Outdoor Life - - HUNTING - —C.A.

An av­er­age ma­ture mule deer mea­sures 22 to 24 inches be­tween alert, for­ward­cup­ping ear tips. If the rack spreads be­yond the ears, he has big-buck po­ten­tial. But more im­por­tant to mega-buck sta­tus than the spread are tine length and mass. A true gi­ant has four typ­i­cal points per side that av­er­age more than 8 inches above each fork. Main beams are usu­ally 20 to 25 inches long. For ref­er­ence, the dis­tance be­tween the mid­dle of a broad­side mule deer’s eye and the tip of his nose is about 8 inches. The fore­head of a buck fac­ing you is al­most ex­actly 4 inches wide be­tween the in­side edges of his eyes. Each ear mea­sures about 9 inches from base to tip. Many deer have un­even tines. But if a tro­phy buck has short “crab claws” in front, he has to make up for this with deep back forks. Un­like white­tails, large mule deer sel­dom have brow tines over 3 or 4 inches; some have no brow tines at all. Out­size mule deer grow mas­sive antlers. The four record­book cir­cum­fer­ence mea­sure­ments per side usu­ally tally to be­tween 16 and 20 inches, with the cir­cum­fer­ence di­rectly above each burr com­monly 4 1⁄2 to 6 inches.

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