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Trophy scoring - Douglas Score | New Zealand Deerstalkers Association Inc
Trophy Scoring Douglas Score

There are several trophy scoring systems used around the world but the NZDA uses the Douglas Scoring system known as ‘the Douglas Score’ or ‘DS’ for short.  

The system used by hunters depends on their jurisdiction and which species is being measured. Some systems favour mass (weight) of the head, others the number of tines. NZDA’s chosen system, the Douglas Score, favours symmetry and only applies to the big game species found in New Zealand.

The three most commonly used systems are:

  • Douglas Score, used by NZDA and most New Zealand hunters for our big game species. Also used in Australia.
  • SCI, used by American hunters but also the method used by safari hunting businesses in New Zealand.
  • CIC, used in Europe. The CIC trophy scoring system incorporates the skull and antler weight into the final score.

The Douglas Scoring system puts emphasis on symmetry and “typical” head shape and structure. All measurements are imperial units (inches and one-eighth of an inch), which are added up to give a total score in inches. e.g. 350 1/8”. Penalties apply in some situations.

Douglas Score

This is the scoring system used for trophies obtained by free range hunting in New Zealand. It is also used in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

NZDA oversees the training of measurers, the measurement of trophies submitted by Branches and maintains a master list of trophies and scores.

NZDA keeps the official New Zealand big game animal records.

There is an annual “Antler, Horn and Tusk” trophy competition for Members to enter their heads through their Branch.

Winners are judged and announced at National Conference each year.

Contact your Branch for more information on Douglas Scoring, if you are interesting in learning more or want a head scored officially.

More about the Douglas Score

The Douglas Score is a system for measuring and evaluating antlers, horns and tusks of New Zealand big game animals by symmetrical size.

The system was devised by the late Norman Douglas who first used it at the Waikato Branch of NZDA on the 25th of June 1949 for judging their trophy entries. On the 2nd of August 1958 NZDA formally adopted it for use as the official measuring system.

A booklet The Douglas Score was published in 1959 and is now in its 3rd edition and is available from the national office of NZDA along with the appropriate tape measures. They are a must have if you wish to become an official Douglas Score measurer. All measurements are taken using the Imperial system using inches.

It is a simple formula whereby the length of antlers horns and tusks are taken together with the measurements of the tines and beams. The shortest measurement from either side is then doubled giving a symmetrical size to be entered in the score column. When all measurements are taken and added together a final score can then be achieved. All measurements are taken to the nearest one eighth of an inch.

Additional measurements on antlers for spread and span are also taken and these contribute to the score. On Fallow deer, palm length and width with and without points are also taken and the shortest measurements are doubled. There is a set of spread ratio for all antler trophies and by following them a spread and span factor is achieved.

Horns are measured over the outside curve and around the bases. In wild sheep and goats the spread measurement is also taken.

No spread measurement is applied to chamois, tahr, sheep or pig tusks.

Pig tusks are measured either in the jaw or extracted, i.e. drawn and undrawn.

Douglas Score seminars

Seminars are held on a regular basis through the NZDA national office at different Branches throughout the country. A typical seminar would start with an introductory talk by a coordinating tutor on the history of the Douglas Score and a general outline of the procedures to be followed during the course. All trainees are tutored on how to measure the different species of game animals in NZ. Certificates are issued to those who have qualified to become official measurers. There are five different levels that can be obtained with coordinating tutor being the highest.

The value of a trophy head is in the eye of the beholder regardless of the score it achieves but having a consistent measuring system like the Douglas Score ensures the recording by symmetrical size can be referenced long after a trophy has been lost in say a fire etc.

Minimum entry score for the Record Book by big game species

The following are minimum Douglas Scores required for trophy inclusion in the NZDA New Zealand Game Trophy Record Book:

Big Game Species Minimum Douglas Score
Chamois 27 or more than 10” long
Fallow Deer 200
Feral Goat 100 or more than 30” spread
Feral Pig tusks (drawn) 28 or more than 7 ½” long
Feral Pig tusks (undrawn) 20 or more than 3” long
Red Deer 300
Rusa Deer 160
Sambar Deer 200
Feral Sheep 70
Sika Deer 170
Himalayan Tahr 40 or more than 13” long
Wapiti / Elk / Fiordland Deer 380
Whitetail Deer 120