which makes for some pleasant surprises when one checks the cams after a week.

As I have said several times in the past, catching pictures of "trophy bucks" is not the reason why I got into camera trapping.  However, I have to marvel at the appearance of an individual in the prime of his peak condition.....likely the biggest, baddest SOB on the block.

This particular camera set location was in a fallow grassland adjacent to where we live.  It is pinched between agricultural fields on either side...and is sort of a marginally suitable habitat "island" or "fragment"....mostly attractive to game species (deer, pheasant, turkey, etc.).  My daughter and I walk around in this area frequently.....I pull her in her wagon....and she picks up turkey feathers and milkweed pods that she finds (or I point out to her).  Last week, I took her out there in order to get her out of the house while I looked for a good location for the Cuddeback.....this camera hadn't been in operation since we moved here at the beginning of August, and I missed the color night photos.

I knew there were Coyote, and guessed there were Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) in the area.  I also had a faint hope for a Badger (Taxidea taxus).  Deer weren't my goal, although there was lots of deer sign in the area, and I knew I'd get deer pics (or turkey pics).  I found a spot where it looked as if the deer had been laying.  It was on a hill top, overlooking the ag fields, and the grassy valley below.  Great spot to see and smell things if you were a critter (a Coyote, I hoped).  I thought perhaps the deer activity and large number of turkey feathers in the immediate vicinity would draw 'yotes to that I set up the camera.

Not long after we left, a doe comes up the hill.

The next night The Brute shows up......perhaps following her scent.

The camera doesn't seem to bother him so much......

...and he comes back a short while later to get another nose full, before moving on.

Now, scoring bucks is particularly difficult (as any hunter knows).  I've never actually scored a deer antler rack in-hand.....but if you look at the Boone and Crockett scoring requirements, you can see exactly what I'm talking about.

I think most hunters would have this officially scored as a "non-typical" buck.   If you look at all three pics of this buck, there appear to be several abnormal tines coming off of both the left and right G1 points.  There also appear to be some abnormal tines coming off of the G3 and G4 points on the buck's left antler (tines that do not come off of the main beam, but instead arise from a "G" point are considered abnormal, I believe).  I can't tell if there are also extra tines coming off of these points on the right antler...but if we assume those are abnormal....all of these would count against one's "score" if this were treated as a "typical" rack.  However, if the hunter decides it should be scored as a "non-typical" rack, having many extra tines increases the score (any deer with abnormal tines scored as either typical or non-typical and the more abnormal tines, the more it counts against a "typical" score).

Please someone, correct me if I'm wrong.....I'm out of my element with this stuff!

I also don't know how many "point" buck this would be.

My guess would be a 10-pointer with a bunch of extra abnormal tines?

Your thoughts on this are appreciated!


  1. Here in Northern California, I think we count our points differently than everyone else. Not sure if anyone else does it like us but we do as follows. A buck with a fork on each side is a forked-horn. If you have three on each side then you are a "three-pointer" rather then a "six-pointer." A deer with three tines on one side and four on the other would be a 4x3 rather then a seven-pointer. Our little black-tails don't get much bigger then four-pointers so it kinda stops there, but you get the point. I would be interested to know where this cultural divide lays though.

  2. NICE buck. I never got into the scoring thing too much. I tend to judge a buck by what I personally like. I'd guess it's a ten point also. Hard to tell on a couple of the sticker points.

  3. Thanks, Guys!

    JK: very interesting about the scoring system in Northern California. I had no idea!

    Joe: I'm glad to hear someone else would say it's a ten-pointer! I'm not good at scoring bucks...and like's not something I ever really got into (although I find the process of how to do it interesting).

  4. That is an impressive beast. Do hunters work the area? I particularly enjoy the last photo, you really get the feel that he's there for a reason.


  5. JK, I always thought the dividing line for eastern v. western count was the range of mule deer.... but I do not know for sure :)

    As for the photos, they are impressive. I just spent a full ten minutes trying to make that first photo a different buck (note his left brow tine... it sure looks different in that first photo). IMO, any "sticker" point (one coming off a G instead of the main beam) that is longer than an inch is scorable, therefore worth counting when you report the size. According to my Dad, if you can hang a wedding ring off of it, it counts as a point... but let's not start that.

  6. I like the photos - and, like you, I have no experience with scoring a buck's antlers. I do think that I know, however, that in the west, we count only one side... so our numbers are generally half of those in the east. That makes things even more confusing!

  7. Wow, he's just flat out impressive.
    My uncle and JVN's dad must come from the same scoring school. I've heard the wedding ring comment, too.

  8. JVN is correct, we Californians score mulies the same way as Jake (JK) mentioned for the coastal black-tails - side-by-side. My father and his father took down many a black and mule, and they would call that monster a 6x6 for sure. That split in the eye-guard is more than wide enough to count as 2 tines. As for all the other cool little abnormal knobs and pips - those are just character points to talk about when it's hanging on your wall. ;)

  9. Alright! We're getting alot of votes for calling this, at least, a 12-pointer.

    I'm completely fine with that. ;)

    Thanks everyone for your input so far!