I have always had difficulty judging the score on glassing August velvet bucks and also trail cam velvet bucks..Needless to say, I over judge them.I do think I can judge a live buck out of velvet with fair accuracy. But adding that extra 8-12 inches of velvet trickery can be a challenge.

Figuring a book buck will have 40″ of mass (rule of thumb, not an absolute), means an average mass measurement of 5″ on a typical 8-point. I’ve killed 2 velvet bucks, the velvet was no more than 1/8″ thick – probably less. So, with a 5″ average circumference, if antlers are perfect circles, beam diameter is 1.59″ (C = 2*pi*r, D= 2r). With a 1/8″ layer added, increases the circumpherence to 5 7/8″. In this case, 1/8″ velvet adds 7/8″ to a perfectly circular 5″ bony antler circumpherence, or a total of 7″ mass with 8 perfectly circular, 5″ average, mass measurements. In this case, the mythical, perfectly symmetrical, perfectly circular-beamed -point buck will need to net 157″ in velvet to net 148″ stripped.

Of course, in real life, there is no such deer. The more flattened the antler, the less impact of the velvet addition (the circle is the most extreme difference). It will also depend on whether velvet is dry or green, and likely there is individual variation too. Still, I doubt you’ll ever lose more than 10″ when stripping velvet from a typical 8-point, and likely quite a bit less. However, keep in mind, this is comparing velvet compressed by a tape, to stripping that velvet. The fuzzier his velvet (again, dryness or lack thereof, individual variation), the more “ground shrink” there will be, between what you THOUGHT his mass was, and what it actually is with the velvet stripped off. The more massive the rack, the less, percentage-wise, loss when stripping velvet. However, the more massive the rack, the greater, in total number of points, loss when stripping velvet.

I’ve found that there is no sure fire method, but I think I can get pretty close.

Bucks with lots of points will lose more inches because each tip of an antler will lose about an quarter of an inch. Each mass measurement will also lose an eighth as well. The inside spread will gain 2 eighths. Count up the points, and add the 8 mass measurements and call them an eighth each, and you can just about tell how much you will lose.


Trail Camera photo’s don’t always tell the whole story. About 4 years ago I grossly under-judged a buck by nearly 30 inches due to the distance my camera was from the buck. I did not pick up the nearly 27″ of “trash” on his bases. I knew he had some of that, but a lot of it was actually behind his ears and some of it was so close it just was not visible. He had quite a bit more mass than I thought as well… again due to the fact I had my camera quite a bit further away than I normally put it. It’s a guessing game, but I think it’s kind of fun to judge them, another tip is try to run your trail cameras on video mode so you can pick up other antler characteristics.