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January 31, 2008

Antler scoring sessions set across South Carolina

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 28-30 at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia. A total of 4,820 sets of white-tailed deer antlers, including 4,649 typical racks and 171 nontypical, are currently ranked on South Carolina's all-time antler records list, according to Charles Ruth, Deer Project/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, deer herd condition, and offer land management suggestions to landowners.

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 168 new entries into the South Carolina records list, including one buck that met criteria for entry into Boone and Crockett’s three year awards period list.

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.

2008 ANTLER SCORING SESSIONS
Date, time, location, telephone

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.


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