Warren Hill, president of the Manitoba Big Game Trophy Association and an official Boone and Crockett Club scorer, says many hunters who travel to northern Manitoba to hunt caribou are from the United States and haven't hunted big game species other than white-tailed deer, mule deer or elk. "I think whitetail hunters, especially, are conditioned to look at the top of the rack and often overestimate trophy potential in caribou," he said. "When sizing up a caribou, the bottom of the rack is extremely important to the overall score. What's down below separates an average bull from a great bull."
On the bez portion alone—the part of the rack that grows forward from the main beam, just above the brow palm—you receive credit for the length out to the tip of the longest point on the front, and for the number of points on each bez. But it's the brow, Hill says, that can really make or break the trophy potential of a bull caribou. "If you have a brow that's 12 inches wide and of average length, say 20 inches, you get 12 inches for the width and 20 inches for the length, plus a 1-inch credit for each point ½-inch or longer. So a good brow can easily score 30 or more inches."
B&C recognizes five individual antler features that figure into the scoring of caribou. No other antlered species shows greater variety in the development of antler points. For this reason there's no such thing as an abnormal point on a caribou. A point is defined as any projection at least ½-inch long, and longer than it is wide at any length of ½-inch or more, measuring from the tip.
A caribou's overall score is determined by adding up the inches of these five main antler features:
1. A main beam that arises from the skull and grows outward and backward, and then usually forward to a tip.
2. A brow palm, sometimes called a "shovel," is often found on only one antler that projects in a perpendicular fashion forward over the face and might show any stage of development from a single spike, to a many-pointed broad palm.
3. A bez point growing forward from the main beam just above the brow palm, usually with two or more branches and often showing some palmation.
4. A rear point, sometimes referred to as a "back scratcher," that usually develops as an unbranched spike projecting backward from about the middle of the main beam.
5. A series of distinct, separate points that develop at the top of the antler's main beam, with the beam often showing distinct palmation at this location.