Thursday, July 23, 2009
Bill Cochran's Outdoors: Virginia Deer Classic switches to Boone and Crockett scoring system
Bill Cochran's Outdoors
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Trophy deer heads are a major attraction at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show.
The Virginia Deer Hunters Association is making a major change in its Virginia Deer Classic big-buck contest set for Aug. 7-9 at the ShowPlace in Richmond.
Rather than using the Virginia method of scoring bucks, as has been the show’s practice for the past 26 years, it is switching to the national Boone and Crockett system. It also has established a category for bucks taken with a crossbow.
The Classic deer contest is a feature of the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show, which will showcase nearly 300 exhibits to provide attendees a detailed look at what’s new for the upcoming hunting seasons.
I asked Dennis Scott, the Classic’s chief judge, the following questions about the changes being made to the contest:
Q. What was behind the move to switch the judging to the Boone and Crockett scoring system?
A. Every year we were getting increasing request to translate the Virginia score to the Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young [bowhunting] equivalent. The logical result was to switch to the more recognizable scoring system.
A. We have had certified scorers from Boone and Crockett (B&C), Pope and Young (P&Y), and the National Muzzloading Rifle Association (NMLRA) at the contest almost since its inception. Each year we score several heads that qualify for these programs. Since it takes an exceptional deer to score high enough to make it into the national record book, I don’t know if the number will go up, but the availability of the scorers at the Classic may bring a few more heads in.
Q. What is the basic difference in the Virginia and Boone and Crockett systems?
A. There are several differences: The Virginia system does not distinguish between a typical and non-typical head as B&C does. It adds in the number of points, along with more circumference measurements, and derives a spread credit differently than the B&C scoring system. Typically the difference between the Virginia system and the B&C system is around 30 points, with the Virginia system being the higher score. This difference may be a little higher or a little lower for a given set of antlers, depending on the number of points involved and the mass of the antlers.
Q. How many deer were entered in your contest last year?
A. We had 285 entries.
Q. Will switching to Boone and Crockett void the record of previous winners of your contest? A. I don’t see the switch voiding the old winners; what’s more, many of them were scored by one of the official B&C measurers at the time they won the contest.
Q. Can previous winners have their deer heads re-measured under the Boone and Crockett system and re-entered in your records?
A. Contestants from a previous contest who would like to get a deer head measured under the B&C system can enter it in our Historical Division.
Q. You also are establishing a separate class for deer killed with a crossbow rather than include them in the bowhunting category. Is this something you received requests to do? A. The crossbow is not recognized as an acceptable weapon by P&Y, the national bowhunting record keepers, so to avoid confusion I requested the additional crossbow class. Q. What is the procedure for entering a deer in your contest?
A. A contestants must be a member of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association or join when they register their head in the contest. If their trophy was taken during the 2008-09 season, they must have a certified Virginia Game Check Card or their confirmation number from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries telephone check system.
The contest also has a Historical Division for deer that were taken from a pervious season in Virginia. We have heads show up in this division that were taken many years ago and were never scored. No check card is required for Historical Heads.
Q. Do you see the 2009 contest as an exceptional or average year as far as the quality of bucks entered?
A. I think we will continue to see the quality of deer go up because of programs and efforts by hunters that give deer the opportunity to reach an older, more mature age before they are taken. Therefore I think we will have an above average year.
Q. Do you consider your contest to be in competition with the annual Big Game Trophy Show held in September, which has used the Virginia measuring system since 1946 and has been the official keeper of the Virginia’s records?
A. The Virginia Deer Classic is a membership contest of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association and we never have considered it to be competition for any of the other contest in the state.
Q. What is a quick source of information on the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show and the Virginia Deer Classic?