How to score and field judge elk  Part 2
This is part two in the how to score and field judge elk series. If you missed part one, you can check it out here.
Last time I discussed air judging, estimate actual measurements method, magic number/estimate shortest points method and a short four part how to score an elk video series. This time around we are going to dive deeper into field juding and scoring bulls.
Quick scoring example:
Here is an example with the actual measurements of the bull that was harvested by Colburn and Scott Outfitters hunter Tim Allen in 2009 in Arizona Unit 10 during the archery hunt.
Estimate actual measurements
Left side: 19, 19, 14, 20, 17, 57, 30 = 176"
Right side: 21, 18, 15, 21, 16, 58, 30 = 179"
Spread: 40"
Total: 176 + 179 + 40 = 395" gross
Estimate shortest points
19,18, 14, 20, 16 = 87 x 2 = 174"
174 + 200 = 374"
Mass: +0 (30 per side)
Main beam: +14 (57 per side)
Spread: +0 (40 inches)
Total: 374 + 0 + 14 + 0 = 388" gross
Here are the actual numbers
Left side  (G1G5) 20, 19 4/8, 16, 22 2/8, 13 6/8, (H1H4) 8 4/8, 7 6/8, 7 4/8, 6 1/8, Main beam: 58 2/8 = 179 5/8
Right side  (G1G5) 21, 19, 17 6/8, 23 6/8, 14, (H1H4)8 5/8, 7 4/8, 7 1/8, 6, Main beam: 59 = 183 6/8
Inside spread: 37 inches
Total gross score: 400 3/8" (6 5/8" of deductions)
Net score: 393 6/8"
Here is the breakdown of the numbers and percentage to total gross score
Points  (Left) 91 4/8 + (Right) 95 4/8 = 187" or 46.7%
Main Beam  (Left) 58 2/8 + (Right) 59= 117 2/8" or 29.2%
Mass  (Left) 29 7/8 + (Right) 29 2/8 = 59 1/8" or 14.75%
Inside spread = 37" or 9.25%
Seven part elk field judging and scoring video series:
Part 1  estimating shortest points method
Part 2  using the shortest points method
Part 3  using the estimating shortest points method and actual measurements
Part 4  using the estimating shortest points method
Part 5  using the estimating shortest points method
(bull was also taken by KUIU's Jason Hairston)
Part 6  learn to notice a bull's weakness
Part 7  using the actual measurements and estimating shortest points method
Field judging tips
 Point length is the single most important ingredient for a bull to score high. Next is main beam length. It is rare to have a high scoring bull without long points and beams.
 On a typical 7x7, the point measurement is going to go up dramatically. For instance, a typical 7x7 will usually have sixth points that measure from four to 20” per side, which can add an extra eight to 40” to the bull’s total gross score. Note: On a typical 7x7, you do not receive any extra mass measurements.
 Look for any weaknesses or broken/missing points as they can affect the score dramatically.
 Use anatomical references to judge measurements.
 Count the number of points on each side because if something looks odd it usually is.
 The main beam length from burr to fourth point is usually around 30”. Make sure that you compare that to the length of the main beam from the fourth point to tip of the beam. If it looks like it is about half as long (15”), then the total length is closer to 45”. If it looks equally as long, then it might be pushing 60”.
 Main beams are rarely 60” or more. Inside spread measurements are rarely over 45” and mass is rarely over 32” per side.
 Try to err on the short side when estimating measurements.
 Look for good spacing between the points. If the points look close together, the beams are probably not as long as you think.
 If a beam or point looks straight, then it will be shorter than you think. Look for lots of belly or curve in points and the main beam. Curve means greater length.
Field judging reference charts:
Anatomical elk references 


Antler burr to tip of nose  15” to 16” 
Front of eye to tip of nose  12” to 13” 
Inside of eye to inside of eye  7” to 8” 
Top of back to bottom of belly  30” 
Top of back to hoof  5458" 
Tip of ear to tip of ear  21” to 22” 
Ear length (base to tip)  7.5” 
Normal percentages of gross score 

Tine Length  45% 
Main beam  28% 
Mass  16% 
Spread  11% 
Average measurements 



Spread 
Main 
Mass  Point length 
Added up 
Total 
300310" bull  35"  45" x 2  25" x 2  13" x 5 x 2  35+90+50+130  305" 
320330" bull  37"  47" x 2  27" x 2  14" x 5 x 2  37+94+54+140  325" 
340350" bull  38"  50" x 2  29" x 2  15" x 5 x 2  38+100+58+150  346" 
360370" bull  39"  52" x 2  30" x 2  16" x 5 x 2  39+104+60+160  363" 
380390" bull  40"  53" x 2  30" x 2  18" x 5 x 2  40+106+60+180  386" 
400"+ bull  40"  53" x 2  31" x 2  20" x 5 x 2  40+106+62+200  408" 
It is an art
Field judging elk is an art, while measuring dead elk is a science! One of the best ways to improve your field judging skills is to practice field judging bulls before actually measuring them. I hope these scoring methods and tips will come in handy when trying to field judge your trophy bull, but remember: it is more important to measure your hunt success by the memories and quality experience gained than by the size of the antlers you bring home.
Really great article and visuals. Probably will need to write down these references in my field notebook for when the time comes to score some bulls next fall.
David L Glad you found value in the article! Good Luck on your hunts next fall!