Reply
Go Back   TexasBowhunter.com Community Discussion Forums > Topics > Game Management/Age & Score/Trailcam Pics
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-14-2013, 02:07 PM   #1
FCTrapper
Ten Point
 
FCTrapper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Charlotte Texas (El Tesoro Ranch)
Hunt In: Atascosa/McMullen County
Default WHAT do you call mature?

I see threads on here every day with bucks that are not mature with many many opinions on them being mature. My question is this.... What do you call mature? Secondly let all share pictures of "Mature" and " OLD" bucks for others to see.

First lets define what mature means for a White-tailed deer..... a buck is mature when he reaches "skeletal" maturity.

Whitetail bucks generally reach skeletal maturity at 4. Most biologists refer to bucks 1 to 2 as young or immature, 3 to 4 as middle-aged, and 5 or older as mature. I feel there is a BIG diference between a "mature" buck and a "OLD" buck. Mature doesnt always mean they have reached there antler growing potential. Actually quite the opposite, once they reach skeletal maturity they put forth much more effort in growing anlters each year. In some exteme cases bucks have grown their largest set of antlers at 10 years old. That is actually more of the extreme example with 8 years old being more of a actual age to target. Today's 8 year old is what the 6 year old used to be, due to the fact that so many more places are feeding protein. Nowadays toothware is showing bucks are living longer and growing bigger at ages never thought possible.

I recently had an indepth discusion with many of my peers in the hunting/ranching/deer circle. We all agreed that the majority of the hunting population have rarely seen a true mature buck. Much less seen bucks that reach 7,8,9 and even 10 years old.

I am very blessed to work in an enviroment that allows me to see, study, view, hold and discuss deer on a daily basis. I probably look at over 100,000 pictures each year, hours and hours of video and visually see bucks on a daily basis. I'm no expert by any stretch and in fact I make humbling mistakes each year. I am a student of deer and the day I stop learning about them is the day I'll have to hang it up. I can say without a doudt that of the 3 key factors(age, nutrition and genetics) in managing whitetails " AGE " is paramount. When you get age on bucks you can truly see maximum potential. Building a mature age class in your herd is a strategy that has proven results. Below are examples of bucks that are beyond mature and some would be considered old. There are so many things to look at on a mature/old buck. There is NEVER just one identifier in determing age. IMO the most important thing is history and knowing your herd. Bucks are like humans in that some age better than others. But I will say this..... A old bucks will look OLD no matter what angle or situation your in. I hear guys say all time that he looks old in some pictures and not old in others. If thats the case he probably isnt as old as you think.

Keeping your age classes in check allows a nutritionally and socially healthy herd, and it is only achieved when mature bucks are present.

Start determining what mature is to you and your management plan.

Some examples and identifiers when determining age of bucks.

Name:  PICT0366.jpg
Views: 2675
Size:  66.7 KB
Classic 5 year old...

Name:  PICT0965.jpg
Views: 2746
Size:  79.6 KB
3 year old multi pointed buck. Still slighty skinny, no barreled chest. He also runs with a large group of 2 and 3 year olds. Most young bucks run in big bachelor groups. The older they get the less friends they have. Also I notice certain bucks have the same friends each summer. They can be real cliquish....haha
Name:  PICT0343.jpg
Views: 2824
Size:  61.2 KB
A long legged 3 year old.... DOn't make the mistake and kill him.

Name:  Aces High..jpg
Views: 2802
Size:  65.8 KB
Look at the Callouses on this 7 year old.

Name:  EK001219.jpg
Views: 2697
Size:  59.7 KB
6 year old on the left and a 8 year old on the right. one on the right shows some age with his low hanging ******.... seriously I look at how they hang to help in aging. The older they are the lower they hang down.... Also notice both of these bucks are showing good calouses on their knees. These callouses really start to show at 5 years old. Its a good indicator for a lot of bucks in determing maturity.
Name:  IM000152.jpg
Views: 2749
Size:  58.1 KB
7 year old. triangle nose, long body, full chest. He looks mature but not old. Also notice his hair is not as slick as younger bucks. Older bucks get scarred more and their hair can be more mangy looking.
Name:  Dancer..jpg
Views: 2694
Size:  62.9 KB
Another healthy 4 year old.... Bucks like this are what make or break you. Shoot him this year and you just shot your 180+ buck in 2-3 years.
Name:  PICT0802.jpg
Views: 2748
Size:  63.5 KB
This is a perfect example of a "Mature" Buck he's a 6 year old.
Name:  PICT0419.jpg
Views: 2677
Size:  80.1 KB
Big Burly 4 year old with antler damage

Name:  IM000225.jpg
Views: 2691
Size:  55.8 KB
PRIME 4 year old... he looks like a "RACEHORSE" this coming season he will be all over the place rutting and pushing other bucks around. He's a huge body buck that will show all the others he excited about being alive. LoL
Name:  EK000483.jpg
Views: 2633
Size:  65.2 KB
Classic 5 year old...
Name:  IM000865.jpg
Views: 2624
Size:  45.6 KB
Triangle shaped nose, deep barrel chest. This is a 7 year old buck.
Name:  PICT0751.jpg
Views: 2660
Size:  64.2 KB
Look at the callouses on this 7 year old bucks knees.
Name:  PICT0913.jpg
Views: 2624
Size:  62.7 KB
OLD OLD OLD..... way past his prime. We've hunted him for the past 2 seasons. Believe me or not he jumped the high fence last year while we were hunting him pretty hard. He jumped back over later in the season. Too bad he had broken some points when he did. Old bucks are something else, I would love to see what he looked like 5 years ago.
Name:  Phenom...jpg
Views: 2682
Size:  62.7 KB
7 year old buck... Lots of identifiers on this one... other views show scars which I look at as well. Not many young bucks have scaring due to fighting.
Name:  IM001201.jpg
Views: 2658
Size:  51.9 KB
Triangle nose on this 7-8 year old buck. We've hunted him for 3 seasons. He also has a busted right eye. Ussally a good identifier for mature bucks from being in some serious fights.Name:  Trouble, Zorro and BigTime.jpg
Views: 2717
Size:  64.0 KB
3 "MATURE" bucks None are OLD but all are 5-6 year olds
Name:  STEPPER.jpg
Views: 3054
Size:  65.7 KBAnother OLD one... probably an 8 year old typical buck. He has a torn ear on the other side. Torn ears are a good identifier for older bucks. Ive seen young bucks with torn ears but it is a rarity.
Attached Images
  

Last edited by FCTrapper; 09-14-2013 at 02:42 PM.
FCTrapper is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:09 PM   #2
FCTrapper
Ten Point
 
FCTrapper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Charlotte Texas (El Tesoro Ranch)
Hunt In: Atascosa/McMullen County
Default

Fixed It

Last edited by FCTrapper; 09-14-2013 at 02:39 PM.
FCTrapper is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:11 PM   #3
Brazos Hunter
Pope & Young
 
Brazos Hunter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: BCS and POC
Hunt In: Where invited
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FCTrapper View Post
I just spent all that time and no pictures showed up..... haha

Sorry
X2

Great write up BTW!
Brazos Hunter is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:14 PM   #4
jshouse
Pope & Young
 
jshouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Rockwall
Hunt In: NE Texas
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brazos Hunter View Post
X2

Great write up BTW!
good stuff, espcially when we get to see the pics

oldest buck i have ever had on a place i hunt, 6.5+ year old IMO


Last edited by jshouse; 09-14-2013 at 02:17 PM.
jshouse is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:15 PM   #5
boh347
Pope & Young
 
boh347's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Knickerbocker, Texas
Hunt In: coke county, tx Nolan county, tx
Default

What's your opinion on this buck here?
boh347 is online now   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:20 PM   #6
bone
Ten Point
 
bone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: krum
Hunt In: denton/Cooke county
Default

[ATTACH]547100[ATTACH]547102
What would you guess the age of this deer to be?
Attached Images
  
bone is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:21 PM   #7
d_e_smith
Pope & Young
 
d_e_smith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kingwood
Hunt In: ETX
Default

I see mature as 5+
d_e_smith is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:23 PM   #8
jshouse
Pope & Young
 
jshouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Rockwall
Hunt In: NE Texas
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by d_e_smith View Post
I see mature as 5+
5+ gets a green light for us as well
jshouse is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:23 PM   #9
GarGuy
Pope & Young
 
GarGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Default

Great writeup. Trail cams have done more to save young bucks than any management tactic ever implemented on open range. There is NOTHING like having seen hundreds of pics of a deer before he walks out the first time with all his shock effect. that has gotten many a 3.5 year old killed.
GarGuy is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:29 PM   #10
BrianG
Ten Point
 
BrianG's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Cypress, Tx
Hunt In: Sutton County
Default

Great write up!
BrianG is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:31 PM   #11
Brian H
Ten Point
 
Brian H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Lampasas, TX
Hunt In: Lampasas/Burnet/Kansas/Iowa
Default

I see 4.5 as being mature due to skeletal maturity. I try to only shoot 5.5 yr olds and up due to giving them time to put on their best antlers. Truth to be told, it is very difficult to accurately determine between 4.5 and 5.5 without prior history. Even tooth wear has been proven to not be so accurate these days. Removing the teeth and sending them off to be examined is the only fool proof method. 6.5 year old deer start looking old with loose skin and wrinkles, sway back with a belly.
Brian H is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:33 PM   #12
8pointer
Pope & Young
 
8pointer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
Hunt In: Schleicher county
Default

Very good write up!! I think mature is 5.5 or older.

With that being said, we make sure bucks are at least 4.5 on both leases I hunt.
8pointer is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 02:38 PM   #13
Encinal
Pope & Young
 
Encinal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Location, Location
Hunt In: Spite of Wife's Complaints
Default

Good observations
Encinal is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 03:13 PM   #14
AddisonOil
Ten Point
 
AddisonOil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Winters, TX
Hunt In: Irion County
Default

Great read! Might be great as a Sticky!
AddisonOil is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 03:25 PM   #15
J Wales
Six Point
 
J Wales's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Abilene
Hunt In: Taylor County
Default

Great thread...thanks for taking the time to do that.
J Wales is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 03:38 PM   #16
slomo
Ten Point
 
slomo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Abilene
Hunt In: Taylor and Nolan county
Default

Great write up. Definitely a great refresher right before season.
slomo is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 03:43 PM   #17
rtp
Pope & Young
 
rtp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Sugar Land, Texas
Hunt In: open range
Default

Agree with everything you wrote FC. I personally started seeing less tooth wear across the board last year on the bucks we took. It was our 7th year feeding protein. Im on a low fence place with pretty decent neighbors so I have changed our target age for trophy bucks to 7.5 with some 6.5 if they live near a fence line. Like I said, they are pretty good neighbors but they shoot trophies at 5.5. Im hoping this is the turn of the corner for me. Up till now the only real difference I have seen in 7 years of feeding protein has been a significant increase in body weight and a significant increase in droptines. Im hoping now that the bucks' teeth are lasting longer and enabling them to get old, the protein will start showing a significant increase in antler size as well. I will post up some pics as well when I get a chance.
rtp is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 03:53 PM   #18
Johnny Dangerr
Pope & Young
 
Johnny Dangerr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Houston
Hunt In: Mainly Guide Now
Default

Great write up.
I saw an ancient buck years back. Was ratteling for the wife and he came out behind her about 100 yards up a hill in a tiny opening. She could not see him. He looked like he had been through a tornado. Fur going in every direction.
Johnny Dangerr is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 05:07 PM   #19
neskora
Ten Point
 
neskora's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Hallettsville/Houston
Hunt In: Sublime, TX
Default

Great write up!
neskora is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 06:04 PM   #20
Brian H
Ten Point
 
Brian H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Lampasas, TX
Hunt In: Lampasas/Burnet/Kansas/Iowa
Default

Thanks for posting the pics. Great examples
Brian H is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 06:45 PM   #21
Csmith52779
Ten Point
 
Csmith52779's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Leon Co,Tx
Hunt In: Leon Co and Madison Co
Default

We try and hunt 4.5 yr old and older. Trying to get the age class of bucks up, so know we are letting some walk
Csmith52779 is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 07:23 PM   #22
BubbaHFD
Ten Point
 
BubbaHFD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Cypress
Hunt In: Brady
Default

Thanks for the great read and pics with explanations to go with them. Good refresher before season starts
BubbaHFD is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 07:39 PM   #23
live2hunt65
Pope & Young
 
live2hunt65's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: SAN ANTONIO
Hunt In: ANY WHERE I CAN
Default

Nice deer
live2hunt65 is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 07:48 PM   #24
dc1986
Pope & Young
 
dc1986's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Lumberton,Texas
Hunt In: Mexico
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bone View Post
[attach]547100[attach]547102
what would you guess the age of this deer to be?
12 :d
dc1986 is online now   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-14-2013, 09:31 PM   #25
HappyM
Ten Point
 
HappyM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: The Woodlands
Hunt In: Texas
Default

Great write up. Super pics and lots of wisdom. The only thing that I have not seen on our place or on our corp lease is better racks once they go past 7. We have had many go WAY down at 7 and 8 with some having their best set at 7. Our tooth wear still looks similar to the boards and cementum tests are in line with our judging. Could be the sand and gravel or we just don't protein feed as heavy as heavy as others. Lots of fun learning about other's experiences and results. Thanks for taking the time and posting.
HappyM is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 01:26 AM   #26
Aggieivy06
Six Point
 
Aggieivy06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Nacogdoches
Hunt In: South Texas
Default

Great read and examples! Glad to have so many guys on here with proven track records to share their wisdom.
Aggieivy06 is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 01:35 AM   #27
Black Ice
Pope & Young
 
Black Ice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Baton Rouge
Hunt In: Jefferson & Brooks County
Default

Very good info!
Black Ice is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 02:19 AM   #28
ducks-and-bucks
Ten Point
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Texas
Hunt In: Texas
Default

I aint got a dam deer one thats over 5.... they get shot by neighbors! The 90% of weekend warrior deer hunters age deer by antlers... if its over 13 inches shoot it!

Last edited by ducks-and-bucks; 09-15-2013 at 02:23 AM.
ducks-and-bucks is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 02:28 AM   #29
EZ-10RANCH
Ten Point
 
EZ-10RANCH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Granbury Texas
Hunt In: Irion, Kimble & Fayette counties
Default

Nicely done. Great observations.
EZ-10RANCH is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 02:32 AM   #30
WRsteveX
Six Point
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducks-and-bucks View Post
I aint got a dam deer one thats over 5.... they get shot by neighbors! The 90% of weekend warrior deer hunters age deer by antlers... if its over 13 inches shoot it!
Our place too. Except we don't have any over 3-ish

You ought to hear all the shots opening morning, and all the 1 and 2 yr old deer on my camera.

More than once I've passed on a deer, watched it cross the fence... BOOM!
WRsteveX is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 09:17 AM   #31
Javelin
Pope & Young
 
Javelin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Lufkin
Hunt In: Northern Polk County on the river, Houston County
Default

In my area in east Texas antlers tend to start going downhill at the 5.5 age. The typical buck is best from 4.5 to 5.5. By targeting the 4.5 we have two years to kill them before they decline much. I shot a 5.5 year old three years ago that had lost 8-10 inches from the year prior. It all has to do with nutrition IMO. Where I hunt there is not great nutrition so they get old fast. Other places I have hunted have better nutrition ( both native and supplemental) and deer get bigger at these older ages
Javelin is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 09:49 AM   #32
malky102
Ten Point
 
malky102's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: graham
Hunt In: young and shackelford co.
Default

I know a guy that sends off the bottom jaws of all the deer killed on his place in shackelford county. He got the results the other day and two of them where 11 years old.
malky102 is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 10:18 AM   #33
jshouse
Pope & Young
 
jshouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Rockwall
Hunt In: NE Texas
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Javelin View Post
In my area in east Texas antlers tend to start going downhill at the 5.5 age. The typical buck is best from 4.5 to 5.5. By targeting the 4.5 we have two years to kill them before they decline much. I shot a 5.5 year old three years ago that had lost 8-10 inches from the year prior. It all has to do with nutrition IMO. Where I hunt there is not great nutrition so they get old fast. Other places I have hunted have better nutrition ( both native and supplemental) and deer get bigger at these older ages
can u show pics of the buck that declined at 5.5, with his 4.5 pics too?
jshouse is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 10:19 AM   #34
FCTrapper
Ten Point
 
FCTrapper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Charlotte Texas (El Tesoro Ranch)
Hunt In: Atascosa/McMullen County
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Javelin View Post
In my area in east Texas antlers tend to start going downhill at the 5.5 age. The typical buck is best from 4.5 to 5.5. By targeting the 4.5 we have two years to kill them before they decline much. I shot a 5.5 year old three years ago that had lost 8-10 inches from the year prior. It all has to do with nutrition IMO. Where I hunt there is not great nutrition so they get old fast. Other places I have hunted have better nutrition ( both native and supplemental) and deer get bigger at these older ages
This is a common!!!!! 4 year olds tend to rut the hardest and run the roads the most. They are just like 18 year old kids with a fast car. Haha.

I see many bucks drop or stay the same from 4 to 5 years old. They tend to bounce back (depending on conditions) after 5 and rarely go down due too heavy rutting activity. It's almost as if they figure things out. Just like the young bull and the old bull story . You are correct in the fact Nutrition and range conditions always play a factor in antler growth. Bucks tend to decline once they can't feed themselves due to toothware which limits their nutritional intake. Knowing your herd and tendencies of certain bucks allows you to manage different bucks differently. We like to let the bucks that are protein hounds live a year or two longer. Bucks that don't live in the feed pens all summer will be more on the target list. Also we look at personalities of bucks. A buck that is super aggressive and dominant tends to not make big jumps in antler size. The more reclusive docile bucks are the ones that I let get old because they will be less likely to get run down. Then allowing them to have a jump on antler growth the next year. The biggest bucks actually breed the least of all the bucks due to their introverted personalities.

One Interesting observation that I have was when we had one MONSTER young buck (named him DumDum) at 3 years old and he was super gentle and we would never see him rutting or display aggressive behaviors for several years. Then one year we shot a big dominant buck (130 class 8pt) that lived in the same area. After we shot that buck dominant buck DumDum became a breeding and rutting machine. We figured he was so oppressed / bullied by the other buck that he just stayed to himself. Once the dominant buck was gone he rutted hard and never did become the monster we had hoped. Knowing your herd will allow better opportunities for growing big bucks.
FCTrapper is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 10:21 AM   #35
Aggieivy06
Six Point
 
Aggieivy06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Nacogdoches
Hunt In: South Texas
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Javelin View Post
In my area in east Texas antlers tend to start going downhill at the 5.5 age. The typical buck is best from 4.5 to 5.5. By targeting the 4.5 we have two years to kill them before they decline much. I shot a 5.5 year old three years ago that had lost 8-10 inches from the year prior. It all has to do with nutrition IMO. Where I hunt there is not great nutrition so they get old fast. Other places I have hunted have better nutrition ( both native and supplemental) and deer get bigger at these older ages
I've hunted East Texas a long time as well but we started heavy supplemental feeding in the mid 90s and have seen a lot better results. It's true ETX doesn't have the natural mineral and protein that's available in STX, and without a protein boost (and softer food to save their teeth), it's possible they may peak earlier.

However, something to remember is that 4 and 5 year old bucks are like young 20-something men and they will rut like crazy. When they do that, their bodies get run down and their antlers can pay the price the next year (but they usually bounce back the year after). Sometimes a deer will make his biggest jump between 5-6 or 6-7 because his skeleton is finished growing and more energy can go to growing the rack.

The main problem with ETX (and most other areas in TX) is age--not nutrition. There is usually enough rainfall to plant great good plots throughout the year even if you cannot afford a heavy supplemental protein pellet program. Most places are smaller acreages and there are tons of hunters. If your neighbors don't share the same philosophy, it's hard to let bucks reach that age unless you have the luxury of large acreage and/or a high fence.

Being from ETX and hunting there my whole life, I can say that a super majority of hunters have never even seen a buck over 5.5 years old and it's not for lack of trying. When lots of bucks are killed at younger ages, it destroys the target "trophy" age class. If you think about it, of the three main ingredients for growing big bucks (age, nutrition, genetics), there is really only one that hunters can control--regardless of his financial resources or geographic location. I think ARs are going a long way to help that and allow bucks to survive a year or two longer until they reach skeletal maturity. There are big (and older) deer in ETX, just not as many as STX.
Aggieivy06 is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 10:23 AM   #36
Aggieivy06
Six Point
 
Aggieivy06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Nacogdoches
Hunt In: South Texas
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FCTrapper View Post
This is a common!!!!! 4 year olds tend to rut the hardest and run the roads the most. They are just like 18 year old kids with a fast car. Haha.

I see many bucks drop or stay the same from 4 to 5 years old. They tend to bounce back (depending on conditions) after 5 and rarely go down due too heavy rutting activity. It's almost as if they figure things out. Just like the young bull and the old bull story . You are correct in the fact Nutrition and range conditions always play a factor in antler growth. Bucks tend to decline once they can't feed themselves due to toothware which limits their nutritional intake. Knowing your herd and tendencies of certain bucks allows you to manage different bucks differently. We like to let the bucks that are protein hounds live a year or two longer. Bucks that don't live in the feed pens all summer will be more on the target list. Also we look at personalities of bucks. A buck that is super aggressive and dominant tends to not make big jumps in antler size. The more reclusive docile bucks are the ones that I let get old because they will be less likely to get run down. Then allowing them to have a jump on antler growth the next year. The biggest bucks actually breed the least of all the bucks due to their introverted personalities.

One Interesting observation that I have was when we had one MONSTER young buck (named him DumDum) at 3 years old and he was super gentle and we would never see him rutting or display aggressive behaviors for several years. Then one year we shot a big dominant buck (130 class 8pt) that lived in the same area. After we shot that buck dominant buck DumDum became a breeding and rutting machine. We figured he was so oppressed / bullied by the other buck that he just stayed to himself. Once the dominant buck was gone he rutted hard and never did become the monster we had hoped. Knowing your herd will allow better opportunities for growing big bucks.
Hahahaha! I posted the young boy analogy at like the same time! Good luck this year--y'all have some beasts on camera and all the rain we got in STX is gonna make this season really interesting.
Aggieivy06 is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 10:24 AM   #37
jshouse
Pope & Young
 
jshouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Rockwall
Hunt In: NE Texas
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FCTrapper View Post
This is a common!!!!! 4 year olds tend to rut the hardest and run the roads the most. They are just like 18 year old kids with a fast car. Haha.

I see many bucks drop or stay the same from 4 to 5 years old. They tend to bounce back (depending on conditions) after 5 and rarely go down due too heavy rutting activity. It's almost as if they figure things out. Just like the young bull and the old bull story . You are correct in the fact Nutrition and range conditions always play a factor in antler growth. Bucks tend to decline once they can't feed themselves due to toothware which limits their nutritional intake. Knowing your herd and tendencies of certain bucks allows you to manage different bucks differently. We like to let the bucks that are protein hounds live a year or two longer. Bucks that don't live in the feed pens all summer will be more on the target list. Also we look at personalities of bucks. A buck that is super aggressive and dominant tends to not make big jumps in antler size. The more reclusive docile bucks are the ones that I let get old because they will be less likely to get run down. Then allowing them to have a jump on antler growth the next year. The biggest bucks actually breed the least of all the bucks due to their introverted personalities.

One Interesting observation that I have was when we had one MONSTER young buck (named him DumDum) at 3 years old and he was super gentle and we would never see him rutting or display aggressive behaviors for several years. Then one year we shot a big dominant buck (130 class 8pt) that lived in the same area. After we shot that buck dominant buck DumDum became a breeding and rutting machine. We figured he was so oppressed / bullied by the other buck that he just stayed to himself. Once the dominant buck was gone he rutted hard and never did become the monster we had hoped. Knowing your herd will allow better opportunities for growing big bucks.
i read something the other day, maybe on here, that was saying how certain bucks have been shown to have a huge jump in antler size the year after the "bully" was killed. they attributed it to the stress that some of the 2-3-4 year olds are under from being bullied around, once that bully is gone they are able to "let go" and have shown huge jumps.
jshouse is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 10:32 AM   #38
jshouse
Pope & Young
 
jshouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Rockwall
Hunt In: NE Texas
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Javelin View Post
In my area in east Texas antlers tend to start going downhill at the 5.5 age. The typical buck is best from 4.5 to 5.5. By targeting the 4.5 we have two years to kill them before they decline much. I shot a 5.5 year old three years ago that had lost 8-10 inches from the year prior. It all has to do with nutrition IMO. Where I hunt there is not great nutrition so they get old fast. Other places I have hunted have better nutrition ( both native and supplemental) and deer get bigger at these older ages
it would be very interesting to see something from your place that made it to 6+ to see if they would bounce back, like FCT said.
jshouse is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 10:47 AM   #39
FCTrapper
Ten Point
 
FCTrapper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Charlotte Texas (El Tesoro Ranch)
Hunt In: Atascosa/McMullen County
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jshouse View Post
i read something the other day, maybe on here, that was saying how certain bucks have been shown to have a huge jump in antler size the year after the "bully" was killed. they attributed it to the stress that some of the 2-3-4 year olds are under from being bullied around, once that bully is gone they are able to "let go" and have shown huge jumps.
The social hierarchy of Whitetails is pretty amazing. When we got this ranch it had 4 interior high fence pastures. We tore down 22 miles of interior fence almost immediately. Talk about a social structure mayhem!!!!!!! It was very interesting to say the least , looking back now I would bet the stress factor was real high. We still have bucks that don't cross the invisible fence line.
FCTrapper is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 10:54 AM   #40
elgato
Ten Point
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Default

Great job FCT. Many folks never have the opportunity to see many if any older age class bucks. It's a real priviledge to get to spend time around a herd that has lots of older class animals. Aging older whitetails can be a real art and challenge. As you said, nothing beats...'Know thy herd!'. Agreeing with you I think 7-8 yrs old is the sweet spot for most bucks in well fed herds even here in Louisiana.
elgato is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 10:57 AM   #41
Aggieivy06
Six Point
 
Aggieivy06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Nacogdoches
Hunt In: South Texas
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FCTrapper View Post
The social hierarchy of Whitetails is pretty amazing. When we got this ranch it had 4 interior high fence pastures. We tore down 22 miles of interior fence almost immediately. Talk about a social structure mayhem!!!!!!! It was very interesting to say the least , looking back now I would bet the stress factor was real high. We still have bucks that don't cross the invisible fence line.
Very interesting. Also goes to show why culling bruiser 8s and 9s isn't just a fun way to let friends and family kill a dream buck. It's actually letting those young 10s and 12s get more time at the feeder and take home a few more ladies.
Aggieivy06 is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 11:27 AM   #42
BBBGP
Ten Point
 
BBBGP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Houston
Hunt In: Bee Co.
Default

FC, love the information. Thank you.
BBBGP is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 11:39 AM   #43
KingsX
Pope & Young
 
KingsX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Angelo
Hunt In: Irion ,Tom green co.
Default

If you've been in management hunting long enough what FCtrapper has posted becomes the obvious trend for mature buck opinions and the 4 to 5 year old drop in horn size due to peak rutting age and "the toll it takes on a 4 yearold".
I've had many years of thinking one way or another about management and what's mature. After all the protein feeding on one place I had,the aggressive culling on one place I had and the years of running trailcameras I've see a lot of things change my views. Now the cruise control is set on my management views on age and culling.
I believe 4.5 is mature in most cases but maybe still too early to shoot a buck for his full potential. Our bigger scoring bucks average 6.5 or older. I don't like culling too many bucks but agree it can be done for carrying capacity mainly. I've seen too many 5.5 yearold 115-125" "cull/management" bucks slip through the cracks that turned into great 140-150" class bucks. I've seen a few visually messed up horn bucks "most people say inferior" turn into respectable 130" bucks with normal racks the very next year. None of those bucks had noticeable wounds or injuries either. Not even any evidence of a damaged horn in velvet. Just grew one side or both poorly and abnormal the one year.
For us mature is 4.5 old per our biologists opinion on skeletal structure and we agree. The full potential of a buck is the real gamble but for us its usually 6.5 old or older making it somewhat easy to stay away from mistakes.
KingsX is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 11:40 AM   #44
Mexdeer19
Eight Point
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Hunt In: Freer, Texas
Default

Great write up. We averaged 7.5 on the bucks we harvested last year on our pasture. All these deer had sagging briskets, scars, and worn knees. I use to think huge body meant old age but I changed when we shot a 3.5 to 4.5 old management buck that field dressed 185. Deer are like humans, genetics plays a big role in their antlers and their body size. We have two strains of deer on our lease.
Mexdeer19 is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 12:01 PM   #45
Rich-Kat
Ten Point
 
Rich-Kat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Brady, TX
Hunt In: Melvin,Tx or where I can
Default

Thanks for the information, picked up a few things that had never been brought up before to me. Thanks FC
Rich-Kat is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 12:22 PM   #46
Encinal
Pope & Young
 
Encinal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Location, Location
Hunt In: Spite of Wife's Complaints
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Javelin View Post
In my area in east Texas antlers tend to start going downhill at the 5.5 age. The typical buck is best from 4.5 to 5.5. By targeting the 4.5 we have two years to kill them before they decline much. I shot a 5.5 year old three years ago that had lost 8-10 inches from the year prior. It all has to do with nutrition IMO. Where I hunt there is not great nutrition so they get old fast. Other places I have hunted have better nutrition ( both native and supplemental) and deer get bigger at these older ages
Do they really go down, or does their score go down?

Building a rack is a process. Lots of times from 4-5 there is a shift from tine length to MASS.

This lowers the score, but increases the antler volume. It's a function of B&C scoring bias, not antler size.
Encinal is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 12:48 PM   #47
FCTrapper
Ten Point
 
FCTrapper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Charlotte Texas (El Tesoro Ranch)
Hunt In: Atascosa/McMullen County
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encinal View Post
Do they really go down, or does their score go down?

Building a rack is a process. Lots of times from 4-5 there is a shift from tine length to MASS.

This lowers the score, but increases the antler volume. It's a function of B&C scoring bias, not antler size.
Many interpret not making a big jump up as going down. Drives me nuts.
FCTrapper is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 01:23 PM   #48
Javelin
Pope & Young
 
Javelin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Lufkin
Hunt In: Northern Polk County on the river, Houston County
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jshouse View Post
it would be very interesting to see something from your place that made it to 6+ to see if they would bounce back, like FCT said.
Only pic I have of the one I shot is of him after I shot him. I have had two computer crashes since then. Like I said though, I have been in other areas of East Texas that the deer seem to keep getting bigger till 6+ years old, but in certain pockets the growth does seem to stop at an earlier age than the other places.
Name:  pmpbow.jpg
Views: 2475
Size:  98.1 KB
Also in the late 90s my dad and another guy hunted a particular deer for 4 years, he was very recognizable. Anyhow he started as a 3yr old 9pt that would go upper 140s, then at 4 was a few inches bigger. As a 5yr old he was low 130s and then when dad killed him he was a fugly 6pt at 6 years old. Obviously no trail cam pics nor pics from the kill. I can get the pics of the rack though

Last edited by Javelin; 09-15-2013 at 01:33 PM.
Javelin is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 01:38 PM   #49
Javelin
Pope & Young
 
Javelin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Lufkin
Hunt In: Northern Polk County on the river, Houston County
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encinal View Post
Do they really go down, or does their score go down?

Building a rack is a process. Lots of times from 4-5 there is a shift from tine length to MASS.

This lowers the score, but increases the antler volume. It's a function of B&C scoring bias, not antler size.
The one I killed lost tine length, but mass didn't change that I could notice. Now the one I described that my dad killed lost lots of stuff, points, spread, score, everything except mass at 6yrs old.
Javelin is offline   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Old 09-15-2013, 02:05 PM   #50
millman
Ten Point
 
millman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Edgewood, Texas
Hunt In: Sonora, and anywhere I can draw a tag
Default

Thanks for the thread! After purchasing my first place big enough to manage I only can hope that in 7 years I have some experience to add.....
millman is online now   Reply With Quote Back To The Top
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright 1999-2012, TexasBowhunter.com