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Old 11-26-2008, 07:07 AM   #1
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Default Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

Guys,
I took the jaw bone from the deer I shot this year to a good friend of mine to see what he thought it's age was. This guy is more experienced than I am when it comes to old deer. He has hunted the same area that I am since the seventies. He has also taken a lot of P&Y bucks and a couple of B&C non-typicals. In short, I believe that he knows what he's talking about.

Based on him seeing the deer and the jaw bone, he came up with 8 1/2 like I did. When we age a deer, we look at many different things. Antler mass, shape and size along with body size andshape, foot wear. One more thing we've been looking at is the thickness of the skull plates. The thinking is that as the buck gets older, his skull plate thickens. This one is over 3/8" thick. Any thoughts on this? This does not imply that we are 100% accurate, but I think we are in the ball park. Another thing to take into consideration is the location and available food sources for the deer. Where this buck lived the soil and food are not as harsh on the teeth as a sandy soiled or total browse location.

The pics are not as good as I thought. They leave out a lot of 3-d detail. Maybe I'll try again.

First a 6 1/2 year old



His jaw bone



Another




8 1/2 year old



Jaw bone



Another



Can you see the difference?

Here's a pic of the front teeth. These really start to wear down as the deer ages. Older one is on the right, the teeth are a lot smaller.



Here's a pic of where the jaw was broken.




While these are my best guesstimates, I'm going to look into sending in the teeth for a X-section analysis.

What do you guys think?
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:11 AM   #2
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Default RE: Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

Yeah send them off, most state biologist will do them.

I have a had a few jawbones that i thought were younger/older that came back different. Alot comes down to diet, Mtn deer eating nuts might have more wear then swamp deer eating green vegatation.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:12 AM   #3
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Default RE: Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

I have very little experience in this arena. What I see, are two deer that needed better dental coverage. The plaque is out of control, obviously no flossing.

Other than that...they are definitely bucks, judging by the racks, probably not 1.5, although some people lately may disagree.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:17 AM   #4
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Default RE: Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

Greg:

I just sent an email to my buddy Dan (Jawshooter) to look at this thread. He went to school for this stuff and worked for NY State for quite a while aging deer. He also has experience aging older deer. It would be interesting to compare his thoughts with yours and your buddies.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:25 AM   #5
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Default RE: Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

Greg, those are some incredible pics and comparisons, very informative. I wonder how long that bucks jaw had been broken. 8.5 years is the oldest buck anyone I know has ever shot. In MD the DNRused to collect teeth and do an age guestimate when checking deer in, but we dont have mandatory checking stations anymore, all done online or via a phone call. This is a big mistake IMO. Thanks Greg, awesome post and pics.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:27 AM   #6
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Default RE: Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

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ORIGINAL: YooperMike

not 1.5, although some people lately may disagree.

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Old 11-26-2008, 08:11 AM   #7
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Default RE: Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

I notice the jaw bone of the younger deer shows a huge difference from one side to the other. This is one of the problems with trying to age deer from teeth alone. Each deer has different chewing style which can affect tooth wear. Some deer simply chew more than others. Obviously this is an extreme example of this deer preferring one side, but I think it"ôs interesting.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:32 AM   #8
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Default RE: Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

Greg- From the limited knowledge I have on the subject I think you're a bit high in both cases. The first jaw I'd guess at 4.5-5.5. The second I guess at 5.5-6.5. Definately not enough tooth wear for 8.5.
Here's a couple links that may help. Keep in mind that soil types and food sources from different regions will affect tooth wear, but these are pretty accurate. I'd have your local wildlife biologist take a look.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_0755.pdf

http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/mammals/deerteth/ages.htm

http://www.whitetails.com/deer_info/age_determination.cfm

*edit- after looking a bit more carefully at your pics, I adjusted my guestimates
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:58 AM   #9
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Default RE: Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

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Greg- From the limited knowledge I have on the subject I think you're a bit high in both cases. The first jaw I'd guess at 4.5. The second I guess at 5.5. Definately not enough tooth wear for 8.5.
Here's a couple links that may help. Keep in mind that soil types and food sources from different regions will affect tooth wear, but these are pretty accurate. I'd have your local wildlife biologist take a look.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_0755.pdf

http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/mammals/deerteth/ages.htm

http://www.whitetails.com/deer_info/age_determination.cfm
I realize that the tooth wear doesn't look all that extreme in the pics, you have to see them in person. I have jaw bones from 2 1/2, 3 1/2, 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 year old deer that I used for comparrison also. As stated above, the area where these deer are from is not that hard on their teeth compared to other areas.

I saw both deer the year before I shot them, they were older than 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 when I saw them for the first time.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:57 AM   #10
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Default RE: Aging deer (Jaw bone pics)

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Greg- From the limited knowledge I have on the subject I think you're a bit high in both cases. The first jaw I'd guess at 4.5. The second I guess at 5.5. Definately not enough tooth wear for 8.5.
Here's a couple links that may help. Keep in mind that soil types and food sources from different regions will affect tooth wear, but these are pretty accurate. I'd have your local wildlife biologist take a look.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_0755.pdf

http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/mammals/deerteth/ages.htm

http://www.whitetails.com/deer_info/age_determination.cfm
I realize that the tooth wear doesn't look all that extreme in the pics, you have to see them in person. I have jaw bones from 2 1/2, 3 1/2, 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 year old deer that I used for comparrison also. As stated above, the area where these deer are from is not that hard on their teeth compared to other areas.

I saw both deer the year before I shot them, they were older than 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 when I saw them for the first time.
As I said Greg, I'm definately no expert butdueto my profession in pathologyI have quite an interest in this subject. It is a well known that rack size, deer weight, coat color, and overall appearance can give a general 'young deer'or'mature age' classification, but nothing more.
While tooth wear aging isa much better indicator, there are geographic variations in this methodas well.The dentine thickness compared to the enamel thickness is the keycomponent of this techniquealong with how much the last cusp of the back molar slopes down. One thing is for certain, regardless of locationan 8.5 y/o deer has extreme wear to the point ofcupped dishes for mid molars, and yours doesn't look anything like that to me, but a wildlife biologist could tell you more. The front incisor analysis would certainly be the best way to go in the case of both jaws you pictured. Let me know if you get this done, or if you get a local biologist to examine yours as I'm very interested in what they'd conclude.
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