J. Martino; Bob Graber provides service to Hunters

Bob Graber provides service to hunters By: John Martino If you were fortunate in taking a good sized buck you’ll no doubt receive congratulatory remarks. But inevitably someone will sooner or later ask “what did it score?” There are official scoring methods for any animal sporting antlers, whether it’s mule or whitetail deer, elk, moose, pronghorn antelope, caribou, etc. Scoring an animal takes some practice and two people could measure the same antlers and still come up with a different score. There are actually several different scoring methods but the the most widely recognized and accepted is the Boone and Crockett. The same can be said about record books. Boone and Crockett takes into account an animal harvested with archery, black powder and modern firearms. Pope and Young only recognizes animals taken with archery equipment and Longhunter, those taken with black powder equipment. Then for Hoosiers there is the Indiana record book which accepts deer taken within Indiana boundaries. The Boone and Crockett system basically includes a variety of measurements to tally a final total. Some of these measurements include individual tine lengths, main beam length, circumference and inside spread. Antlers must receive a 60 day drying period before scores can be considered. Accurately scoring any animal consistently can be a painstaking process. It takes training and practice. Before an animal can be listed in any record book it must exceed certain requirements and be scored by someone who is certified. In this area that man is Bob Graber. To become certified Graber had to attend weeks of classes. In Indiana there are less than 20 people who are actually certified to complete the process. “Several years back I had to fly to Great Falls, Montana to attend a five day class on my own dime,” said Graber. This does not take into account other days spent attending classes to become certified for other record books. A resident of Peru, Graber achieved his certifications in the mid 1980’s and has been helping hunters since then. He travels to many outdoor shows measuring deer plus spends countless hours with other individuals. He does this all for free. Although some may provide a small gratuity for his service, the only mandatory fee is owed to the record book to have your name included. “The main reason I do this is because I love scoring deer and hearing their stories,” he explained. “I would not have met the people I have if I hadn’t become a certified scorer,” he added. “Hunters are some of the greatest people.” Graber is a self-employed contractor by trade but finds measuring deer antlers in his spare time a passion. “I love seeing big deer that people take and love talking to them,” he said. “The only thing I don’t like is scoring deer taken from deer farms and high-fenced hunting areas,” he mentioned. “These deer are raised in captivity and I like deer that are free range and totally natural.” Incidentally, bucks taken from high-fenced operations are not eligible for most record books. Graber takes his skill on the road spending roughly 20 to 30 days travelling to other counties scoring deer for successful hunters. He also drives to neighboring states like Michigan and Kentucky. “One of my favorites is scoring great bucks taken by women and children,” he said. “It really makes their day when they make any of the record books.” Graber tells of one story when a grandfather had a record book buck mounted and displayed in his house for many years. “The grandfather eventually passed away and his wife put the mount on a trash pile located on their property. She didn’t want to keep it in the house any longer,” he explained. A couple days later the grandson went to get the mounted deer to keep in memory of his grandfather. “The kid totally freaked out when he learned where his grandmother had put the deer,” Graber continued, shaking his head. “Thankfully the boy rushed outside and grabbed the mounted trophy before his grandmother lit the pile on fire.” With all the services provided to hunters, those like Graber deserve huge thanks. Many times it is these types of people who help hunters on a strictly volunteer basis who deserve the biggest appreciation.