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Old 02-22-2012, 06:15 PM   #1
rtp
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Let the guesses start. Pics were taken in late Dec to early Jan. Refugio county.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:20 PM   #2
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Looks young, like 2 or 3
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:22 PM   #3
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3.5 - 4.5
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:48 PM   #4
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3.5
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:52 PM   #5
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2.5 to 3.5 IMO.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:54 PM   #6
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Looks 3.5 to me, nice buck
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:58 PM   #7
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I do not think the deer is as young as he appears. The dark black hocks with staining down the leg indicates an older deer. I think his body just looks very slim because he is run down from chasing does. Deer always appear older post rut.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:20 PM   #8
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I know he wouldnt make it another year!!!!! Nice buck!!
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:52 PM   #9
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6.5 and probably older.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:33 PM   #10
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5.5
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:39 PM   #11
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I do not think the deer is as young as he appears. The dark black hocks with staining down the leg indicates an older deer. I think his body just looks very slim because he is run down from chasing does. Deer always appear older post rut.
Sorry, meant deer appear younger post rut. Not older. I think the deer is probably 5.5
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:40 PM   #12
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I do not think the deer is as young as he appears. The dark black hocks with staining down the leg indicates an older deer. I think his body just looks very slim because he is run down from chasing does. Deer always appear older post rut.
Yes the dark hooks are definitely the sign of a mature buck. A four year old will not have that dark a stain and it runs all the way to the hoof. I think you may have meant to say that deer always appear younger post rut.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:46 PM   #13
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I would say 3.5
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:36 PM   #14
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Yes I did mean to say deer appear younger post rut. Just a typo! Lol
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:36 PM   #15
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5.5, hock stain shows him to be older even though he has a slim younger looking body
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:57 PM   #16
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At least 4 1/2, but with no gray in the face, not older than 5 1/2
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:36 PM   #17
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I'll let it go on a little while longer tomorrow. This deer was shot so I know the age (by tooth wear). FYI, he scored 144 7/8.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:46 PM   #18
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4.5
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:49 PM   #19
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He will be tough
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:01 PM   #20
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Ok, no more guesses so far today so here it is. This buck was post mature. His teeth showed extreme wear. When I see this I just list them at 7.5+ in our records. I had no history with this buck. He just seemed to show up out of nowhere around mid Dec. This is the reason I love hunting low fence places. He started becoming a regular at a couple of my feeders by the end of Dec. When I first started getting pics, I thought this buck was middle aged and didnt think much more about him. As I got more pics I changed my mind and realized he was an older buck and let a management hunter take him. None of us had seen the buck in person prior to the hunter seeing him and shooting him so when I told my guides I was going to let someone hunt him, they looked at me like I was crazy. They thought this was an exceptional young 8 pt buck. If you look closely at the pics you will see the backbone and hip bones of this buck. This told me he was extremely run down. You will also see the black staining from his hocks to his hooves. Again not something we see on our place until a buck is at least 5.5. The last tell tell sign I picked up on him that indicated he was an older buck was the bare spot on the front of his front knees. This is only seen in older bucks. THis was a super 8 pt that Im glad the hunter got. BTW, his H1 measurement was 5 3/8" on each side. Right above the burrs they were 6.5". This is exceptional mass for our area.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:10 PM   #21
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Thanks for posting...might as well just throw out the book on that one. I thought he looked run down and noticed that his hocks were exceptionally dark. I figured he was either extremely old or a nice young buck that participated heavily in the rut. In cases like this you almost have to observe the buck's behavior to make an accurate judgement.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:15 PM   #22
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No surprise at all. The hocks being real dark and the staining going all the way to the hoof is something hardly ever found on a buck younger than 5.5. You can't go totally by body confirmation on a post rut buck. Another clue is the very dark hair on the forehead. Small wonder why we have antler restrictions instead of age restrictions. Most hunters don't have a clue when it comes to aging on the hoof.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:28 PM   #23
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I would say 3.5 but surprised at how dark his hocks are.... sometimes young bucks can start early though.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:30 PM   #24
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Looking again I think 5.5 The fact that the camera is mounted up high is making the body look extra small.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:47 PM   #25
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I wouldn't have guessed 7, but the teeth usually don't lie. I watched a big deer earlier in the year that I had pegged as a 4 year old. He was shot later that month and was aged as a 7 year old. The ranch owner knew the deer, so it was a little different situation, but still this is always interesting to see a deer that doesn't show the expected signs of being an old fart.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:10 PM   #26
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Ok, no more guesses so far today so here it is. This buck was post mature. His teeth showed extreme wear. When I see this I just list them at 7.5+ in our records. I had no history with this buck. He just seemed to show up out of nowhere around mid Dec. This is the reason I love hunting low fence places. He started becoming a regular at a couple of my feeders by the end of Dec. When I first started getting pics, I thought this buck was middle aged and didnt think much more about him. As I got more pics I changed my mind and realized he was an older buck and let a management hunter take him. None of us had seen the buck in person prior to the hunter seeing him and shooting him so when I told my guides I was going to let someone hunt him, they looked at me like I was crazy. They thought this was an exceptional young 8 pt buck. If you look closely at the pics you will see the backbone and hip bones of this buck. This told me he was extremely run down. You will also see the black staining from his hocks to his hooves. Again not something we see on our place until a buck is at least 5.5. The last tell tell sign I picked up on him that indicated he was an older buck was the bare spot on the front of his front knees. This is only seen in older bucks. THis was a super 8 pt that Im glad the hunter got. BTW, his H1 measurement was 5 3/8" on each side. Right above the burrs they were 6.5". This is exceptional mass for our area.
Thanks for the update and breakdown. I like how you spelled it out "Reasons" style. Good lesson in learning. You judge in 4-H or FFA when you were younger?
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:32 PM   #27
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Thanks for the update and breakdown. I like how you spelled it out "Reasons" style. Good lesson in learning. You judge in 4-H or FFA when you were younger?
LOL, no I was nowhere near the 4-H or FFA growing up. I just have always liked being in the outdoors and at 48, I have observed a lot of stuff. Im fortunate to have the opportunity to observe probably 50+ mature bucks and 100+ younger bucks per season(yearling to 3.5 yr olds) nearly every season. That has been a tremendous help.

I did post this because I suspected the avg answer was going to be 3.5 because of the general body appearance. I wanted to show that sometimes you have to look at other details to make an assessment of age, especially late in the season. I thought this might help some that dont get to observe as many bucks.

I did not mention the darker forehead because while I normally see this on mature bucks, I have seen this on some of my 4.5 yr olds so I relied more on the other characteristics in helping me make my decision. The other clue that helped me was the mass of this buck's bases. I have never, and I repeat never seen a 3.5 or 4.5 old buck with that kind of mass. On my place I can count on one hand the number of bucks taken that have had 5"+ bases and they were all very mature.

Thanks for playing along everyone.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:11 PM   #28
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I think the average answer is always 3.5 on any age this deer thread. Anyone who didn't pick up on the hocks needs to quit guessing and start studying. I hate aging by photo or video but you had some excellent pictures. The dark forehead hair is a definite clue. I wouldn't go by this alone but it is a clue as to age. You know your area better than I do but the heavy bases would not sway my thinking. I have some young deer with very heavy bases. Probably just the difference in locations.

Also be careful with tooth wear. Someone said the teeth don't lie. Well unfortunately they lie quite often. On my ranch a deer that I know is 7.5 was harvested and his teeth aged 5.5. I've had a lot of deer where the teeth wear and the deer's age didn't match. Cementum annuli aging is an educated guess. A lot depends on the habitat as well as the deer's diet. Different places age differently.

Photos don't give you a chance to see how the deer walks. This is always a good clue on an old deer. They don't have the fluid motion of a younger buck. Instead they have that old deer swagger with arthritic joints. Things you can't pick up on photo.

Thanks for posting the pictures.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:32 PM   #29
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I agree with you that different areas show different levels of tooth wear. Looking at tooth wear for a deer killed on the Kennedy is a little different than looking at a deer killed on a ranch in the hill country that feeds high levels of protein. For the most part, on any given ranch, the teeth wear will be relatively common for like aged deer. Once there is a baseline for a particular ranch, the vast majority of the deer can be aged accurately.

As for photos, that's absolutely true. depending on the angle of the photo, you can change the way a deer looks dramatically. Even video can play tricks on you sometimes. Seeing them in person is just the best way.

Judging on hock coloration I have seen different results. We have a deer that's probably 8 years old with relatively light colored hocks. Most of the 5-6 year old deer have dark hocks, but definitely not all of them.

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Old 02-23-2012, 04:38 PM   #30
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Age this deer by the hocks and you'd be a bit off...
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:44 PM   #31
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I wouldnt have guessed him that old...very cool, thanks for the continuing education of us uneducated hunters
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:59 PM   #32
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X2. I think this would be a really good exercise for one of you more educated hunters to start a thread on every week. We could give our best educated guess & then learn from y'all what the real age is and how you would have drawn the correct conclusion. It'd be an excellent opportunity to sharpen those skills before next year. I don't feel like I need to know scoring antlers as much as I need to know aging a deer on hoof- IMO.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:00 PM   #33
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Age this deer by the hocks and you'd be a bit off...
He doesn't look like a post rut deer in the picture. When was it taken? Aging by the hocks won't work until they start pissing their hocks getting ready for the rut. Some deer are so old they can't rut so no use pissing the hocks.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:04 PM   #34
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Late December I think. The rut seemed to kick off a couple weeks earlier than it did last year. I think that was exactly the case of this deer. Just too **** old. The protein feeders were "accidentally" filled up too late in the year, so the deer had protein throughout most of the rut. Maybe it helped them a little bit.

I wanted to kill this deer this year but it never worked out. We'll throw some geritol out in his area, maybe we can get another year out of him.

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Old 02-23-2012, 05:36 PM   #35
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Also be careful with tooth wear. Someone said the teeth don't lie. Well unfortunately they lie quite often. On my ranch a deer that I know is 7.5 was harvested and his teeth aged 5.5. I've had a lot of deer where the teeth wear and the deer's age didn't match. Cementum annuli aging is an educated guess. A lot depends on the habitat as well as the deer's diet. Different places age differently.
I only do the Cementum Annuli aging if the tooth wear does match up with what my physical assessment was. I have never had a deer show more wear on their teeth than I estimated. Sometimes like you indicated the teeth showed less wear than the deer's actual age. The Cementum Annuli method always has matched up with what I either knew or suspected the age to be.

Curious if you have ever had a deer show dramaticly more tooth wear than what you knew the age was? I havent.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:37 PM   #36
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X2. I think this would be a really good exercise for one of you more educated hunters to start a thread on every week. We could give our best educated guess & then learn from y'all what the real age is and how you would have drawn the correct conclusion. It'd be an excellent opportunity to sharpen those skills before next year. I don't feel like I need to know scoring antlers as much as I need to know aging a deer on hoof- IMO.
If I can find some more examples I will post them. Maybe others have some other examples they can post up.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:41 PM   #37
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Here's one.... Early in the year, He's dead now.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:45 PM   #38
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Here's another photo of him when he was having a bad day.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:29 PM   #39
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No daytime pics of him alive? Im pretty sure I know what the range of age is on him but might be better if some of the others can see a color pic.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:01 PM   #40
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here's one day time... he was always coming in right when the cameras went to IR mode. a buddy of mine shot him... tripped on the feeder pen trying to run and dropped right there. he was pretty messed up from fighting, he had lost his left eye and had deep cuts on his head and neck.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:14 PM   #41
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Curious if you have ever had a deer show dramaticly more tooth wear than what you knew the age was? I havent.
Never. And as you know one side will usually age a year older than the other side. The biologist on my old lease used to use the least worn side to determine the age. I now believe you should at least use the most worn side. If the deer has been eating protien his/her entire life you can probably add a year or two.

Having bought my own ranch eight years ago it's been possible to watch more and shoot less. No longer being in competition with lease mates lets you pass deer you might otherwise shoot. I haven't shot a trophy deer in the last five years or so. I'm to the point where it's more fun to watch them on the hoof instead of seeing them on the wall. You learn a lot more from watching then you do from shooting.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:27 PM   #42
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Agree. I set the rules on my place and have veto power over everything so it has been a lot of fun to sit back and watch. I am entering my 7th year of protein so Im thinking these deer are going to start showing less tooth wear than in the past. That will allow me to extend my age criteria on trophies from 5.5 to 6.5 and then probably 7.5. I was always taught to use the most worn side when aging. Continued good luck on your place.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:49 PM   #43
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Good to see that some people are catching on to the tooth wear stigma. We are on our 5th year of protein and are seeing that the management and cull bucks we are harvesting at 4 and 5 this season were showing a year or two less by toothwear. Most of these bucks we have watched from 2.5 yrs. We all have our guesses and some of us look at deer every day. But the only way we will ever know how old they are, exactly, is when we bottle raise them and watch them die. But, we wouldn't be blogging about how old our deer are if it were an exact science. So, keep the pics coming and we can keep having fun and trading opinions. We'll never stop learning about these awesome critters.
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