A great skill to have when hunting for elk is “field judging”.
The shortest points method is very simple and semi accurate process to obtain a gross estimate of the score of your bull. It begins with the magic number 200.
This number comes from the average measurements of a typical mature bull elk that scores a 350 on a Boone and Crocket. The Main Beam is usually 50 inches on each side, the mass is typically 30 inches on each side, and the inside spread is usually 40 inches across. This method works off of a symmetrical assumption, so if you add these average numbers together you get a baseline of 200. Now all you have to do is estimate the length of the tines or “shortest points” and add them to 200. You can do this by using anatomy as a reference for measuring.
- From the front of the eye to the tip of the nose is typically 12”
- The space between a mature bull’s eyes is typically 7”
- The top of the back to the bottom of the belly is 30”
- The top of back to the hoof is typically 54”
- Length of ear from base to tip is 7”
Use these anatomical references as a way to estimate each tine on each antler. Then, add those numbers to the magic 200 number to get a rough estimate of what you will score. If you are not sure if you can confidently use the magic 200 number, use the anatomical references to air judge the inside spread and main beam.
Remember, this is an estimate, once you’ve harvested the bull you can get an accurate measurement and score. Field judging takes practice (and lots of it!) to get really accurate with your estimates, so keep practicing!