As I just returned from a successful Pronghorn Antelope hunt in Nevada, field judging antelope is fresh on my mind. Hunting pronghorn antelope is a super fun but challenging. These critters can be extremely hard to field judge. I have a few helpful tips for you that I learned both in the field and while attending Boone and Crockett school to become an official measurer. These have helped me field judge pronghorn. The score of an antelope consists of 4 mass measurements, overall length, and a prong measurement.
1. Judging by Comparison with other Pronghorn Antelope
This is usually the simplest way to judge pronghorn antelope is by comparing it to other bucks you have seen, Bucks in the are or even other bucks in the group. This method works well when hunting for a great goat, but when hunting for B&C trophies, you need to pay attention to more detail and these next few tips.
2. Judging Mass
The horn is divided into 4 quarters for mass measurements. The first measurement falls at the base. Normally the 2nd measurement will fall just below the prong and the 3rd and 4th will fall above the prong. An the best reference to field judge mass is using the eye of the antelope. A typical measurement for an antelope eye is 2 inches. For a trophy goat, you will want the base to be as wide as at least two eye ball widths. A trophy goat will also carry its mass up to to the prong.
3. Judging Length
This measurement is taken from the lowest part of the base or burr of the horn to the tip. The best way to field judge this is by using the animal’s ears. A trophy Pronghorn will have horns two to three times the length of the antelope’s ears.
4. Judging Prongs
This measurement is taken from rear edge of the of the antelope’s horn. This measurement is tricky because a heavier buck can appear to have short prongs when that is not the case at all. Prongs are usually about ear height on an antelope. A buck with prongs higher than that may score a bit better because the 3rd quarter mass measurement may fall below the prong. Prongs on a trophy antelope should appear to be at least 5 inches in length. Remember, this is tricky because of where the measurement begins.
5. Wow Factor
Usually the old saying is right: if it looks big, it is. This saying works well for antelope. You will know that that antelope falls into this category when you are looking at it and all you can this is “Wow.”
Hopefully these few tips will help you a bit while you’re in the field. Good luck this fall and shoot straight.