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ŠUMARSKI LIST 5-6/2019 str. 10     <-- 10 -->        PDF

The antlers of roe deer bucks (Capreolus capreolus L.) are relatively easily accessible trophy for most hunters. However, although they are relatively simply constructed, the formula for their evaluation is even today largely debated. According to Reichelt (1986) the current formula for evaluation of roe buck antlers was devised in 1927 by the forestry expert Bieger, 46 years after the first guidelines were adopted for evaluation of red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) antlers. It is necessary to mention here that Zoričić (1930) states that, alongside Bieger, Karl Lotze also participated in creating this formula. Guidelines for evaluation of trophies of other European game animals were adopted from a few years to several decades later.
Evaluation of trophies is an “old” discipline which existed before the introduction of internationally recognized formulas. These were introduced in order to standardise the procedure and unify the evaluation of trophies. However, partially due to the vanity of owners of trophies, and partially due to the differences between individual populations, all formulas have certain weaknesses. As a result, the first criticism of “Bieger’s” formula appeared in the middle of the 1930’s. Nadler’s formula for evaluating red deer antlers did not fare any better. Both formulas, in the opinion of some experts, favoured antlers with high trophy value (Lemarie 1935), therefore a major criticism of Bieger’s formula was that it favoured mass and volume (Stubbe 1967, Reichelt 1986). Another point of critics was the excessive number of elements evaluated (Mazurek 1997).
Bearing these failings in mind, already in 1929 Professor Antun Dyk (the president of the Czechoslovakian Chamber of Hunting at that time) at the Forestry Faculty of the University of Brno, proposed a new method for evaluating trophies from red, fallow (Dama dama L.) and roe deer (Lemarie 1935). This method was tested at the hunting exhibitions in Brno (1929 and 1930) but it was never accepted by the CIC.
Bieger’s formula was adopted by the CIC in Prague in 1937, and finally in 1952 in Madrid. From that time until the present day it has not changed very much. In contrast to other wild ruminants, volume of roe deer trophies has remained an element of evaluation. Reading some popular articles (Raić 1970) or handbooks on trophy evaluation (Bieger and Nüßlein 1977) it may be concluded that it was difficult to measure the volume of roe deer antlers, since most hunters or trophy evaluators of that time (especially in hunting societies), did not have hydrostatic scales. Therefore, Raić (1970) made recommendations in the official Croatian hunting journal that capital roe deer trophies should be brought for complete evaluation to the Hunting Association of Croatia. For most wild ruminants, regardless whether they wear horns (Bovidae) or antlers (Cervidae), measurement of volume is compensated for by the girth at one spot (chamois - Rupicapra rupicapra) or at several points on the trophy (European Mouflon - Ovis gmelini musimon). This kind of measurement has never been widely accepted for roe deer. Instead, in order to simplify the evaluation procedure, a variety of coefficients have been developed, of which the best-known is the coefficient of the mass and volume of the antlers.
Studying the correlation of mass and volume of roe deer antlers, Volz found that it is possible to obtain an approximately accurate combined evaluation of mass and volume of the antlers if they are weighed and multiplied by the factor 0.225 (Bieger and Nüßlein 1977). This coefficient gives an approximately accurate value for antlers of average specific weight. However, lighter antlers gave a lower value using this method, while denser antlers are over-valued.
At the 12th CIC General Assembly, held in Arles (France), another proposal to simplify the evaluation of roe deer antlers have been made (Raić 1967). That is to say, it was permitted for trophies with more than 130 CIC points to determine the weight of the antlers and multiply it by the coefficient 0.25. By that way the points for weight and volume were obtained together. At the international exhibition in Novi Sad (Anonymous 1967) it was noticed that this coefficient results in very imprecise values and a complaint was sent to the CIC. At the exhibition in Paris in November 1969 it was decided to retain the Madrid’s formula for evaluation of roe deer, and that volume must be evaluated separately (Raić 1970). Later, at the CIC exhibition in Tehran (1974), the coefficient was reduced to 0.23, or 0.225 in the case of a yearling’s trophy (Bieger and Nüßlein 1977).
The other problem is in measuring of the mass of the trophy. According to the CIC rules, the skull of cervids must be cut off at a frontal level running from the occipital bone and its triangular protrusion (os occipitale, protuberantia occipitalis externa), and the parietal bone (os parietale), through the middle of the eye sockets and the lacrimal bone (os lacrimale) to the nasal bone (os nasale), which remains intact (Hromas et al. 2008). However, the variations of this cut are also present. Therefore it is permitted to evaluate antlers with an intact skull (preserved maxillar teeth), or those with so called shallow cut (a cut along the incisive bone). If the skull is intact, 90 g is subtracted from the total mass of the trophy. The line of the shallow cut leads from the base of the occipital bone (os occipitale, pars basilaris) through the temporal bone (os temporale, pars petrosa) then through the external edge of the upper jaw (maxilla, processus alveolaris), to the lower (ventral) part of the incisive bone (os incisivum) which remains intact. In that case 65 g must be subtracted from the total mass. In the past the cutting of the skull was so unstandardized that a trophy could be cut at the forehead (the old way of processing trophies), and the evaluator would have to add 20 g to the total mass, whilst