But, most deer won't put their ears straight out to the sides for you to get a good estimate. So, I would take that 24", and maybe subtract 3" off each side, for a width of about 18-20" or so from ear tip to ear tip, when judging an animal.
Personally, with whitetail or mulies, any deer that is outside of it's ears gets serious consideration from me. Heck, I'll take any deer period right now...
ok, i guess some of the bucks i have been watching are around 28-30 wide. Sure hope to get a shot at one of them. going to be a tuff hunt with so much land closed off to the public because of the fire burn..
I use the ears as a general guide but they do vary some just like anything else. PLus like was said they can be cocked back or forward some to throw things off. Some deer just have bigger ears than others. It doesn't matter to me as if it looks big it is big and that enough. I would love to get a huge one but pretty much take anything with 4points on a side if I see one. And every few years on the last weekend a couple of forkies have fallen as well.
Good luck on getting a trophie though. 30 inches seems to be the benchmark people throw out for a huge buck but there are many more variables than that. My widest buck is a 27 inch 3x3 taht would score very poorly but my best buck is only around a 22 inch 4x4 and scores about 170.
There can be too much of a good thing with antler rattling.
I like to hit the horns together for a good 30- to 40-second rattling sequence and then hang them up and resist the urge to hit them again.
This works to the hunter's advantage, because if a buck has heard it, he may have been 300 or 400 yards away and he comes in and he's not exactly sure where it came from.
When finally is time to rattle again throw a slight change-up into the routine.
The second time, don't rattle as loud...