I understand hunting for food, but is hunting as a sport ethical? It seems wrong to kill living creatures just because they are the most beautiful of their kind. What do you think?
I’m going to look at all of it – including how hunted animals are scored – to really dig into this touchy topic.
How Hunted Animals Are Scored
I personally feel like hunting should be for food and shelter. I enjoy eating deer jerky and turkey on Thanksgiving. What I don’t understand is killing a majestic animal just for their antlers and then leaving the meat behind.
Maybe if I understand the scoring it will make more sense.
There is a serious competition between elite hunters in trying to bag the most impressive specimen of each species.
Each animal that is killed gets evaluated, and this evaluation is known as scoring. Many different factors go into the scoring process to determine the overall value of an eliminated animal. The scoring process is actually a lot more complicated than you may think at first, as what seems to be obvious parameters are ignored, with more specific factors and characteristics being what determines the final evaluation.
What Doesn’t Factor into Scoring
Traditionally, the factor that had the most influential bearings on an animal’s score was its weight in pounds, and this was something that was the norm up until the 1960s. At this point, focused shifted and people were instead using the size of antlers and horns to determine the overall score, and played little attention to the size of the animal.
These days the weight does play a small factor in the ‘weight to score relation’, which is a metric to determine how strongly the animal’s weight is reflected in the score, or in other words, how likely a heavyweight animal will also have a high score.
Things that are not considered at all when scoring an animal is as followed:
- Where the animal is hit. There are no extra points for having a clean shot, even if you hit a vital organ or not.
- The weapon. This plays no part in dictating the final score, so a kill with a rifle is as valid as a kill with a crossbow.
- The number of hits. There’s no extra value to an animal that was only hit once compared to multiple times. The only thing that matters is if it was killed.
- The shooting distance. Although it’s more impressive to make a kill from 1000 yards as it is 100, these play no part in the final evaluation.
Scoring of Common Animals
The way animals are scored range from species to species and can get quite specific and specialized. Even variations of the same animal have key differences, such as how to score a Mule Deer is drastically different from whitetail deer and other varieties.
However, they still do focus on similar aspects. When evaluating deer, there is a lot of focus on the spread and the length of the main antler beams. There’s also a consideration on each point the antler has, but the amount considered ranges from species to species.
Moose are scored differently. Although evaluators are still focused on their antlers, they are looking for the greatest spread as opposed to the total length. They’re also focused on the width and length of the palms and the circumference of each beam at its smallest point.
Some animals are also awarded beauty points, and these are more cosmetic metrics that can boost the overall score. These are most common in goats and sheep and are most concerned with the color of the sheep and its horns, the amount of age rings the horns have as well as the curvature of the horns too.
Other animals such as bears are measured by head width and length, while boars are measured by their tucks, and there are still animals that are scored solely by weight if they haven’t got other defining features, such as the red kangaroo.
Should Hunted Animals Be Scored?
I’m glad there are laws protecting endangered species and poaching. If people were only allowed to hunt things that they turned into food, then I suppose a score for the size of the animal makes sense.
What do you think?