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Talking points for beginners

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Updated: December 1, 2011 8:19AM

For the next few weeks, white-tailed bucks will wander recklessly in the throes of the rut. What drivers fear, hunters live for.

Among hunters, there will be rumors and talk of big racks, stickers, drop tines, G2s and G3s on typical and nontypical whitetails.

That prompted a good question from Tony Healy of Tinley Park: ‘‘How does a South Side, Catholic League, ex-truck-driver-turned-small-business-owner EVER understand what ‘split brow tines,’ ‘split G3s’ and ‘green-scored’ mean? Is there a hunting dictionary for dummies?’’

To help describe whitetail racks in ordinary language, I asked Jeff Pals. The Crete resident is an avid bowhunter and a volunteer measurer for the Pope and Young Club (bowhunting records) and the Boone and Crockett Club (big-game records). Both organizations are stalwarts in conservation as much as record keepers.

Whitetail racks are not horns; they are antlers that grow and drop off annually. Racks are scored by measuring in inches.

Points must be at least an inch long and longer than wide. A normal point originates from the top of the main beam. An abnormal point originates from any place — other points, bottom of the main beam, etc.

In the examples, all eight points on the typical grow from the top of the main beam. On the nontypical, I count at least nine abnormal points.

‘‘Stickers, drop tines, dagger points, forked points, all fall under the umbrella of abnormal points because they don’t grow out of the top of the main beam,’’ Pals said.

To be nontypical, there must be at least 15 inches in abnormal points. Pals thought the one pictured had at least 20 inches. In scoring a typical, abnormal points count as deductions from the total, while in scoring a nontypical, abnormal points are added to the total. There is no limit to normal points on a whitetail, but 14 and 16 are rare.

Other deductions come from differences in symmetry (points need to be paired on the rack). In either category, scorers measure the typical frame first. In both photos, the racks are basic eight-point frames (even though the nontypical is at least a 17-pointer).

The G1 is the brow tine closest to the head. Then you count forward, G2, G3, etc. The main beam is the final tine. Typically, the G2 is the largest, but Pals said sometimes it’s the G3. On a trophy, the largest tine can top 12 inches.

The spread is the widest point between the inside of main beams. Mass measurements are circumferences, the smallest within the designated area. H1 is the smallest circumference on the rack between the skull and the G1, then between the G1 and G2, and so on.

‘‘Green-scored’’ is measuring done before the mandatory 60-day drying period. Pals said it’s rare that racks lose much more than an inch in that 60-day drying. Variances between green scores and official ones, he said, are often due to the speed and excitement of doing a green score in the heat of the moment.

For more hands-on information, Pals suggested Pope and Young’s A Hunter’s Guide to Measuring Whitetail Deer ($9.95), available at

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