New gadget hones on deer racks from afar
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Liars beware: your stories may soon be put to the test.
Hunters — like fishermen describing the one that got away — sometimes see a big buck and, in their excitement, overestimate just how large it was.
There was no way to dispute those stories in the past, save by shooting the deer and measuring its rack. But that's no longer true.
A Westmoreland County native has created a software program that can examine a deer's rack and be 98 percent accurate in telling you what its gross Boone & Crockett score would be.
"It's a fun tool," said Jeremy Flinn, a 26-year-old Manor native who developed Buckscore while working on his master's degree in wildlife biology at Mississippi State University. "People are always talking about seeing this deer or that deer and guessing how big it is and what it might score. This can give you that answer, while the deer is still alive."
The program works using photos. You take pictures of a deer — caught on a trail camera, for example — and load it into the program. It asks you to trace the deer's main beams, its points and its inside spread, then turns that into a three-dimensional image, "as if you had that rack in your hands," said Flinn, who now lives near Louisville.
From there, it gives you a score.
With a single picture from either the side, front or a 45-degree angle, the program can be 95 percent accurate, Flinn said. With all three photos, it can be 98 percent accurate.
The system is based on deer's facial features. Base data was collected from the racks and faces of 600 mounted deer, sedated deer from a research facility and 110 deer from Pennsylvania.
The result is a program that is not only fun, but has real-life applications, said Toxie Givens, a website developer, hunter and blogger from Jacksonville, Fla., who's been using Buckscore.
"It's a real good tool for managing your herd or for just looking at the size of deer you have," said Givens. "To be able to look at your deer and score them pretty accurately, it's educational."
Flinn marketed Buckscore at the Quality Deer Management Association's fall convention, at the SHOT Show — the hunting industry's annual convention in Las Vegas — this past week, and will spend four days at the Eastern Sports, Travel and Outdoors Show in Harrisburg next month. The big push to sell Buckscore will begin this summer, in the run-up to deer season, though, he said.
Bushnell Outdoor Products, an industry giant best known for its optics, thinks it will take off, and has agreed to partner in its promotion.
Flinn, who shares royalties with Mississippi State University, is hoping — and expecting — it will do well.
"It doesn't matter if you're scoring 150-class bucks or typical 8-points, everyone can use it and still have fun figuring out just what's out there," he said.Additional Information:
Buckscore is available for Windows-based systems now. A Mac version and even a phone app are in the works, though.
Copies are $10 at www.buckscore.com . That entitles buyers to unlimited use, so you can score one deer or 1,000, with each score taking three to four minutes to complete.
Best of all, once you've initially downloaded the program, you no longer need to be connected to the Internet to make it work, so you can score deer at home, at camp or anywhere else.
Anyone wanting to talk to Flinn can see him at the QDMA booth at the Harrisburg outdoor show Feb. 5, 6 and 7.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Study of vets supports PB pills, genetic variations linked to Gulf War illness
- Bloomfield bookstore owner bucks naysayers
- ‘Free’ wine kiosk initiative costs state Liquor Control Board $300K
- LaBar: Like it or not, Reigns is rising with Royal Rumble win
- Starkey: Rinaldo doesn’t belong in NHL
- Legislators receive committee assignments
- Storm could drop 4-6 inches of snow on Pittsburgh area
- Rossi: Crosby’s debt to NHL paid in full
- Numine man survives crash into icy river
- Pittsburgh diocese campaign big success
- Delmont man blogs about industrial history of region, exploring long-cold coke ovens