I cheated on this one.
I already know the measurements. We took this buck on the Arizona auction tag with John Koster just a few days ago. Obviously, we thought he was big enough for a Special Commissioners Tag, but I'll share with you the results of the poll, what my thoughts were before we killed the buck, and what his actual measurements were.
First I'll post the average of the crowd sourced votes:
Length: 15 0/8
Prong: 6 0/8
Base: 7 1/8
1st Q: 7 1/8
2nd Q: 4 5/8
3rd Q: 3 2/8
Score: 86 2/8
You can guess that we thought this buck was much larger than the crowd since we opted to hunt him with the Special Commissioner Tag hunter. My guess for this buck was 90 6/8. Like always I try to guess on the low side of possible outcomes. Here are the body measurements I used to formulate my guess.
Eye to Eye: 5.43
Most of these measurements appeared low to me given that the buck is from Arizona and appeared to have "Dumbo" ears, but they averaged out nicely and encapsulated a wide range of possible outcomes so I used them. Also, even though they appeared to be low they still gave the buck an overall score of 90 6/8!
Length: I had the buck at 16 2/8, 1 2/8 longer than the crowd. You can see from the chart below that almost everyone guessed him at 15 4/8 or shorter. I believe the major discrepancy here lies in the fact that he looks very short from the front view. In fact, when we first saw the buck standing there looking at us we thought he looked like a heavy 13 inch buck. But when he turned sideways things changed a lot. We could see that his prongs were as high up as his ears were long. This meant that if his ears were 7 1/8, then his TP would also be about 7 1/8. He also kicks back quite a bit on the length past the prong. It's definitely over an inch longer than the TP measurement - maybe as much as two inches.
This is one of those bucks that you have to completely disregard what you think about his length from when he's looking at you. All of this bucks length is seen from the side view and none of it from the front view.
Prong: I had the same guess as the crowd on this measurement. If you've been following along you'll probably notice which of the measurements on pronghorn is the easiest to get right by now. It's the prong! I guessed 6 inches based on his left prong, which I felt was a bit shorter than his right prong.
Bottom Mass: I guessed the bases at 7 5/8 which is half an inch larger than the crowd. I actually thought the bases looked larger than that. From the side they're clearly half an inch wider than the eye is across. And from the front they look as wide as his nose! They basically looked like 8 inch bases. The reason I gave them "only" 7 5/8 is because, of all the 90 inch bucks ever killed in Arizona, only 5 bucks have had bases as large as 7 6/8 and only one has ever had an 8 inch base. That means that 8 inches is very rare territory. So rare that it's almost never even been done.
Top Mass: I had the buck at 8 1/8, the crowd had 7 7/8. Not a huge difference here.
If you add all my measurements together they total 90 6/8.
Boy was I wrong!
I don't know why the crowd was so far off, but I know exactly why I was - his short ear was 7 5/8 and his face was 8 (his long ear was 8 inches - third longest ear we've ever measured). His eye was 1 7/8, his chest 17, and his eye to eye 5 4/8. This was a giant bodied antelope!
His horns were larger than we expected, but exactly what we were hoping for.
As ridiculous as the following photos look, the buck seems even bigger in person!
The moral of the story is this: I see hunters on the forums always tell other hunters that they'll "know a big one when they see one". It's simply not true. When 80 different people, on average, under judge a buck by 10 inches, you know these creatures are one of the most difficult to field judge in world. Sometimes a big one will look big, but sometimes it will basically be a World's Record and you won't even know.
As many readers suspected we were targeting the buck in Poll #1 for one of our hunters. We took him July 5th at 7:15 AM from 235 yards away. Dr. David Meyer used his custom Norma 6XC shooting 105 grain Berger bullets.
Dr. Meyer's buck had these body measurements:
Eye: 1 7/8
Ear: 7 2/8
Face: 7 6/8
Eye to Eye: 5 3/8
Chest: 15 4/8
The ear may be a tad long and the face a tad short, but overall they're very normal measurements for Arizona which makes it much easier to field judge correctly.
All scores are green scores and subject to way too much excitement and blurry vision and high-fiving, etc...
The buck did seem to grow since I took the pictures that were posted in the first poll. Those pictures were taken on June 4th, 32 days before the green score. In those 32 days it appears, from the photos, that the buck grew anywhere from 2/8 to 6/8 inches of length. This means that most all of us, on average, probably nailed the length when we guessed 16 3/8. If we were under a smidgen that's OK, too, since it's better than guessing too big and being disappointed.
His long prong is probably closer to the crowd's guess of 6 2/8, but his short prong (the one B&C cares about) is closer to my guess of 6. However, both guesses were basically right on the money given each one nailed one of the two prongs.
Bottom Mass: 14 6/8
The crowd was pretty close on this as well with a guess of 14 1/8. My guess was 14 7/8. His base did tighten up just a bit before we killed him as we suspected it might.
Top Mass: Almost 9!
This is the one where the crowd and I both guessed too low. We may have misplaced the tape by a few eighths since we didn't measure the exact spot to put the measurements, but the prong ended up over 8 inches high which puts that 2nd Q measurement nearly right on top of the prong. You can see from the ground photo that right above the prong is as wide as the buck's eye is across. Any time you can get that measurement to fall on top of the prong it will be a lot bigger than even just a half inch up.
All of this adds up to around 93 inches.
Field Judging Poll #3 didn't go as well as the first two. We only had 24 votes and I think the lack of voters skewed the results. Here they are:
Length: 15 6/8
Prong: 6 2/8
Total Length: 22
Base: 6 7/8
1st: 6 7/8
Bottom Mass: 13 6/8
2nd: 3 7/8
3rd: 2 7/8
Top Mass: 6 6/8
Score: 84 6/8
On the surface none of these results seem out of the ordinary, but let's dig a little deeper.
Length: I think this is actually pretty accurate, but I disagree with it. I've looked at the buck over and over and he looks a lot longer than that to me. When I break it down I come up with 6 4/8 TP and 9 5/8 PP for 16 1/8. Sometimes he looks even longer than that to me, but given the crowd has him at 15 6/8 I'll shy away from the higher numbers I was thinking of. By season he may put on another 2/8 - 4/8. Fingers crossed.
Prong: I think the crowds number is low here as well. I see about 4 OH with a typical 2 4/8 BP for a 6 4/8 prong. If we look at his left side profile I see about 2 eyes worth of prong OH. His right prong has always looked shorter to me, but I have a theory about that and it leads me to believe that both prongs are usually similar in length unless there's an obvious difference.
Bottom Mass: I think this is close, but if we remember the field judging tip during poll #2 (low, big prongs = increasing 1st Q measurement) then we'll probably see something more along the lines of a 6 6/8 base and 7 first quarter. Or if we scale it up a 6 7/8 and 7 1/8 or 7 and 7 2/8. You get the idea.
Top Mass: I think this will be 7+. Most mature big Arizona bucks have at least 7 of top mass and this buck doesn't look any different to me.
My numbers total about 87. My individual numbers aren't much different, but when you add them all together it turns out to be quite a bit. He looks even larger than 87 to me at times but I'll try to err on the side of caution.