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Aging Whitetails on the hoof
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Outdoorscrazy 25-Nov-23
VAMtns 25-Nov-23
Bake 25-Nov-23
milnrick 25-Nov-23
drycreek 25-Nov-23
Timex? 25-Nov-23
Shug 25-Nov-23
Bake 25-Nov-23
EmbryOklahoma 25-Nov-23
LBshooter 26-Nov-23
Bow Crazy 27-Nov-23
fuzzy 27-Nov-23
Pat Lefemine 27-Nov-23
APauls 27-Nov-23
Zbone 27-Nov-23
Vonfoust 27-Nov-23
Jack Harris 27-Nov-23
Bohunr 28-Nov-23
Jeff Durnell 28-Nov-23
caribou77 28-Nov-23
DonVathome 28-Nov-23
Pat Lefemine 29-Nov-23
W 29-Nov-23
celtpaddy 05-Dec-23
Zbone 06-Dec-23
shade mt 06-Dec-23
Lloyd 06-Dec-23
Lloyd 06-Dec-23
Zbone 06-Dec-23
VAMtns 06-Dec-23
t-roy 06-Dec-23
Zbone 06-Dec-23
Lloyd 07-Dec-23
Zbone 07-Dec-23
Lloyd 07-Dec-23
Lloyd 07-Dec-23
Lloyd 07-Dec-23
Lloyd 07-Dec-23
Zbone 07-Dec-23
Lloyd 07-Dec-23
t-roy 07-Dec-23
JAKAPR 08-Dec-23
JAKAPR 08-Dec-23
midwest 08-Dec-23
BC173 08-Dec-23
Zbone 12-Dec-23
Lloyd 12-Dec-23
Zbone 12-Dec-23
Catscratch 12-Dec-23
25-Nov-23
I need all the help I can get on this. I don't know if I get nervous and mis age deer or what's going on. Lol!

From: VAMtns
25-Nov-23
I look for the belly line , an older WT buck has a paunch , the legs appear short , shoulders and hams rounded , a younger buck looks more like a greyhound or thouroughbred racehorse .Antlers are not the best indicator but a lot of mass at base , but not my go to ID .

From: Bake
25-Nov-23
It’s a really inexact science doing it on the hoof in a shooting situation. 5 and 6 year olds are pretty obvious. But the line is easy to blur sometimes between 3 and 4 and 4 and 5. At least in my area.

If you wanna be real close, you need multiple years of history and trail cams.

That, and send off the teeth for every buck. Knowing age makes it easier down the road

From: milnrick
25-Nov-23
VA MTNS gave you some very good visual clues.

A 1.5 - 2.5 yr old buck will look like a teenaged athlete. He'll look a bit leggy, his back will be straight and will have a noticeable thinness where it meets the chest. He'll also have a waist (think of a 2 yr old pointer's waist).

A 3 yr old will have a more well developed (obvious) neck; his chest may be deeper and his shoulders will be more pronounced.

A 4 yr old will be more fully developed and he may begin to develop a bit of a pot belly; his lower neck will look like it ends at the lower edge of the brisket.

At 5 his shoulders and chest will be much deeper; he will often show some sort of "jowel"- like a 50-55 yr old guy, you will probably notice something like a sway back. His muzzle may also show some sort of graying.

The 5, 6 and older bucks also seemed to walk with a bit of "bad@$$" attitude when they saw lesser deer.

Those were some of the things I looked for when we were on a S TX trophy lease. Hope it helped.

From: drycreek
25-Nov-23
What Bake said.

From: Timex?
25-Nov-23
I'm on the va coast now, & nearly all big mature bucks here are really dark , like Hershey chocolate bar brown.

When I hunted the nw part of va. Much harder, some are built like a tank with a huge chest & others are long & lanky.

From: Shug
25-Nov-23

Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Any thoughts on this bucks age?

From: Bake
25-Nov-23
5 or 6 Shug. Or older

25-Nov-23
If it makes me grab my bow, I’m engaged. Sometimes it takes years of having deer in front of you. Where I hunt, it’s usually seconds you have to make that assessment. Time will learn you.

From: LBshooter
26-Nov-23
All you can do is take a educated Guess. Yes you can tell the difference between a young deer and a old deer, but pinpointing a age, no. You need to take teeth and age them, only way to know.

From: Bow Crazy
27-Nov-23

Bow Crazy's Link
Here you go, from the National Deer Association (formally QDMA). BC

From: fuzzy
27-Nov-23
Timex you're exactly right, in the mountains we actually have two types of deer, those descended from the native, remnant population, and those descended from Northern whitetails purchased from Wisconsin in the '50s. They actually rut at different times so they are still somewhat separated. The Noethern strain bucks are the long, lean bruisers and weigh heavy when mature, shading and sometimes exceeding 200#LW . The natives are darker coated, shorter, stockier and usually top out at 180# . Of course they're interbreeding and you can't always "label" them but that's the origin of the two phenotypes

From: Pat Lefemine
27-Nov-23
Charlie Rehor coined the term “ no doubt buck” as in, you know it when you see it. If I have to think about whether it’s mature enough or big enough, 9/10 times he’s not.

From: APauls
27-Nov-23
When you have a guy like Don Higgins whose only pursuit is whitetails for the last 40 years and who also owned a whitetail farm say it's impossible to age deer on the hoof....I'm gonna go with what he says. As he says, you're 1.5,2.5 yes you can but after that you need to have history.

There are going to be some huge blocky deer that you can say "mature" but that's about it. Some deer at 6.5 look lean like a different 3.5 would be. Some mature giant deer can weigh less guts in than others guts out. They're just unique animals.

From: Zbone
27-Nov-23

Zbone's embedded Photo
Zbone's embedded Photo
How old?

From: Vonfoust
27-Nov-23
For the 106 professional users, the average overall accuracywas 36%. User scores ranged from 16% to 56%.

https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/wsb.359

From: Jack Harris
27-Nov-23

Jack Harris's embedded Photo
Jack Harris's embedded Photo
Jack Harris's embedded Photo
Jack Harris's embedded Photo
age these two 10 points, I took in 2019.... both aged via cementum annuli

From: Bohunr
28-Nov-23
Before aging on the hoof I prefer to kill and skin them first:)

From: Jeff Durnell
28-Nov-23
I like to age them hanging in my garage.

From: caribou77
28-Nov-23
Walk around work sometime and start guessing their age. I have guys working for me that look 21 and are 30. Some look mid 40s and aren’t even out their 20s. You can probably be close 50% of the time. It’s all a guess. Even using tooth wear. Some people have perfect teeth forever, some rotting out of their heads early. The only way to know history. Even then you can be a year or more off.

From: DonVathome
28-Nov-23
Belly line. Also I have heard that antlers circumference at the base is a good indicator. That said judging that accurately on the hoof is really difficult without a whole lot of experience taking mature bucks and then getting them accurately aged to see if you were correct.

From: Pat Lefemine
29-Nov-23
Charlie Rehor coined the term “ no doubt buck” as in, you know it when you see it. If I have to think about whether it’s mature enough or big enough, 9/10 times he’s not.

From: W
29-Nov-23
I was in a large hunting club for years. Many three year and up bucks were brought in and aged by a biologist. It’s not easy to age even when the buck is at the skinning rack and you can touch it.

One and two year olds are fairly easy to age.

From: celtpaddy
05-Dec-23

celtpaddy's embedded Photo
Old fella.
celtpaddy's embedded Photo
Old fella.
We have a small size farm by Missouri standards. We mostly harvest does. I’ve had the opportunity to see some bucks mature to old age it’s beautiful to see. Then a neighbor will kill him with a rifle.

From: Zbone
06-Dec-23
My personal opinion of aging on hoof without knowing the deer's actual age by an identifying feature after his 4th year is purely guessing... After they loose that typical racehorse look of 3-year olds like the half rack 4x photo I posted above on Nov 27th, they gain a little more weight becoming a little blockier with maybe a little pot belly and swayback after 4 but after that is just guessing without that identifying feature, although rack characteristic could be an identifying feature... Deer are individuals and like humans age differently...

Heck in my area they're lucky to make it to 4 and only a few make it older...

Happen to run across this yesterday but didn't download but thought some might be interested:

https://www.buckscore.com/

From: shade mt
06-Dec-23
I agree with pat on this one....."You know as soon as you see it"

been hunting a big mature buck for 3 yrs now ....i don't have to look through the bino's to evaluate....you know.

I saw him with a younger buck last Sat....the younger buck was not exactly a runt either...but the difference is obvious.

Big chested, big neck that just blends...chest bigger than hind quarter etc...Here in PA our buck often don't get to live that long....when they do?....you'll know it.

From: Lloyd
06-Dec-23

From: Lloyd
06-Dec-23

Lloyd's embedded Photo
Lloyd's embedded Photo
Lloyd's embedded Photo
Lloyd's embedded Photo
Lloyd's embedded Photo
THE DOE IN THE BACKGROUND IS HUGE
Lloyd's embedded Photo
THE DOE IN THE BACKGROUND IS HUGE

From: Zbone
06-Dec-23
Dang, those dudes are BRUTES! I'm gonna go out on a limb and say they both are older than three...8^)))

From: VAMtns
06-Dec-23
Dang , those are some big ol boys !

From: t-roy
06-Dec-23
Did you take those pics, Lloyd?? If so, fantastic job!!

From: Zbone
06-Dec-23
That top one doesn't even have a neck... Shame about the rack though...

Those look like Canadian bucks???

From: Lloyd
07-Dec-23
t-roy, they were taken from my van. Zbone, the buck with the screwed up rack, I had him by my blind the year before. when I took the pic I told people that with his size and messed up rack that no other buck will mess with him. A few days later at sundown he was across the gravel from the farm I hunted. he was with a doe and another 8 pointer came over and whooped up on him and took the doe.

that buck was the same size as the messed up rack buck.

From: Zbone
07-Dec-23
Wow...

So we can assume those are Iowa bucks then?

From: Lloyd
07-Dec-23
SOUTH EAST IOWA

From: Lloyd
07-Dec-23

Lloyd's embedded Photo
Lloyd's embedded Photo

From: Lloyd
07-Dec-23

Lloyd's embedded Photo
3 different ages
Lloyd's embedded Photo
3 different ages

From: Lloyd
07-Dec-23

Lloyd's embedded Photo
Lloyd's embedded Photo
this guy was on the other side of the field every time I drove by

From: Zbone
07-Dec-23
WOW!

From: Lloyd
07-Dec-23

Lloyd's embedded Photo
I wish I would of weighed this one. way over 200 lbs dressed
Lloyd's embedded Photo
I wish I would of weighed this one. way over 200 lbs dressed

From: t-roy
07-Dec-23
Dandy buck, Lloyd. With a recurve to boot!

You also seem to have a knack for taking great photos, as well! Thanks for sharing them.

From: JAKAPR
08-Dec-23

From: JAKAPR
08-Dec-23

JAKAPR's embedded Photo
JAKAPR's embedded Photo
My last deer. I usually shoot the small bucks with my bow and the big ones with my camera.

Lloyd

From: midwest
08-Dec-23
Mind blown. Incredible, Lloyd....wow.

From: BC173
08-Dec-23
For sure, there are “no doubters”, but once he reaches 4 yrs. old, I think it’s just a guessing game.

From: Zbone
12-Dec-23
Jack - CONGRATS on your bucks...

Was looking at your bows posted, they look different, curious of models, the first one with the beautiful nontypical buck with mass kinda looks shaped like a 48" Bear Super Mag (I had one once) the other am not sure... Has a flat shelf, so am guessing a vintage bow?

From: Lloyd
12-Dec-23
Zbone, it is a Rodney Wright stalker 46" recurve. I always used short bows, because I used to shoot of my 4 wheeler or when I would sit on the ground, or my chair. Super mag, I have one of those also. the last picture I have a 56" pronghorn

From: Zbone
12-Dec-23
Cool, thank you sir...

From: Catscratch
12-Dec-23
Dang Lloyd! Not only are you an accomplished traditionalist you take damn good pics! I'd love to see more of your dead deer and bow pics, and on the hoof pics!

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