What are the "Points" on a Buck?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 May 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Unlike most reptiles, snakes do not have eyelids and so they never blink.   more...

May 28 ,  1999 :  Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" went back o  more...

A buck is a male deer, and in hunting terminology, the points on a buck are the individual tines of the buck's antlers. Generally speaking, the more points a buck has, the more prestige for the hunter who manages to kill him. Many hunters keep antlers from their kills as a trophy, prizing especially large “racks,” as they are called. People other than hunters may discuss points as well; biologists, for example, record information about the points on the bucks they study.

Antlers are very interesting and quite unique physical structures. In most deer species, they only develop on the male, and they are shed every year after the mating season. While the antlers grow in, they are covered in an extremely soft living tissue that is known as velvet; as the velvet dies, the bucks rub it off, and eventually the antlers come off as well. The older a deer is, the more branches develop in the antlers.


There are several main parts to an antler. The main beam is the main branch of the antler, and the tip of the main beam is counted as one of the points. Near where the antler emerges from the head, it is common to see a brow tine, a small tine that protrudes straight up, and it is also treated as a point. The antler also produces a number of branches called tines, and the total points on a buck represent the sum of all of these individual tines on both antlers.

When antlers are taken as a trophy, the points aren't the only consideration. Many hunters also look for antlers that are very symmetrical, with no broken or misshaped tines. Hunters also tend to prefer big sets of antlers, looking for sheer size in addition to individual points. People can also collect fallen antlers as the deer shed, although this carries less mystique than hunting in many regions of the world. In certain cases, the points are especially notable; bagging a 14 point buck, for example, is considered to be quite an accomplishment for a hunter.

The points aren't just used to calculate the value of a trophy. In some areas, wildlife management agencies have instituted “point limits,” meaning that bucks must have a certain number of points in order to be taken. These point limits usually refer to the points on one antler only, and they are designed to keep deer populations strong. Points are also researched by some biologists who are intrigued about the process of antler formation and the impact of various environmental changes on deer antlers.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 12

I live in the "foothills" of the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. I drive about 30 miles to town. During this trip I often have to stop a few times to let the deer pass. I see many bad collisions due to the large overpopulation of these animals.

I usually have anywhere from 2-20 greet me as I get home. They eat my garden flowers vegetables, tree leaves and even the bird seed. I enjoy the wildlife; I just wish it was thinned out a bit. Many of the animals do not look well; they are skinny with tufts of fur coming out. It is sad. I would be happy to see hunting seasons increased in the area, but too many people don't see the need. Try living in the middle of it, and you will see a different side of things. Something to consider.

Post 11

Do your research, folks. I live here in Arkansas and game and fish says on opening weekend of deer season there are about 400,000 hunters in the woods and only 30 to 35 thousand deer will be taken on opening weekend. The whole season maybe 150,000 deer. And each and every year we keep taking the same amount of deer and they don't run out! That's too funny. Heck, they even have made up hunts in some spots because there are way too many deer and the local folks are tired of them.

God put animals on this planet for us to eat, period. That is why he gave us dominion over them. That is why we are on the

top of the food chain. Game and fish people are making sure each and every year that the deer herds are correct in their given area. That's what they do. Along with the ducks, and the turkey and the geese!
Post 9

@FitzMaurice: I'm with you 500 percent. Humans are a plague on this planet. We should never have been created. All you bloodthirsty "hunters" (cold-hearted murderers) with your boom boom sticks, stealing the lives from beautiful, majestic creatures... If you really think that you're only keeping the numbers down, you're fooling yourselves while you attempt to fool us non-murdering folk. Rather than kill and collect body parts, why don't you "take care" of the real over population problem?

Post 7

@anon132707: - You may think that way until a loved one is actually killed by deer on the road. I lost my brother to a car accident caused by deer. So just because that situation has not affected you, doesn't mean that you should be so nonchalant when it comes to fatalities involving deer. The deer population should be controlled, no question there.

Post 5

@FitzMaurice: If you think deer are being hunted to extinction you should take a drive through Eastern Washington. You can't go a mile without seeing two or three, and you can't go 10 without seeing a carcass on the road. But road collisions aren't the only issue. Many deer populations are too high, which leads to over grazing and starvation.

On the other part of your argument, most hunters hunt for the experience of camping and tracking. Sure, there are a few nutjobs, but aren't there idiots everywhere? Look on the highways! You are far more likely to be killed by an idiot with a car than an idiot with a gun.

@anon132707: Truly you are a remarkable human being. If you hate your humanity so much just do the world a favor and go anhero.

Post 4

So what if some people are getting killed by deer? There are plenty of other humans to take their place. Deer may kill, say, 200 humans each year by causing auto accidents. That means that deer kill about 0.000003 percent of the population. Nothing too much to worry about.

However, the main killer of humans would be the deer's ability to carry disease and other forms illness. Deer are not the only carriers of disease though. Birds, family and exotic pets, and especially the swine population help facilitate viruses crossing species. The obvious solution then would be to kill every species that can not be made immune to carrying disease or that could pose a hazard to human life. Hunting vs not hunting aside, everything in moderation and we cannot screw up too badly.

Post 3

If we did not control the deer, seal, coyote, etc., population, there would be havoc. A friend of mine was just killed in B.C. while riding his motorbike. the deer jumped right out in front of him. Two days before, five people got killed when a group of teens swerved to miss a deer and hit another car head on. Hunting is illegal most times of year but I think it is a pretty humane way to control the population.

Post 2


I think you are terribly mistaken. Deer overpopulation causes more human deaths than hunters ever could. Deer are the number one killer of people in America due to their curiosity and presence on the road. If hunters did not keep them in check, they would be everywhere and would starve to death. Highways everywhere would need to build large stone walls to prevent them from causing a large number of human fatalities. Your reasoning is quite backward, and I don't know what made you think that hunters pose a threat.

Post 1

I fear that deer are being hunted into extinction. Not only that, but hunters pose a major threat to hikers and nature lovers everywhere. What are we to do about this threat? I think hunting should be illegal.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?