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Deer Weight? How to Estimate?

Old 12-09-2011, 04:09 AM
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Default Deer Weight? How to Estimate?

Last week a neighbor shot a buck we have been watching for 6 years. This was an absolutely huge-bodied buck. By the time I got down there with a scale, the deer was already skinned out. The head, cape and legs were thrown out.

I measured the chest behind the shoulders and the girth was 48 inches. Now this was a measurement without any fat, skin or hair so I imagine the girth would have been well into the 50s.

I weighed the carcass, which had no legs and the head and neck were both gone. Cut off at the shoulders. That weighed 140lbs.

What do you think this guy weighed live?
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:01 AM
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Hmmmmmm. thats very tough to tell from a description, although you did give a very good and detailed description. As far as the girth of his chest, I'm guessing that his chest would have been anywhere between 51-54 inches with the hide back on before he was skinned. As far as not having a neck or head, that also depends on the girth of his neck and also the length. Not all deer have the same length neck and as far as girth goes, a rutted out buck can have an enormous neck in comparison to his normal neck size during other parts of the year. Typically when a buck is all rutted out and he is approaching the end of the rut, he is lighter in weight than he is before the season due to breeding, fighting, and a lot of times going without food for days in search of his mate/ many mates. The question about legs is, where all of his legs off, or just the front legs and he was still hanging from the back legs while they skinned him? If he was missing all his legs and his neck and head and weighed 140 pounds, that would make him a monster!!!!!! If he was just missing his front legs and head and neck, he would have weighed a good amount too. I can shed "some" insight to you as far as chest size goes and weights, but I feel that it would not be 100% accurate due to some deer being longer than others and some being shorter. Just for record keeping sake, I ALWAYS used to measure deer around the chest if I shot them. And occasionally, when a large deer was brought in for us to process, we would measure the chest. In All cases when we measured the deer weighed over 180 pounds field dressed. In 1997 I shot a deer that weighed 181 pounds field dressed, he had a 53" chest when I measured him. In 1995, I shot a deer that weighed 237 pounds field dressed, he had a 57" chest ...But he was much longer than the deer I shot in 97. On average from my observations, most deer with 50/51" chests or more, weigh over the 180 pound mark ( unless they are incredibly short ) I had the privilege of processing and caping out a deer shot by a hunter on Prince Edward Island back in 1996. We measured the chest at 56" but the deer was VERY short and weighed 186 pounds dressed. It was probably the shortest deer I have ever seen and looked more like a pig with antlers due to it's short body. Almost all the deer that I have measured that weighed over 200 pounds had over 54" chests. In 2000 we processed a deer shot by a good friend of mine that was HUGE!!! the deer had a 55" chest and weigh 214 dressed out, but the deer was also pretty long too, everything about the deer was huge. As you can see from at least some of my recollections that the numbers are not 100% accurate. Not to mention that "most" other measurements taken on deer do not always show accuracy for weight. In 1995 or 1996( I can't remember which) we caped out a deer that weighed 209 pounds ( he had a 33.5" neck !!!!!! ) In all the deer I have ever seen, caped, or processed, I have NEVER seen another deer with an almost 34" neck. The deer I speak of was harvested in Chittenango/ Minoa area in upstate NY. The heaviest deer I have ever seen weighed 258 pounds field dressed and had a 29" neck and was harvested in Lafayette NY. As you can see, ( in this particular case )the lighter deer had the larger neck. The only reason I say this is because I have also measured deer around the chest that where lighter but had slightly larger chest than some heavier deer I have measured. But to be safe, I would probably say that the deer you weighed most likely would have tipped the scales anywhere from 180-205 pounds field dressed
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:14 AM
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Also, if the deer had NO LEGS on him whatsoever....NOT back legs or front legs when you weighed him, he could have weighed upwards to 230 pounds even. A carcass consisting of basically ribs, spine and connective tissues for shoulder areas, minus the total head and neck weighing 140 pounds is a horse!! And an estimate of 215-230 would be more likely ( if all 4 Legs where off )
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:33 AM
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Here's a recent live picture of him and a picture of what we weighed.
Attached Thumbnails Deer Weight?  How to Estimate?-czonka-2011-6.jpg   Deer Weight?  How to Estimate?-czonka-dec-1-resized.jpg  
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:54 AM
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I see from the pictures of him skinned that he is only missing the bottom portions of his legs and the top part and shoulder portion is still intact. From the live pic, it does appear that he has around a 53-54" chest. ( he has that deep hollow chest cavity look ) At least to me ( from what I see in the live cam). His back legs and hips are large ( from what I see in the skinned photo) and he has pretty good length also. I stick with my first estimate and would say that a safe field dressed weight for him is anywhere from 180-205 dressed.

That would equal a live weight of anywhere from 230-260 or so pounds. A 180 pound deer can have around 50 pounds of entrails and organs in him while a 200 pound deer would have slightly more.( About 55-60) At least thats what the experts estimate
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:05 AM
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I've attached a couple of whole body pics of him. These are from 2 years ago. He's always been big-bodied.

The formula we always use for field dressed to live weight has always been dressed weight X 1.25 + 4. Seems to be pretty close. That would put him at 230-260lbs with your guesses of dressed weight.
Attached Thumbnails Deer Weight?  How to Estimate?-2009-czonka-2009.jpg   Deer Weight?  How to Estimate?-2009-czonka-2009-doe.jpg  
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Old 12-09-2011, 03:08 PM
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i dont know how legit this is or what they go by but this may help
http://thunderbucks.com/weightcalc.htm
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Old 12-09-2011, 03:11 PM
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Ghost is accurate here.

Add about 50# (conservative) for the neck plus the hide, (25#+)... maybe 280 or so.
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Old 12-09-2011, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghost of the hardwoods
Hmmmmmm. thats very tough to tell from a description, although you did give a very good and detailed description. As far as the girth of his chest, I'm guessing that his chest would have been anywhere between 51-54 inches with the hide back on before he was skinned. As far as not having a neck or head, that also depends on the girth of his neck and also the length. Not all deer have the same length neck and as far as girth goes, a rutted out buck can have an enormous neck in comparison to his normal neck size during other parts of the year. Typically when a buck is all rutted out and he is approaching the end of the rut, he is lighter in weight than he is before the season due to breeding, fighting, and a lot of times going without food for days in search of his mate/ many mates. The question about legs is, where all of his legs off, or just the front legs and he was still hanging from the back legs while they skinned him? If he was missing all his legs and his neck and head and weighed 140 pounds, that would make him a monster!!!!!! If he was just missing his front legs and head and neck, he would have weighed a good amount too. I can shed "some" insight to you as far as chest size goes and weights, but I feel that it would not be 100% accurate due to some deer being longer than others and some being shorter. Just for record keeping sake, I ALWAYS used to measure deer around the chest if I shot them. And occasionally, when a large deer was brought in for us to process, we would measure the chest. In All cases when we measured the deer weighed over 180 pounds field dressed. In 1997 I shot a deer that weighed 181 pounds field dressed, he had a 53" chest when I measured him. In 1995, I shot a deer that weighed 237 pounds field dressed, he had a 57" chest ...But he was much longer than the deer I shot in 97. On average from my observations, most deer with 50/51" chests or more, weigh over the 180 pound mark ( unless they are incredibly short ) I had the privilege of processing and caping out a deer shot by a hunter on Prince Edward Island back in 1996. We measured the chest at 56" but the deer was VERY short and weighed 186 pounds dressed. It was probably the shortest deer I have ever seen and looked more like a pig with antlers due to it's short body. Almost all the deer that I have measured that weighed over 200 pounds had over 54" chests. In 2000 we processed a deer shot by a good friend of mine that was HUGE!!! the deer had a 55" chest and weigh 214 dressed out, but the deer was also pretty long too, everything about the deer was huge. As you can see from at least some of my recollections that the numbers are not 100% accurate. Not to mention that "most" other measurements taken on deer do not always show accuracy for weight. In 1995 or 1996( I can't remember which) we caped out a deer that weighed 209 pounds ( he had a 33.5" neck !!!!!! ) In all the deer I have ever seen, caped, or processed, I have NEVER seen another deer with an almost 34" neck. The deer I speak of was harvested in Chittenango/ Minoa area in upstate NY. The heaviest deer I have ever seen weighed 258 pounds field dressed and had a 29" neck and was harvested in Lafayette NY. As you can see, ( in this particular case )the lighter deer had the larger neck. The only reason I say this is because I have also measured deer around the chest that where lighter but had slightly larger chest than some heavier deer I have measured. But to be safe, I would probably say that the deer you weighed most likely would have tipped the scales anywhere from 180-205 pounds field dressed
That very well may be the single biggest paragraph ever
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Old 12-09-2011, 04:07 PM
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As a meatcutter... an animals "hanging weight" is roughly HALF its live weight.
Hanging weight is "in the cooler" skinned, gutted, hide - hoofs - heade OFF.
If you were 140 hanging weight then you were 280-ish on the hoof! Impressive!!
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