Video: How to Score a Bear Skull

While scoring antlers is a long and complicated process, scoring bears for record books like Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young simply requires two skull measurements. The skull is a good tool for comparison because it’s the most accurate way to compare bears to each other. Skulls must be dried for 60 days to be officially measured.

Use a pair of calipers to take the measurements then use a hard tape measure to mark to the sixteenth of an inch. If you don’t have calipers, two books will work.

Take one measurement from the occipital bone in the back of the skull to the furthest point in the front, which is usually the teeth. The second measurement is between the zygomatic arches (cheekbones). Adding these measurements together gets you the score to see how your bear sizes up.


Viper HD 15-45x65mm Angled Spotting Scope
Save this product
Vortex Optics
Magnification: 15-45x, Objective Lens Diameter: 65 mm, Linear Field of View: 136.5-67.8 ft/1000 yds, Angular Field of View: 2.6-1.3 degrees, Close Focus: 23 feet, Eye Relief: 17.8-19.6 mm, Length: 14 inches, Weight: 59 oz
Ridgeview Carbon Tripod and Pan Head
Save this product
Vortex Optics
For higher performance at higher heights and features to get low when you need it, Ridgeview Carbon is designed to set a new standard in stability.
Steep Country Knife
Save this product
A versatile fixed-blade capable of performing throughout any season, on any species.
MeatEater Hunter Series Acute Trauma Care Kit
Save this product
North American Rescue
Lifesaving gear for severe injuries, gunshot wounds, broken bones, and major blood loss.
Get the latest in your inbox
Subscribe to our newsletters to receive regular emails with hand-picked content, gear recommendations, and special deals.
Our picks for the week's best content and gear
For the whitetail obsessed, with Mark Kenyon
Redefining our connection to food, with Danielle Prewett
Your one-stop for everything waterfowl, with Sean Weaver
Get out on the water with the MeatEater Fishing crew
Technical hunting apparel
Purpose-built accessories for hunting and fishing
Quality elk, turkey, waterfowl, and deer calls
Save this article