South Carolina adds 222 deer antlers to record books (copy)

A total of 7,229 sets of white-tailed deer antlers are currently ranked on South Carolina's all-time antler records list. File/Wade Spees/Staff

The search for new state record deer antlers is underway with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources' annual series of measuring sessions.

Each winter, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) measures deer antlers throughout the state, with a major effort during the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic on March 22-24 at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia. A total of 7,229 sets of white-tailed deer antlers, including 6,936 typical racks and 293 nontypical, are currently ranked on South Carolina's all-time antler records list.

Minimum scores for state record listing are 125 points for typical antlers and 145 points for nontypical antlers. Measurements are based on the Boone and Crockett system.

The measuring system is based primarily on antler size and symmetry and includes measurements of the main beams, greatest inside spread of the beams, circumference measurements at certain designated locations and the number and length of the points. To be counted as a point, a projection must be at least one inch long and it must be longer than it is wide at its base.

The objectives of the state records list are to recognize outstanding animals and to identify areas that produce quality deer. This information allows biologists to take a closer look at habitat and deer herd conditions in order to make future management recommendations.

Although record deer have been recorded from all counties, Aiken, Anderson and Orangeburg counties have produced the greatest numbers in the past three to four years. Generally, larger deer are more abundant in areas that have fewer deer, as compared to parts of the state with high deer numbers. Last year's measuring sessions produced 232 new entries into the South Carolina records list.

Hunters must provide necessary documentation, such as the date and county of the kill and sign a "fair chase" statement when they bring in a set of antlers for measuring. Antlers in velvet or those that are broken and repaired, or antlers separated from the skull plate cannot be officially measured for the state records list.

If the lower jawbone of the animal was extracted during taxidermy or otherwise saved, it should be brought to the measuring session so biologists can determine the deer's age. An accurate weight measurement at the time of the kill is also helpful.

2019 ANTLER MEASURING SESSIONS

• March 1, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Bath, Wilson’s Taxidermy, 158 Victory Lane, (803) 593-3357.

• March 2, 1:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., Columbia, Sportsman’s Warehouse, 476 Piney Grove Road, (803) 731-3000.

• March 5, 2-8 p.m., Greenville, Cabela’s, 1025 Woodruff Rd. Suite H101, 864-516-8100.

• March 7, 2-8 p.m., Anderson, Sportsman’s Warehouse, 3795 Clemson Blvd., (864) 540-7100.

• March 8, 1-5 p.m., Gilbert, Price’s Country Store, 540 Peach Festival Rd., (803) 892-2457.

• March 12, 2-8 p.m., Pickens, Durham’s Grocery, 3210 Walhalla Hwy., Six Mile, (864) 868-2070.

• March 13, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Bonneau, Dennis Wildlife Center, 305 Black Oak Road. Please call ahead (843) 825-3387.

• March 14, 2-7 p.m., Greenwood, Hunter’s Headquarters, 1845 Calhoun Rd., (864) 223-1911.

• March 19, 2-8 p.m., Easley, Academy Sports, 201 Rolling Hills Cir. (864) 850-6130.

• March 22, noon to 8:00 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886.

• March 23, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886.

• March 24, 1:30-6 p.m., Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, State Fairgrounds, (803) 734-3886.