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Saturday, July 24, 2010

NBBC Antler Scoring Event

by Steve Sorensen
(Originally published in the Warren Times Observer, July 24, 2010.)

If you have a nice buck,
you’ll soon have an opportunity
to enter it in the NBBC book.
“In your dreams!” That’s where most of us can expect to harvest a Boone & Crockett record book buck. But that doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for another record book – maybe with a buck taken right in your back yard.

The Boone and Crockett Club is the most well known keeper of antler records. Teddy Roosevelt started the organization in 1887, but it wasn’t until 1932 that the club began recognizing outstanding big game trophies from North America. The method of scoring evolved until 1950, when the current scoring system became settled.

Since then, other “books” have come along, including Safari Club, Pope and Young (for archery only), Buckmasters, plus various state and regional record books.

The regional record book for Pennsylvania whitetails is kept by the Northeast Big Buck Club (www.BigBuckClub.com), founded in 1996. It started out entering bucks from Maine, the New England states and New York. A few years ago, it added Pennsylvania.

The NBBC calculates the gross B&C score – but doesn’t deduct for asymmetry, so it gives the buck credit for everything he grew. The NBBC minimum score requirement for typical bucks is 110", and 125" for non-typical. (Archery and muzzleloader minimums are 100", and 115" for non-typical.) The NBBC also has categories for pickups and sheds.

If you have a nice buck (no matter when it was harvested), you’ll soon have an opportunity to enter it in the NBBC book. The Northeast Big Buck Club will hold a scoring session in Warren County. Two official scorers, Brian Kightlinger and Tim Fox of Erie, will spend the day measuring antlers brought in by hunters like you and me.

Show up at Tall Tales Sporting Goods at 8330 Market St. (Route 62 North) in Russell, PA on Saturday, August 14 between 10 AM and 4 PM. Have your best set of antlers in one hand and $25 in the other. (They have a stand to which mounted bucks can be safely attached for scoring.)

Brian and Tim volunteer their services, so the $25 doesn’t go to them. The money supports the NBBC and its awards program. Besides entry into the Club’s official book – it also gets you a 1-year subscription to the NBBC bi-monthly magazine Northeast Big Bucks, as well as a supporting membership patch.

Most deer hunters, for lots of reasons, will never harvest a Boone & Crockett buck. But that’s not because they’re not good enough hunters. They probably don’t have access to property that holds a world-class monster buck, or they might not have enough C-notes to hire a guided whitetail hunt for Midwestern corn-fed giants.

But the truth is that some of the best whitetail hunters consistently kill mature bucks on their own home turf right here in the hills of Pennsylvania. Who cares if they’re not Booners? They’re still great bucks, and have a legitimate shot at making the NBBC book.

The NBBC records program doesn’t diminish the value of bucks that don’t make its minimums. Every hunter has his own trophy standards. Every set of antlers preserves a memory. And, every set of antlers is special.

But if you have an antler rack that might quality for the NBBC record book, take advantage of this opportunity to have it scored.

To see some background on Brian and Tim, and pictures of some of the bucks that they’ve scored, take a look at the website for the Pennsylvania chapter of the NBBC at www.nbbcpa.wikispaces.com.

If you have questions, feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to answer them. Otherwise, show up with your nicest set of antlers. Or, just show up – it’s time to start thinking about the fall hunting seasons anyway, and to start dreaming about your next big buck.


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