How to Measure Elk Antlers

by Cheryl Torrie
Being able to gauge elk antler measurements in the field is an art.

Being able to gauge elk antler measurements in the field is an art.

Hunting elk is a sport, no different than any other, and as in any sport, measuring, scoring and quality go hand in hand. Key measurements on typical or non-typical American elk, Roosevelt's or tule elk antlers are needed to obtain the score. The method used for measuring elk antlers hasn't changed since the 1920s when Boone and Crockett club member Prentiss Gray established an official measurement and scoring system for North American trophy animals. It may seem complicated at first, but all you need to measure elk antlers is a 1/4-inch wide flexible steel tape.

Typical American Elk

Count and make a list of each point on the right and left antlers that exceed 1 inch in length. Use two columns on your list, one marked right antler and one marked left antler. It will help you to keep your measuring chart organized and easy to read. Each typical point would be marked G-1, G-2, etc. starting with the point that extends from the main beam closest to the skull.

Determine the tip-to-tip spread by measuring the distance between the tips of the left and right main beams.

Determine the greatest spread measurement by locating and measuring the widest spread between two perpendicular antler main beams or points when measured at a right angle to the center of the skull.

Determine the inside spread of the main beams by measuring the widest point between the left and right main beams when measured at a right angle to the center of the skull.

Measure the length of the main beams by measuring from the bottom of the burr, which is where the antler flattens out at the elk skull, to the tip of the main beam.

Measure the length of all normal elk points or "Gs," that extend from the main beam from where the point connects to the main beam to the outside tip of each point, following the curve of the point.

Measure the circumference of the narrowest point between the first and second points on each antler and mark them on your list as "H-1s." Continue measuring the smallest circumference between the points only stopping after you have measured between the fourth and fifth points which are the "H-4s" and the last measurements needed for scoring your elk antlers.

Non-Typical American Elk

Two bull elks with similar antlers.

Count and make a columned list of each point on the right and left antlers that exceed 1 inch in length, one column is marked right antler and one marked left antler. Each normal point would be marked G-1, G-2, etc. and each abnormal point (any point that originates from a point or from the bottom or sides of the main beam or extra points, that are not generally paired) would be marked E-1, E-2, etc. starting with the point that extends from the main beam closest to the skull.

Determine the tip-to-tip spread by measuring the distance between the tips of the left and right main beams.

Determine the greatest spread measurement by locating and measuring the widest spread between two perpendicular antler main beams or points when measured at a right angle to the center of the skull.

Determine the inside spread of the main beams by measuring the widest point between the left and right main beams when measured at a right angle to the center of the skull.

Measure the length of all abnormal elk points or "Hs," that extend from where the point connects to the main beam or another point to the outside tip of each point, following the curve of the point.

Measure the length of the main beams by measuring from the bottom of the burr, which is where the antler flattens out at the elk skull, to the tip of the main beam.

Measure the length of all normal elk points or "Gs," that extend from the main beam from the where the point connects to the main beam to the outside tip of each point following the curve of the point.

Measure the circumference of narrowest point between the first and second points on each antler and mark them on your list as "H-1s." Continue measuring the smallest circumference between the points only stopping after you have measured between the fourth and fifth points which are the "H-4s" and the last measurements needed for scoring your elk antlers.

Roosevelt's or Tule Elk

Bull elk with antlers in velvet

Count and make a columned list of each point on the right and left antlers that exceed 1 inch in length, one column is marked right antler and one marked left antler. Each normal point would be marked G-1, G-2, etc., each abnormal point (any point that originates from a point or from the bottom or sides of the main beam or extra points, that are not generally paired) would be marked E-1, E-2, etc, each crown point (any points occurring on the royal, on other normal points, on any crown points, and any points on the bottom and sides of main beam after the royal) would be marked I-1, I-2, etc., starting with the point that extends from the main beam closest to the skull.

Determine the tip-to-tip spread by measuring the distance between the tips of the left and right main beams.

Determine the greatest spread measurement by locating and measuring the widest spread between two perpendicular antler main beams or points when measured at a right angle to the center of the skull.

Determine the inside spread of the main beams by measuring the widest point between the left and right main beams when measured at a right angle to the center of the skull.

Measure the length of all abnormal elk points or "Hs," any points in non-typical in location or pattern that are located below the G-4 point from the point where they connect to the main beam or another point to the outside tip of each point, following the curve of the point.

Measure the length of the main beams by measuring from the bottom of the burr, which is where the antler flattens out at the elk skull, to the farthest most tip of the main beam.

Measure the length of all normal elk points or "Gs," that extend from the main beam from the where the point connects to the main beam to the outside tip of each point following the curve of the point.

Measure the circumference of narrowest point between the first and second points on each antler and mark them on your list as "H-1s." Continue measuring the smallest circumference between the points only stopping after you have measured between the fourth and fifth points which are the "H-4s."

Measure the length of the crown points located from the G-4 to the end of the beam, including points that occur on the G-4, on other normal points beyond the G-4, on the crown points, and on the bottom and sides of main beam after the G-4 from the point where they connect to the G-4, main beam or another point to the outside tip of each point, following the curve of the point.

Items you will need

  • 1/4-inch wide flexible steel tape
  • Pen
  • Paper

Tips

  • All measurements are rounded to the closest 1/8th-inch.
  • Boone and Crockett's website has scoring sheets available in PDF if you do not want to create your own (see Resources section).

About the Author

Based in Covington, Tenn., Cheryl Torrie has been writing how-to articles since 2008. Her articles appear on eHow. Torrie received a certificate in travel and tourism from South Eastern Academy and is enrolled in a computer information systems program at Tennessee Technology Center at Covington.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Fotolia.com, courtesy of Mike & Valerie Miller