Rack-Scoring Contest: The Winners Are…

March_31_06 I hadn’t seen this monster until I received my March 2006 Outdoor Life (page 39 with my story “Nice Rack”). The OL editors/designers must have been going stir-crazy up in their cubicles on Park Ave. last winter, so they decided to throw us a curve with this Photoshopped mother. They even hired Mr. Smug (actor, no hunter) to stand with the fake behometh. My editors are always crying about how hard they work up in NYC, but seems to me they have too much free time on their hands.

Anyhow, I took one look at the wide freak and screamed 300 INCHES! Close to 100 of you did the same, so I don’t feel so bad. No doubt, the shock value of the computer-enlarged beams (50-plus-inch spread on the magazine version!) caused a lot of you to guess high.

Weird. When we took the magazine photo and downloaded it to the Zone, the rack shrunk. Inside spread went down to 37″. Somehow the 10×9 morphed to an 8×7. Will one of you computer geeks please explain that? So if you scored the magazine buck, sorry, you’re probably high and out of luck. My rules–I asked you to score the virtual rack.

Hundreds of you did, it was fun!

OK, the score. Our all-star panel, which included some of the top big-buck hunters, guides and biologists in the country, came up with (drum roll please) 245 inches. Of the 5 scores I got from the pros, 3 were within 1 3/8″. Amazing considering the variables! I threw out the high and low scores and used the average of those 3 to get to 245.

I hear some of you belly-aching, “No way dude, he’s bigger than that.” I explain.

To get the spread of 37″, lay a piece of white paper over the top of the buck’s ears and mark it from ear tip to ear tip–that is your 18″ marker. On that same paper, measure the length of one ear; mark that 6″. Using those markers as your ruler, score spread, tines and main beams again and see what you come up with this time.

You might still be a little to a lot high. I checked the rack on 4 desktops/laptops and the tines appeared 2 to 3 inches longer or shorter on all 4, depending on the size and clarity of the monitor. Computer geek input again? Also, some tines blend together, and the beam tips curve way up. There is a lot here to affect your score guesses. Hey, I never said it would be easy.

The winners: 250, Camomal (email handle); 250.5, Jeff Abbuehl (Jeff was the first person to guess and comment); and 251 1/8, Cathy Fank. Jeff Dammann from NJ wrote that he was no expert on scoring racks, but he’d go with 238 3/8. That’s pretty darn good for a novice. I’d hate to see Jeff get edged out by a couple of eighths, so I’m declaring him a winner too. Way to go! Caps and books on the way soon.

Again, thanks ya’ll, we’ll do something similar soon.