Estimating deer weight

By David Payne
Contributing Writer

While counting a deer’s antler points is relatively simple, estimating a deer’s weight usually involves a great deal of (usually inaccurate) guesswork. Estimating deer weight, however, doesn’t have to be a guessing game.

Decades ago, West Virginia biologists developed a fairly-accurate system for estimating deer weight – they actually do this sort of thing for a living – using nothing but a tape measure.

Biologists noticed that there was a direct correlation between the chest girth of a deer and its weight and spent quite a bit of time studying it. To estimate how much a deer will weigh, use a tape measure to measure the deer’s girth around the chest (the tape measure will go all the way around the deer). A deer with a chest girth of 26 inches will weigh 46 pounds dressed. For each inch of girth over 26, add six pounds for an estimate of dressed weight. To estimate live weight, multiply the estimated dressed weight by 1.25.

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