Montana deer questions

Decent 4 point Mule Deer buck with average eye guards. So a 5 by. Pretty symmetrical. He was as tall as he is wide. About 22” wide to be exact.
Not a shooter for me. If he survives the season I look forward to seeing him next season. I would consider him next season.
I went back the next season after a good growing season for antler growth and a mild winter.
This is what he turned into 👇🏼😉!
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Big symmetrical 4x with deep forks...what else could you ask for?
 
On a similar vein, how do you all quickly judge a deer? Not like adding inches and tines and counting how many ears long an antler is, but what do you look at on a glance that says a deer is 150, 160, 180, etc.?
I apply the “oh shit” rule. If a buck makes me say that out loud, he’s probably worth looking at harder and pursuing. Like @DougStickney said, a truly big one will make your heart skip a beat.
 
I apply the “oh shit” rule. If a buck makes me say that out loud, he’s probably worth looking at harder and pursuing. Like @DougStickney said, a truly big one will make your heart skip a beat.
I hear that, and I do it too, but what exactly makes you say, “oh that’s a 150” or “that’s somewhere in the 160s” vs. it’s a shooter or not. I know there’s variation but are there characteristics you can always look at to help you rapidly air judge that deer?

I’m really curious about how much variation or not there is in what people do, too.
 
I hear that, and I do it too, but what exactly makes you say, “oh that’s a 150” or “that’s somewhere in the 160s” vs. it’s a shooter or not. I know there’s variation but are there characteristics you can always look at to help you rapidly air judge that deer?

I’m really curious about how much variation or not there is in what people do, too.
I don't think you can do a snap judgement and say "oh that's a 150" or "that's somewhere in the 160s'. To get that fine on score you have to take the spotter and start to add up inches.

I think the best way to quick judge is too look for outstanding features. If the standard 155 buck is 20 wide, 20 inch beams two inch brows, 14 inch G2s, 8 inch forks and average mass, and the buck you are looking at has huge front forks, add 10 inches, if the fronts are poor subtract 10 to 15 inches. If you know what the standard 150 buck or 160 buck looks like and you do this enough times and you will get in the ball park. For example I saw a nice buck this fall, Standard 155 buck, but real big browtines, better than average mass and some NT points pushed him up to the high 160's gross.
 
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I'd say I saw a low 150's buck with a decent frame and a crabby left front. Good eye guards. The pictures make it harder to judge, but his head makes him look like a mature deer, 4.5 - 5.5 yrs old. I can't see older than that because the head isn't giant, nor is his body configured like an old deer. I'd really doubt he get's much bigger than he is. I'd hope my girlfriend or youngest brother was with me so they could shoot him. I would pass.
 
I don't think you can do a snap judgement and say "oh that's a 150" or "that's somewhere in the 160s'. To get that fine on score you have to take the spotter and start to add up inches.

I think the best way to quick judge is too look for outstanding features. If the standard 155 buck is 20 wide, 20 inch beams two inch brows, 14 inch G2s, 8 inch forks and average mass, and the buck you are looking at has huge front forks, add 10 inches, if the fronts are poor subtract 10 to 15 inches. If you know what the standard 150 buck or 160 buck looks like and you do this enough times and you will get in the ball park. For example I saw a nice buck this fall, Standard 155 buck, but real big browtines, better than average mass and some NT points pushed him up to the high 160's gross.
That’s super helpful, thank you!
 
I hear that, and I do it too, but what exactly makes you say, “oh that’s a 150” or “that’s somewhere in the 160s” vs. it’s a shooter or not. I know there’s variation but are there characteristics you can always look at to help you rapidly air judge that deer?

I’m really curious about how much variation or not there is in what people do, too.
I look for deep forks. Heavy horns will stick out also. Width can be such a misnomer so I don’t use it to judge a buck like others will but use it AFTER the forks and the heaviness.
👇🏼This buck would have been a great buck in 2-3 years.IMG_1363.jpeg
 
I don't think you can do a snap judgement and say "oh that's a 150" or "that's somewhere in the 160s'. To get that fine on score you have to take the spotter and start to add up inches.
This.

I always laugh when the guess the score comes up on a single pic and guys guess 163 2/8.
 
I don't think you can do a snap judgement and say "oh that's a 150" or "that's somewhere in the 160s'. To get that fine on score you have to take the spotter and start to add up inches.

I think the best way to quick judge is too look for outstanding features. If the standard 155 buck is 20 wide, 20 inch beams two inch brows, 14 inch G2s, 8 inch forks and average mass, and the buck you are looking at has huge front forks, add 10 inches, if the fronts are poor subtract 10 to 15 inches. If you know what the standard 150 buck or 160 buck looks like and you do this enough times and you will get in the ball park. For example I saw a nice buck this fall, Standard 155 buck, but real big browtines, better than average mass and some NT points pushed him up to the high 160's gross.
But I'm not doing all of that math to decide whether it's 155 or 170. ;) It's that 170-185 range that gets tricky and requires scrutiny. Above that and I'm leaving the abacus in my pack and looking for a shooting position.
 
I’m terrible at estimating deer scores, but that buck would be one I’d pass most of the season but probably shoot on my last day, mostly because I can only seem to shoot 135” 3x3’s and haven’t shot a 4x muley. I’d guess high 140’s to low 150’s based on some buddies bucks I’ve measured.

This all has me wondering if the brain trust here can help with a buck I saw during archery in a MT OTC deer unit. Went back for him once in archery and planned to go back with a rifle but then shot a WT buck opening day so never had a reason to.

IMG_1913.png

Velvet makes him look heavier, and he never gave us a great front-on look with the spotter up, but I think he has better forks than the OP and similar width, I don’t think he has eye guards. I was guessing mid 150’s.
 

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I'd say decent four point with brow tines. As wide as his ears, maybe a bit more. I'd probably shoot him (or at him) since I get buck fever pretty good. Probably be some ground shrinkage though, haha.
 
Monster 35” 12 pointer! Sum’itch soaked up toes cre’d’mooor bullitz like deer mar flies. Couldn’t find where he was standing‘cause he ‘ez bout aight hundert yeards’way.
 

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