Do Deer Antlers Shrink?

We get this question a lot here at Deer & Deer Hunting. The difference varies, of course, when you’re talking about an unusually high-scoring nontypical, but again, these are rare exceptions. Of course, the bigger the buck, the more the antlers can shrink. How much deer antlers shrink also depends (to a certain extent) on the configuration of whitetail’s rack. Is is a clean 12-pointer? Or just a really massive 8-pointer? If you’re at all unsure, check out the instructions on how to score a deer rack from one of the above clubs. Here is an example score sheet from the Boone and Crockett Club: ANTLER SCORE SHEET SAMPLE. Inches lost from antlers that shrink while drying usually come from the aggregate mass measurements. Why would antlers shrink to begin with?

Do deer antlers shrink after they’ve been left to dry for weeks, months or years? We get this question a lot here at Deer & Deer Hunting. Before answering the question, we always have to ask a few questions of our own, because the final answer isn’t always cut and dried, pardon the pun.

How much do deer antlers shrink after they’ve dried the mandatory 60 days for official entry? The short answer: Not that much. (Deer & Deer Hunting photo)

The short answer, however, is this: Contrary to popular belief, whitetail antlers do not normally shrink much from the time the deer is killed until the mandatory 60-day “drying period” required by clubs like the Boone and Crockett Club, the Pope and Young Club, Safari Club International or the Northeast Big Buck Club.

In most cases of a Boone-and-Crockett class typical (170 inches or more), the rack won’t shrink more than 1 or 2 inches from when it is “green” dry until it is considered completely dry….

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