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Judging A deers age

Old 01-25-2005, 04:04 PM
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Default Judging A deers age

Ok, how do you tell the deer's rough age out in the feild BEFORE you shoot him?
I know you can look at his teeth to learn the age, but I just cant seem to get him to smile befor I shoot him.
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Old 01-25-2005, 04:13 PM
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Default RE: Judging A deers age

Look at his body. A youngster will be all legs and neck...skinny neck at that. Snout will be short.
A teenager (1 to 2) will still be leggy, but will have some obvious muscle mass. His chest will be a bit heavier, and so will the neck. Snout still looks short.
A three yo will be heavier in the body, with the neck thickening up. Doesn't look so leggy. Snout is getting longer in relation to the body.
A mature four yo will have a much heavier neck and chest.
A five yo will usually start to get a belly and a sway back. His snout looks longer, some here call it a Roman nose. His neck is much heavier than a younger deer.
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Old 01-25-2005, 04:47 PM
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Default RE: Judging A deers age

I guess I just don't care how old a deer is before I shoot him. I make the decision usually based on body size. I could care less how old he is or how many points he has. I big bodied deer usually has a decent rack. I would rather shoot a 225 pound dressed deer with an 8 point rack than a 180 pounder with a 10 point rack.
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Old 01-25-2005, 05:17 PM
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Default RE: Judging A deers age

WOW 225lbs. what a dream. I'm in Oklahoma and anything close to 200lbs is a monster. I shot my largest deeer ever this year and he only went 150lbs. A nice 9 point w/23" inside. Should score in the 150 class. First time for me to ever take one to a taxidermist and wasn't prepared for all the choices I was faced with.

I was wondering about the age, for the buck management on the property I am hunting on. We have such a problem of doe to buck rate here that last Sunday while leaving the feild just before sunset on a 1 mile streach I counted 4 small herds of doe's counting 8 to 23 in each herd with only seeing 1 buck standing in the treeline and 2 out grasing on w/ doe's.

For the meat we just shoot a doe.
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Old 01-26-2005, 12:26 AM
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Default RE: Judging A deers age

Birth certificate ?????????
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Old 01-26-2005, 12:40 PM
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Default RE: Judging A deers age

4-5 years ago my brother shot a 254Lb doe (dressed) in central Ohio. He scored a 235Lb 138" buck the next year out of the same stand.

Person at the checking station guessed each to be about 4-1/2 year olds.

I shot a 150Lb dressed buck (ok maybe a 100" class! lol ) my brother never let me hear the end of it. It was like a hamster next to his doe. Well it was estimated to be 3-1/2 year old buck.

So I agree with Charley. For the most part deer will follow that pattern of aging.
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Old 01-26-2005, 12:51 PM
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Default RE: Judging A deers age

tuffs of hear on its but is allso a clue on a 4 or older deer.

allso a lot of the white will be turning grey.
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Old 01-26-2005, 01:17 PM
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Default RE: Judging A deers age

I guess I just don't care how old a deer is before I shoot him. I make the decision usually based on body size. I could care less how old he is or how many points he has.
Depends on where you hunt. If you hunt a private ranch where management is dome properly, the first time you drag in a three year old 135 ten who COULD be a 15012 or better the next year, you will be asked/TOLD to leave and never, ever, come back.
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Old 01-26-2005, 01:38 PM
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Default RE: Judging A deers age

I think the best way to age deer in the field is to really study the deer in the area you hunt. Figure out what a 1 1/2 y.o. buck looks like (usually spikes and forkies). Then just sort of work your way up from there. How far up you go depends on the age structure in your local deer herd. If you've got real low buck:doe ratios, you may not see anything over 2 1/2 years old, if that. Where I live in western MT, a 2 1/2 y.o. will have a toy basket rack, usually 6 or 8 points with no mass and spread way inside the ears. A 3 1/2 year old is the oldest age class we see with any regularity, and this is the size of buck that starts making the hunter's knees shake. This age of buck will have an 8-10 point rack with maybe 13-16" spread (just inside the ears), will score 100-120 B&C.

Objectively judging age by body size while they are running around is actually very, very difficult. Judging by antler size will generally work IF you spend the time to learn your local herd. Deer herds in different areas vary greatly, so just because I can age deer really well in western MT doesn't mean I could do it right off the bat in IL. (A 2 1/2 y.o. buck there may beat our 3 1/2 y.o.'s. Those deer eat soybeans and corn, ours eat weeds and pine cones.)
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Old 01-26-2005, 02:30 PM
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Default RE: Judging A deers age

Well thanks for all the info, this helps me a lot.

We don’t have a large buck population here and I have dreamed about one day being able to take one of these high dollar hunts to have a chance to get a BUCK of a lifetime. Looking at a couple of web sites seeing where you will pay a fine of several hundred dollars if you shoot a buck under 3 years old. That’s hard to swallow when you have to pay several thousand just to hunt.
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