One of the most fun aspects of hunting camp is when I am scoring a buck and I find that every hunter in camp gravitates toward the challenge of guessing the actual gross score of the bucks we harvest. Generally, as bucks are scored in the headlights of a truck while hanging from the buck pole, a friendly yet competitive wager on the actual score of the harvested buck begins. It will range from $5 to $100 per hunter. It is in this moment where comrades become foes, pinning down the next hunter‚Äôs estimate by +/- 1‚Äù.
The headlight-beamed, friendly wagers, and reward of the effort put into each and every hunt is where we came up with the idea of ‚ÄúGuess the SCI Score.‚Äù Why not bring this experience to a local level at each SCI chapter fundraiser? So, we did!
This past year, we developed a plan with Stephanie Carabeo, Chris Emery, Jessica Ross and Michael Roqueni at SCI HQ in Tucson to create a SCI branded game of skill. A predetermined amount of the proceeds would go to the local SCI Chapter hosting the event. We had a sign made that depicted the simple rules of the game:
- $10 per guess
- Closest guess to Official SCI score without going over wins 50% of pot
- Each guess based on 1/8‚Äù of antler
- Only 1 guess allowed per unique score
The concept was premiered at the SCI Flint Regional Chapter Banquet with a very unique buck, shot on Monarch Rivers property. The buck is a non-typical deer scored by Ryan Peyton of Sunry‚Äôs Archery in Fenton, MI prior to the fundraiser event. Ryan is a certified SCI scorer and active participant within the SCI Flint Regional Chapter. A score sheet that allowed for one unique guess per 1/8-inch of antler from 125 to 200 inches was created. The deer was displayed in an exhibitor space on a pedestal next to the sign we created depicting the rules.
From there the fun began. Guests, industry professionals and vendors attending the event were able to make as many unique guesses as they wished, all to raise money to support common beliefs. And, the competition for some became fierce.¬†¬† Do realize that for each inch of antler, that is eight unique guesses. For every 10 inches of antler at $10 per guess, that is $800 to be raised.
Guests at the event were placing multiple guesses. Vendors were competing against each other. It seemed to gather a lot of momentum during the fundraiser dinner after individuals had the opportunity to think about what their guess would be. The winner was finally announced near the end of the auction. There were a total of 62 guesses made and the winning guess received $310.
The next SCI event we were able to attend was the SCI Southeast Michigan Bowhunters‚Äô 25th Annual Chapter Fundraiser. At this event, we brought another IL Monarch buck were able to apply some of the things we learned from the first event and are probably some good tips for anyone who puts together a similar game of skill:
- Put the trophy behind a table out of reach of the participants — people will touch the mount if you let them.
- Provide some literature on the SCI Scoring System. Chris Emery and his team were very helpful in producing a FAQ sheet that highlights the SCI Scoring System.
- Determine Typical vs. Non-Typical score card and promote the difference to participants.
What I learned from this experience is that there is so much room to further promote the SCI Scoring System and its advantages. An educational opportunity exists to help hunters judge the caliber of animal they are hunting. Remember, hunting is meant to be fun. It was enjoyable to hear the ribbing ensue amongst industry professionals as to whose guess was closer, and seeing how far off many of them were.¬†¬† This raffle can work with any species and create a fun atmosphere to educate members at the same time.–Aaron Quilan