Mathews Inc.
How Old Will Wild Whitetails Live
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Zbone 03-Apr-24
greg simon 03-Apr-24
Zbone 03-Apr-24
wytex 03-Apr-24
Scoot 03-Apr-24
Norseman 03-Apr-24
caribou77 03-Apr-24
JohnMC 03-Apr-24
elknailer 03-Apr-24
Bou'bound 03-Apr-24
be still 03-Apr-24
milnrick 03-Apr-24
milnrick 03-Apr-24
Will 03-Apr-24
Slate 03-Apr-24
Mike E 03-Apr-24
Rob in VT 03-Apr-24
Recurve Man 03-Apr-24
Zbone 04-Apr-24
fuzzy 04-Apr-24
Shug 04-Apr-24
Zbone 04-Apr-24
Slate 04-Apr-24
Kydeer1 04-Apr-24
Zbone 04-Apr-24
BIGERN 04-Apr-24
Live2Hunt 04-Apr-24
Zbone 04-Apr-24
greg simon 04-Apr-24
drycreek 04-Apr-24
JG 04-Apr-24
Lee 05-Apr-24
Will 05-Apr-24
Zbone 05-Apr-24
APauls 05-Apr-24
Thornton 07-Apr-24
From: Zbone
03-Apr-24

Zbone's embedded Photo
Zbone's embedded Photo
Talking about deer age here, I thought this was interesting... This wild whitetail doe ear-tagged and collared in a WMU in the heavily hunted commonwealth of PA was caught on trail-cam by a hunter... How old do you think she is?

From: greg simon
03-Apr-24
Very hard to tell from a snap shot, especially at that angle. She looks young to me. 1.5 years old.

From: Zbone
03-Apr-24
She has a long snout and her face is looking a little raggedy but not as gray as one would think, but she is way older than 1-1/2...

From: wytex
03-Apr-24
I know they can live to be 10+ yrs, shot one that old in Texas. It had an ear tag from a study.

From: Scoot
03-Apr-24
Z, interestting you say she has a long snout. I don't see that in that pic- looks short to me.

From: Norseman
03-Apr-24
Yeah face looks old Young deer faces usually look fat and fluffy

From: caribou77
03-Apr-24
11

From: JohnMC
03-Apr-24
11 years 14 days 46 mins and 9 seconds

From: elknailer
03-Apr-24
wife killed a doe that was 9.

From: Bou'bound
03-Apr-24
14

From: be still
03-Apr-24
I’m with Greg. I like guessing on things and sometimes I’m way wrong but it looks very young. If it is old it had a very easy life. Looks like it just lost its spots to me.

My guess if it was old it would look skinnier and more worn down especially in late winter but I’m not familiar with the upper north area.

From: milnrick
03-Apr-24
Oldest deer I've seen was a 9yr old "neighborhood buck" when we lived in Garden Ridge Texas. I know some ranches have aged them up to 11.

About the collared doe, I'd say she was a doe fawn in her first winter coat. Nose is extremely short along with her ears.

From: milnrick
03-Apr-24

From: Will
03-Apr-24
I know of a few guys here in MA - heavy pressure - who have shot bucks that were over 10 (sent some teeth out to be aged via cementum) and living on PUBLIC land! Pretty sure MassWildlife had one in a GPS study that they believed based on initial age estimate and time of death, to have been over 11.

My suspicion is that while most are killed before they are 5, there are some with great genes and a very "safe" personality who make it to 10-15 given the right conditions.

Hoping you know the age of that girl Z...

From: Slate
03-Apr-24
13

From: Mike E
03-Apr-24
Maybe you could zoom in on that tag and get a number, call the Dept of Wildlife see if they'd tell ya when it was tagged.

From: Rob in VT
03-Apr-24

Rob in VT's embedded Photo
Rob in VT's embedded Photo
Took this pic of a Wyoming Mulie doe last fall that was collared.

The whitetail above looks young to me.

From: Recurve Man
03-Apr-24
Looks like a yearling to me. Most old does in my area have a horse head on them.

Shane

From: Zbone
04-Apr-24
"Hoping you know the age of that girl Z" and "Maybe you could zoom in on that tag and get a number, call the Dept of Wildlife see if they'd tell ya when it was tagged"

Yep, they know her age by the ear-tag number... They know the date she was ear-tagged and collared as a "juvenile" in the month of February, meaning tagged as an 9-month old fawn... I'll give the dates and her age later today, keep guessing, nobody has called it yet...

Wish they'd given more photos of her but this was the only one they published...

Personally the oldest I'm aware of was a gimp doe that had a broken or deformed right rear ankle behind the house I watched for 8 years before she quit coming around, and the first time I ever seen her she had twin fawns with her meaning she was likely at least 10 years old...

Years ago read where a protected doe on some kind of a preserve (don't think it was high fenced, but can't remember) but anyhow they had a tagged doe that was 22 years old and she had fawns annually right up until she was 21, she died at age 22...

From: fuzzy
04-Apr-24
7 years is my guess. The pic is not great for age guessing.

From: Shug
04-Apr-24
I’d say low to mid teens

04-Apr-24

Ricky The Cabel Guy's embedded Photo
Ricky The Cabel Guy's embedded Photo
Ricky The Cabel Guy's embedded Photo
Ricky The Cabel Guy's embedded Photo
looks quite young to me. quite possibly a fawn in its first winter.

overall length of neck and body, short blocky head and snout...small nose pad. just doesnt look like a mature doe...at least not in my area.

From: Zbone
04-Apr-24
Something else kinda unique about the doe, she has a double throat patch...

From: Slate
04-Apr-24
Have also read articles about 20 year old does. I have a few around me that are close to 10 yrs old.

From: Kydeer1
04-Apr-24
I believe those collars are designed to fall off within a season or two so it would be hard to know for sure based on that alone with that particular picture or study. I feel like I've seen some stories with bucks pushing 13 years old but they look really worn down by then. I'd say the vast majority of deer are dead by 8-9 years and most antlered deer by 5.

From: Zbone
04-Apr-24
"collars are designed to fall off within a season or two"

Yeah Kydeer1, that may be true with today's modern collars and technologies... Some places like in Africa I think they try to recapture them after a certain amount of time, but this collar is old school "VHF" collar and assume it's batteries went dead years ago and also assume they never recaptured her...

From: BIGERN
04-Apr-24
Its the face that looks like she doesn't care anymore and is ready to call it quits, over 10.

From: Live2Hunt
04-Apr-24
Here in Northern WI they don't last long after birth. The wolves are out of hand.

From: Zbone
04-Apr-24

Zbone's Link
She was tagged and collared in February 2009, meaning she was fawned in 2008 and will be celebrating her 16th birthday this fawning season...

I guess the hunter that had the trail-cam said he's seen her with twin fawns for years right up until last season...

https://www.deer.psu.edu/decades-in-the-making/

"This time from a gentleman who hunts in WMU 3C. He reported harvesting a buck with ear tags in 2012 but he called back to report another deer he has been seeing on his trail camera for the last 10-12 years. She is still wearing her VHF collar, but he has never been able to get a clear picture of her ear tag until now. Are you ready? She was captured in February 2009 as a juvenile. Which means she is coming up on her 16th birthday. She was part of a study investigating the biological and social effects of a 7-day concurrent season. He reports he has seen fawns with her most years including last year. "

04-Apr-24
amazing!!

From: greg simon
04-Apr-24
Wow! I was way off on that one! The nose looks short and triangular to me in that photo. I'm sure a better view would change my initial guess. That's an old girl!!!

From: drycreek
04-Apr-24
Just off the top of my head I would say she’s around 16 years old. What do I win ? ;-))

From: JG
04-Apr-24

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
Oldest doe I shot. Shot in Texas. Teeth wear doesn’t work over 10 yr old they told me. I can understand

From: Lee
05-Apr-24
Pretty cool. I’ve had a number of deer I’ve sent teeth off to Matson’s lab come back at 14. This is from a public property that I send about 40 sets of teeth off each year. Those were does - oldest Buck was 11.

From: Will
05-Apr-24
So cool!

From: Zbone
05-Apr-24
Not only living to be 16, but what is really amazing to me is living that long on public hunting land in a heavily hunted state as PA... I bet she's a smart old gal...

From: APauls
05-Apr-24
My brother and I have seen some bucks in our area go in the 10-12 range. At some point then usually a bad winter comes along.

From: Thornton
07-Apr-24
Dr. Deer reports 22 and 23 years old for does and both had fawns when they died. He also says anything over 12 on a buck is rare.

  • Sitka Gear