Sure, the hefty size of the buck you harvested is reason for pride and celebration, but the crowning achievement (pun intended!) is that beautiful, beautiful rack. There’s tremendous satisfaction in displaying antlers with a wide spread and perfect (and numerous) symmetrical points. Sometimes, though, mother nature hands you a gift in the form of a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime, one-of-a-kind set of non-typical whitetail antlers.

What exactly is a non-typical whitetail? While no two are exactly the same, a typical or ‘normal’ set of antlers has matching points in the usual locations on both sides with all points reaching up. Non-typical antlers may have a differing number of points on each side, have points going in every direction, or have points growing off points. You could be treated to the sight of 30+ points going in all directions!

What causes non-typical antlers? The formation and size of a buck’s antlers depend on several factors aside from genetics, including age and nutrition. Growing antlers consist of mostly water (about 80%) and are vulnerable to injury which can result in an abnormal rack that season. A severe antler injury can cause a deer to permanently produce a non-typical rack.

Interestingly, there seems to be a correlation between leg injuries and antler deformity. For instance, a deer whose left leg is injured by a vehicle will grow a non-typical antler on the right side and vice versa. The theory is that nutrients are redirected from the developing antler to heal the injured leg.

Scoring your antlers. When scoring a typical rack, add inside spread, beam lengths, all typical point lengths and circumference. Ideally, both sides are perfectly symmetrical, giving you the same net and gross score. In SCI scoring, a typical buck can have non-typical tines, but the total non-typical tine length can not exceed 15% of the total typical score.

To determine the gross score of a non-typical rack, add point lengths, beam lengths, inside spread, and circumference for total inches. There are no deductions for a non-typical rack.

Hunting for that nontypical trophy rack. While you might be willing to trust your luck in hunting for that special rack, word from a friend says to check out Oak Creek’s impressive record of more of the Top 35 SCI World Record Typical and Non-Typicals than any other ranch!