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Whitetail Body Size Progression / antler
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
APauls 27-Oct-22
12yards 27-Oct-22
Kodiak 27-Oct-22
12yards 27-Oct-22
mattandersen 27-Oct-22
Grey Ghost 27-Oct-22
APauls 27-Oct-22
EmbryOklahoma 27-Oct-22
Corax_latrans 27-Oct-22
t-roy 28-Oct-22
Genesis 28-Oct-22
APauls 28-Oct-22
DanaC 28-Oct-22
Wildan2 28-Oct-22
Bandicooter 28-Oct-22
From: APauls
27-Oct-22
There are tons of deer that are followed through the life cycle showing their antler characteristics and inches as they age. Curious if there are many that track body weight progression/regression. Anyone know if a buck weighs _____ at 2.5 years old how much bigger might he get? Is a tubby deer always tubby from the get go? Does it have a lot to do with food from the year?

On another note, it seems like giant deer antler wise often have giant bodies to boot. My biggest bucks antler wise were also the biggest bodied deer I have killed. I wish I had a scale for some of the deer I killed back in the day, but thankfully bought one about 5 years ago and it has been super interesting. From memory 2 giant deer that I wish I had weighed was a 157" 4x4 and a net 165 typical. Had massive bodies. But the biggest body that I can verify dressed 240lbs and had 195" of antler. I used to think that was a Canadian whitetail thing, but also seeing the bucks T-roy for example killed the past couple years and the horses of bodies they carried....surely it is easier for a giant bodied deer to push a proportionate amount of nutrition between his ears.

All to say - does anyone have anything to share on this? Interesting topic at least to me anyways. Anyone ever killed a 180+ with a small body?

From: 12yards
27-Oct-22
Not always the case in MN. My buddy shot a 9 pointer that weighed 247 dressed. It scored in the 130s.

From: Kodiak
27-Oct-22
In my experience, big antlers, big body. Farm country Minnesota.

From: 12yards
27-Oct-22
I shot one in the same woods that grossed in the 180s that weighed 223 dressed.

From: mattandersen
27-Oct-22
My biggest scoring buck from Ohio had a massive body as well. 163" well over 200lbs dressed

From: Grey Ghost
27-Oct-22
Look up Allen's Rule and Bergmann's Rule. Both are widely accepted rules that state animals of almost any species generally grow larger in colder climates. It doesn't take a biology degree to see how much smaller the whitetail deer are in Texas and Florida than further north.

As for antler size, I'm not sure there's a direct correlation to body size. A few of my largest antlered bucks didn't have the biggest of bodies. And a few of my just average antlered bucks have had very large bodies. My biggest bodied deer also had big antlers, but he didn't have any testicles.

Matt

From: APauls
27-Oct-22
Just to be clear I wasn't saying that antler and body are a correlation. I have seen many big bodied bucks with small antlers. That being said, are there many giant antlered deer with small bodies?

Also know about Bergmann's rule, yet Troy seems to be growing deer in Iowa that have bodies same as our Canadian bucks, and it seems in recent years since food plots have really blown up that many midwestern bucks are right there with Canadian deer body-wise.

27-Oct-22
If you kill a buck in Oklahoma, (SE region) that weighs 145-150 dressed, he’s likely to have a lot of antlers on his head. It’s funny too, region to region isn’t always easily defined either. I know some guys in central Oklahoma that hunt on a river basin, and they’ve killed deer that have exceeded or pushed 200 lbs dressed. Then there’s the NW part of the state where bucks can get over 200 lbs dressed quite often. The 180”+ deer I shot in SE Oklahoma in 2012 I never weighed, but I’d guess he was around 155-160 lbs dressed. That’s based on other larger/older deer that we did weigh or weighed at the old type weigh stations. That was when ODWC used to have check stations and all deer were weighed.

I think many times for Northern most deer, the deers body weight is bigger/larger due to the climate, and therefore thicker coats/hair. Bodies of course are larger too, in most cases.

I was at a check station back in 2000 or so and a guy was checking in a nice 130” Oklahoma 8 point (weighed 140ish) and in the back of his truck were two deer hides from a couple of Wisconsin deer he had recently killed. I felt of them and was amazed at the density of the hide/hair and the sheer weight. It was night and day.

I do feel good food sources have a lot of bearing on the weight everywhere. And age of course.

27-Oct-22
Takes a lotta calories and a lotta minerals to grow a big rack; big bodies tend to cart around a lot of both.

Plus genes. That’s the wildcard.

From: t-roy
28-Oct-22
IMO, tracking the body size progression on a buck, from year to year, would be far more difficult than tracking antler growth, for obvious reasons. A big bodied 2 yr old could easily be mistaken for a 3 or 4 year old. Once they get big, they’re just big, to me at least. Also, I’d disagree a little bit on the big body, big rack comment. I know that isn’t exactly what you stated. The biggest bodied buck on my farm for the past few years, has never had a rack that would score over the mid 130s, yet, in my estimation, he could push 270lbs or even better, dressed (before the rut).

In contrast, I have another buck running around, that is (I believe) 5 years old this year, that was pushing 200” or possibly better, last year, and I would guesstimate that he would not have dressed over 180-190 lbs, pre-rut, last year. He also did not seem to be a very aggressive buck, from the several encounters that I witnessed. I watched 3 different mature bucks intimidate him into backing down, 3 separate encounters, plus he was almost indifferent to my calling/rattling multiple times. I could tell he heard it, but he neither responded positively or negatively.

As to the better food aspect, I don’t know if the deer in my region of the country, are getting any additional nutrients from the food plots, than what has been available to them for generations in farm country. Perhaps they are. They definitely have access to a reliable food source later into the winter, which can do nothing but help them make to spring in better shape.

From: Genesis
28-Oct-22
I've always thought that in regards to bucks 3 1/2 and under antler size took from body weight or that body weight took from antler size generally speaking.At 4 1/2 and greater that inverse relationship dissipates to a more direct correlation between bone structure and antler growth. Some mature bucks can't get enough during the rut and will run themselves pretty skinny while some use the principles of least effort as they get older. We kept records on our 6500 ac lease in Mississippi and the body weights (around 40 bucks a year) stayed the same except for one of those 20 years where the average buck dressed weight went up 15 pounds in one year and then the next year evened back out.That was a phenomen that was very strange and we kinda attribute to the timber companies fertilization program a few years previous.

From: APauls
28-Oct-22
Steve that's super interesting!!! What kind of fertilization program had they been running? That's a sizeable average increase.

From: DanaC
28-Oct-22
The nutrition that grows hefty bodies may not contain all the minerals that grows big racks. You can be big but still have osteoporosis. Takes a fair amount of calcium etc. to grow antlers.

From: Wildan2
28-Oct-22
Farm country/Northern NY;quite a few years ago a neighbor killed an 8pt.with a 14 inch spread and short tines that weighted 255lbs.a week after he shot it(also missing the inside loins) certified scale and won the big buck contest. I have shot 3 over 200lbs(215 lbs the heaviest) and a couple 190's.

From: Bandicooter
28-Oct-22
While there's Allen's Rule and Bergmann's Rule, remember Billy Bob's rule. Whitetail in neighborhoods weigh more per year of life than national forest deer. Guaranteed!

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