Summit Treestands
Cementum Annuli accuracy…
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
EmbryOklahoma 02-Mar-22
EmbryOklahoma 02-Mar-22
Zbone 02-Mar-22
tobywon 02-Mar-22
Charlie Rehor 02-Mar-22
Castle Oak 02-Mar-22
Dale06 02-Mar-22
sitO 02-Mar-22
drycreek 02-Mar-22
Bake 02-Mar-22
wytex 02-Mar-22
LINK 02-Mar-22
LINK 02-Mar-22
JohnMC 02-Mar-22
EmbryOklahoma 02-Mar-22
Gunny 02-Mar-22
Smtn10PT 02-Mar-22
Jack Harris 02-Mar-22
ROUGHCOUNTRY 02-Mar-22
APauls 02-Mar-22
EmbryOklahoma 02-Mar-22
loprofile 02-Mar-22
EmbryOklahoma 02-Mar-22
Dale06 02-Mar-22
drycreek 02-Mar-22
LINK 02-Mar-22
sitO 02-Mar-22
Thornton 03-Mar-22
Bow Crazy 03-Mar-22
Genesis 03-Mar-22
02-Mar-22
I’m curious if anyone has sent a deer they 100% new the age of and harvested, and the number (age) was off quite a bit? I know, why would you send teeth in that you knew the age. I get it.

The reason I ask is I shot a buck last fall and the wear was almost down to the gum line on the lower jaw especially. And VERY worn on the top as well.

Many people chimed in and gave guesses from the jaw wear of the buck I shot. Most agreed it was at least 6.5 and some guesses were upwards to 10.5 yrs old.

I sent photos to a NE Oklahoma game warden that aged him at over 10 yrs old. He’s a graduate of Oklahoma State University and was top in his class at jaw/tooth aging. He’s aged A LOT of jaws/teeth over his career too. Now, I understand that’s not purely accurate either, but you’d think a guy that went to school and took classes for this would be close. Right? When I sent him the CA age result, his reply was “That’s BS.” And… “That deer would’ve had to been chomping on rocks his entire life.”

Well, the deer in question came back at 5.5 yrs old. In the end, I’m not upset, just curious to what others think of the accuracy of Cementum Annuli process and if you’ve had some results come back way off. Also, I realize it’s not the end all. Just throwing out for conversation.

I’ll attach the thread from last fall that has pics of the jaw and some guesses from Bowsite individuals.

02-Mar-22

EmbryOklahoma's Link
Here’s the link that shows pics of the jaw bone of the buck described above.

Now… there is the possibility that he might have had a jaw break or issue which changed his normal bite and prematurely wore his teeth. Definitely a possibility as talked about in the other thread.

From: Zbone
02-Mar-22
In all honesty unless you positively know the birth date as a fawn, you won't truly know, but you'd think the Cementum Annuli technology would be the most accurate...

Teeth wear varies upon health of the animal, age and very importantly the amount of grit the animal chews while feeding, and after 4 year of age its hard to determine by tooth wear....

Personally, I've always felt most over age wild bucks... I know in my area a 5 or 6 year old buck is one lucky son of a gun to have lived that long around here...

02-Mar-22
I’ve only sent one animals tooth off. It was a bull elk. It came back as 10 yrs old.

I do hear that for some reason any animal over 10 yrs is marked as 10.

And when I looked at reported ages. There seems to be a disproportionate number of 10 yr olds. Odd

From: tobywon
02-Mar-22
Rick, My line of work involves dealing with analytical laboratory data typically for soil, water, and air. I know it’s a bit different media, but when I see an anomaly in the data, I go back to the lab and inquire about the sample. They end up checking the data and possibly running a duplicate or recheck the sample if they are able. Mistakes can happen with logging in samples, analysis, reporting results, etc. I would contact and explain and see if they can validate their initial result. Good Luck.

02-Mar-22
The service includes a “second look” option. Reach out and have them do that.

From: Castle Oak
02-Mar-22
Embry, research has shown that cementum annuli aging in some regions of the country, particularly the SE, tend to overestimate the age. It has been proven that two "rings" per year can be laid down on the tooth-one in the winter and one in the late summer. This does not explain your results. I aged thousands of whitetails during my career and can attest that aging by tooth wear is a SWAG. Deer, like humans, are subject to environmental factors that can accelerate/decelerate tooth wear. Soil type, nutritional quality (which relates to soil type) and climate events all play a part. And like humans, I suspect there are genetic factors that also play into how hard teeth are. I have seen deer with missing teeth, abscesses, and damaged teeth. I have aged deer using both sides of the jaw where one side would age 2 years older than the other side. So, as stated earlier, both methods of aging are just an estimate.

From: Dale06
02-Mar-22
Agree with what Zbone said. I think many times people “think” a deer is X years old. But unless they saw the birth and somehow tracked it, you don’t really know the age. And as was also said, there are environmental factors and probably hereditary factors that impact tooth wear. And in the end, if you arrowed a deer you wanted to kill, what difference does it make.

From: sitO
02-Mar-22

sitO's Link
I have zero faith in this process, and from a similar situation Rick. I'm not alone, see attached article.

In KS you must turn in two teeth from any Pronghorn killed. They go to the state biologist, great guy, and he has them aged using the cementum process. I chased a certain buck for 5yrs, same ranch, absolutely the same buck and he was mature when I first saw him. Finally got him on the fifth year, and sent in the teeth. They came back as a 5yr old, so I had the biologist send them in again and they came back with the same results? I have several buddies out there that can testify to the fact that I was after that guy for five years, and he was a big/mature buck that first year.

If you just like throwing money at stuff, and collecting hypothesis, it's a great service...for the guys running it ;?)

From: drycreek
02-Mar-22
Several years ago, not long after the cementum annuli process became well know, a ranch sent in the teeth of some known age bucks with the intent of gauging the accuracy of CA ageing. As I recall the CA ageing was only about 65% accurate, which is just a little better than ageing by tooth wear. I’ve sent some in, but nowadays I just age them on the hoof by their body characteristics and let her rip if he looks like he’s old enough. I’m mostly a meat hunter, and if he’s 13” wide (legal buck here) and looks tasty, he’s going into my freezer. ??

From: Bake
02-Mar-22
I feel like it's fairly accurate. I've sent in 7 or 8 bucks for aging, most of whom I didn't have a long history with, and I felt it was accurate given the body indicators for the individual bucks. At least two that I sent in I had 3 years of pictures of the bucks, and it was pretty clear (I thought), that the first year they were young 2 year olds, and so forth. So I thought the aging again was very accurate.

I haven't sent in the last couple bucks I've killed. I was fairly certain of their ages within a year, so I didn't worry about it.

From: wytex
02-Mar-22
The tooth aging tech. is only accurate in areas of the country that have extreme seasonal changes, stresses on the animals. WG&F did a study on their tooth aging lab with Mon. St on known aged deer, they came out more accurate than MS and were very accurate on known aged deer. It does not work as well in southern states due to the lack of extreme conditional changes from season to season and the lack of stress on the animals.

From: LINK
02-Mar-22
This deer was shot in SE Oklahoma Rick…. Any chance he was living next to a meth lab? If you’d like you can send me the tooth and $100 and I will give you my expert opinion. ;)

From: LINK
02-Mar-22
Would be interesting to send in teeth of a few pen raised deer and see what the results were.

From: JohnMC
02-Mar-22
Ouch Link a little tough on us folk from SE OK. Then again there a reason I don’t live there…

02-Mar-22
Thanks for SOME of the replies. As for why it matters TO ME, it just does, and my prerogative. It cost me a whopping 30ish bucks.

MY POINT, was to see if some folks might have had the same inaccuracies. I have also been told, as stated above, that more southern deer are harder to age from CA and tooth wear.

In the end, it’s not the end all, I’m VERY proud of this deer and how it all went down.

From: Gunny
02-Mar-22
Just recently received results from a bear I shot a year ago. They aged him at 1 year old. He weighed 192 lbs.

I shot a bear about 10 years ago that weighed in at 182 lbs and was aged at 2 years old.

I know size isn't everything, and I'm no scientist, but from the looks of both bears, I'd have bet the house last year's bear would have been older.

From: Smtn10PT
02-Mar-22
I saw a facebook post from Wildlife Analytical Labs stating cementum annuli analysis was 85% accurate in a Montana FWP study. The molar wear analysis came in at 35% accuracy, and that is with trained biologists performing the analysis.

From: Jack Harris
02-Mar-22
I have had two local bucks that I watched for years before I took them out - officially aged by deer age.com. I knew both were no less than 5.5 and no older than 6.5. Both came back at 6.5 so seemed very accurate to me.

From: ROUGHCOUNTRY
02-Mar-22

ROUGHCOUNTRY's embedded Photo
ROUGHCOUNTRY's embedded Photo
I've read research articles pertaining to CA with photos of stained, mounted microscope slides. I noticed on older animals the annuli rings can be nearly overlapping and bunched. I'm sure their eyes are trained but it looked to me like you could make a mistake interpreting data.

I think the more likely scenario is mixing up samples or mislabeling samples. The teeth are softened with acid and some are boiled before samples are sent in which apparently makes the slides harder to read.

Finally, I'm sending in a sample group to Matson's laboratory here in Montana. One of which is my father's Montana moose which was already aged by F&G here and came back at 11.5 years. I sent one incisor to F&G at time of harvest and kept the other to double check results. The other sample I'm excited about is this year's Kansas buck which has the most wear I've ever seen. There were teeth missing and the others are brown, marbleized and worn to the gum line. The one caveat with this deer is the area has wind blown sand over all the vegetation and tooth wear tends to be more severe.

From: APauls
02-Mar-22
I think the key takeaway is that, as of yet, there is no way to test a tooth or deer and know 100% how old they were. If you have no clue and are curious send on in and chances are it's close.

Would be nice if they could include a "degree of confidence" with the sample. Like some samples they have a high degree of confidence that they are correct, and others due to whatever variables maybe they don't know but they have to put a number down. So for the deer that matches textbook conditions they may be 95% confident, but for those that are chewing Trident Sand flavour for 5 years maybe they are only 30% confident.

02-Mar-22
Apauls, you have a good point. Matson’s actually does grade your sample. Both samples I sent in were noted on the results as “A”, which means very good condition and not degraded. I’ve had some that were “B” over the years and your percentage of accuracy goes down.

From: loprofile
02-Mar-22
The funny thing to me is that many “experts” think they can age them on the hoof

02-Mar-22
Loprofile… I think there are folks that can get close if given multiple sightings of a deer. But, there needs to be several angles in some instances, IMO. I’ve never been able to do that because my sightings are usually very rare except an occasional trail cam photo of a deer. Even then, I’m not good at live aging deer. I’m usually like… oh, here comes a buck… is he good enough for me? Does he make me grab my bow and want to engage? That’s me in a nutshell. Heavy on the nut.

From: Dale06
02-Mar-22
Embryoklahoma, that’s how I age them. “Oh there’s a buck, I think he’s big enough, grab the bow”

From: drycreek
02-Mar-22
loprofile, aging deer on the hoof is pretty easy, just count the rings around his ass……

From: LINK
02-Mar-22
All I can tell on the hoof is he’s 4.5 or older or 3.5 and younger. After that if I don’t know the deer it’s a guessing game.

From: sitO
02-Mar-22
Not everyone is watching them gorge at a failure pile for hours on end...some of us actually hunt them, and only see them once...and briefly.

From: Thornton
03-Mar-22
I've heard that certain soil types and what they eat affects their teeth. Sandy soil wears them down faster. I put zero trust in anyone that brags they can look at the teeth and tell. I've been at this 25 years and shot more animals than I can remember and I have only a rough idea on their age. I've seen a few bucks on my farm with odd racks for 3-4 years, and it seems their body and antlers never change.

From: Bow Crazy
03-Mar-22

Bow Crazy's Link
Attached is an article from the NDA (formally QDMA) about the cementum annuli (CA) aging technique. A really nice break-down of accuracy of both CA and the tooth wear and replacement (TWR) method, how, why, when to use each aging method. BC

From: Genesis
03-Mar-22
Rick,it’s certainly less than perfect with any ageing method.I think the variables in regional deer diets,genetics,overall animal health are too dynamic to give us the accuracy we would like.

That said,I think for every year over 4.5 all methods start losing validity for the above reasons but cementum annulli ageing will still be the most consistent in accuracy .

I think Matson would have data substantiating that disparity.If not,in Mississippi that may constitute a conspiracy…:)

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