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Old 09-22-2022, 05:09 PM   #1
LivinADream
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Default Mature deer aging on the hoof

I feel like I have a pretty good idea on aging from fawns to 5ish, after that it's a crapshoot. I also feel like once they're OLD OLD (whatever that might be, 8-12?) I can see it. It's the 5-8ish that I have a hard time seeing a difference in. Ex: I can't tell the difference in a 5yr old vs a 7 yr old.

Having said that, I got a new little piece of tx this summer, and put out a couple of cameras. Not in a big buck area, but that's not too important to me. My goals in hunting have pretty well turned into wanting to kill a mature animal, (have been this way for several years now) big horns are a plus, but the age is what gets my ticker going. Specific age is not as important in general, 5+ is good for me, but this property I'd like to bump that number up. Problem is, as said earlier, I can't tell the difference. Enough rambling. This is the first mature deer I have got pics of, and I'm fairly confident that he makes the 5+ group, is he older than 5? What are your thoughts. I know his headgear isn't much, bit this isn't about that. Tried to include as many angles and positions as possible.

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Old 09-22-2022, 05:15 PM   #2
Gumbo Man
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I’m like you beyond 5 1/2 other than known history it’s a guessing game for me. But with that being said I’m confident that this deer is at least 5 1/2
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:13 PM   #3
roysmoke
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The best way you're really going to be able to tell the deer's age is to keep records of them and follow them when they're young. I have several deer on my lease right now that are 8.5 and look 4.5 but I know their history. Otherwise you're just making the best educated guess you can in my opinion.
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:32 PM   #4
GarGuy
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Kill him and get his teeth aged. Then you will really be confused.
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:34 PM   #5
Mitchell8
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6.25
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:42 PM   #6
bugleboy
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If he looks good to you, he’s old enough. ��
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:51 PM   #7
LivinADream
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarGuy View Post
Kill him and get his teeth aged. Then you will really be confused.
No doubt. My 3 year old guessed 8, she's just as likely to be right.
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Originally Posted by bugleboy View Post
If he looks good to you, he’s old enough. ��
I'll likely never even hunt him. Just trying to learn. What I'd really like to know is what to expect from a 5 yr old vs a 7,8,9 year old in this particular area. I know without history it's going to be a guess. Just getting other opinions is all.

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Old 09-22-2022, 07:05 PM   #8
Drycreek3189
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The so called experts can’t distinguish those bucks ages either. Once they get fully mature it’s a S. W. A. G. Tooth aging is about 55% accurate using the jawbone method and about 65% accurate using the cementum annuli method. This is from a study of known age deer and not my guess.
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:18 PM   #9
RMW
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Looks ancient
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:23 PM   #10
bugleboy
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I watched a show on tv this morning with Dr James Kroll talking about aging a bucks. He basically said that a mature deer would have tarsal gland markings down his legs at 4 1/2 years old. He wouldn’t even go any further on how to guess an at age after that.
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bugleboy View Post
I watched a show on tv this morning with Dr James Kroll talking about aging a bucks. He basically said that a mature deer would have tarsal gland markings down his legs at 4 1/2 years old. He wouldn’t even go any further on how to guess an at age after that.
He’s a clown
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:54 PM   #12
kyle1974
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Default Mature deer aging on the hoof

the head is what I look at. A friend of mine that's very sharp on deer and has had the opportunity to see thousands of mature bucks taught me quite a bit. one of the things that has always stuck with me was when he said - It's just like old people. you have fat old people, skinny old people, but how do you know they're old? you see it in their face. You see it in their head.

sure there are body conditions that spilt old and young, but when I started really focusing on the heads is why I got a lot closer to the deer's age.

but it's still really hard to see a deer for the first time and say “hes 6 or he's 7". Specific ages come from a particular deer's history and watching them from a younger age.

Last edited by kyle1974; 09-22-2022 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 09-22-2022, 09:11 PM   #13
Chance Love
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There’s tons of characteristics to look for, but you already know that. And what gets fun is, none of those characteristics is 100% static across the board. It takes a lot of time to learn this stuff. Gotta look at a LOT of deer. When you get to watch them and keep track of them for YEARS, it helps a ton. There are some things that you just won’t see on younger deer. Now all that being said I don’t believe someone can just look at a deer they’ve never seen before, and tell you with 100% confidence that “he is 8 and not 9 because only at 9 will they exhibit X trait”. You must have history with them in order to be accurate.

The deer you posted looks like an 8 year old to me.
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Old 09-23-2022, 07:25 AM   #14
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History on the deer is our friend.
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Old 09-23-2022, 07:53 AM   #15
youngbuck1
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I’d say shoot him
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Old 09-23-2022, 07:58 AM   #16
jt400
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As others have said history is key. I personally stopped trying to pin down an exact age. They're either young, middle aged or mature. For our management program not much else matters.

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Old 09-23-2022, 08:58 AM   #17
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There is not a way to successfully age on the hoof post-mature. The problem is that many characteristics begin to recede or regress back to levels more consistent with prior years (eg. muscle mass, weight, antler characteristics, etc.). Of the antler measurements, mass (basal circumference) is the most consistent indicator, but is highly variable between deer, meaning that its usefulness is questionable. As far as body characteristics, only skeletal measurements would not recede, but again, that would be hard to evaluate deterministically.
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Old 09-23-2022, 09:47 AM   #18
Huntingfool
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roysmoke View Post
The best way you're really going to be able to tell the deer's age is to keep records of them and follow them when they're young. I have several deer on my lease right now that are 8.5 and look 4.5 but I know their history. Otherwise you're just making the best educated guess you can in my opinion.
I agree with this - have been on our south texas lease for 15 years and we utilize trail camera pics (both still and video) to identify our bucks and track them over the years. New bucks will show up occasionally but most of the time we are able to keep up with age this way

We have had 200 inch deer that were 6-8 years old that had the body that looked like a doe. Also have had older deer that were built like a tank - just like humans their characteristics vary from deer to deer
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Old 09-23-2022, 09:50 AM   #19
M16
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I go a lot by the face. Using a spotting scope for a close up view will tell you a lot of things. Sagging ears, loose skin, length of nose, among other indications. The eyes always tell a story. Pay attention to how the deer walks. Arthritis isn't just for humans. Old deer don't have the fluid gate of a younger one. Check for wear on the hide at the knees.

My South Texas ranch has a good number of old deer. I usually have a good idea how old most of them are. But there are subtle differences that can help you may an educated guess when the deer are in the 5.5-10.5 age category.

As far as tooth aging. In my experience it will get you within 3.5 years of the actual age.
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Old 09-23-2022, 09:53 AM   #20
Snowflake Killa
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Quote:
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Kill him and get his teeth aged. Then you will really be confused.
Boy ain't that the truth. The problem with our deer is 2 body types. Some 6 year Olds weight 150 and some weight 225. It's easy on the 225 deer. Oh don't even start on post rut deer

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Old 09-23-2022, 09:58 AM   #21
M16
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Originally Posted by Huntingfool View Post
We have had 200 inch deer that were 6-8 years old that had the body that looked like a doe.
I recall one I shot that was just like that. His nickname was "cigar body". He was only a 190 though. Might be something to the small body big antlers.

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Old 09-23-2022, 11:41 AM   #22
LivinADream
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M16 View Post
I go a lot by the face. Using a spotting scope for a close up view will tell you a lot of things. Sagging ears, loose skin, length of nose, among other indications. The eyes always tell a story. Pay attention to how the deer walks. Arthritis isn't just for humans. Old deer don't have the fluid gate of a younger one. Check for wear on the hide at the knees.

My South Texas ranch has a good number of old deer. I usually have a good idea how old most of them are. But there are subtle differences that can help you may an educated guess when the deer are in the 5.5-10.5 age category.

As far as tooth aging. In my experience it will get you within 3.5 years of the actual age.
This was more along the lines of what I was looking for. I guess really I was just wondering if there is anything in particular I was missing on the 5-8 yr range without having history. Doesn't look like there is. I know all hoof aging is a guess at best without history, but I do think there are things that can get us close with lots of study time.

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Old 09-23-2022, 12:39 PM   #23
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6.25


6.40
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Old 09-23-2022, 10:04 PM   #24
GarGuy
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Originally Posted by LivinADream View Post
This was more along the lines of what I was looking for. I guess really I was just wondering if there is anything in particular I was missing on the 5-8 yr range without having history. Doesn't look like there is. I know all hoof aging is a guess at best without history, but I do think there are things that can get us close with lots of study time.

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Well I can't do it. I have studied deer for many years. Thousands of pics per year. I have crazy amounts of history. I look at those deer and I'm amazed how poor I am at aging fully mature deer without history. I have had a dozen over 10yrs old. Who would have guessed it? Then we kill known 9 year olds with 5 yr old teeth...
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Old 09-24-2022, 08:20 AM   #25
BRUTE 23
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I would call that mature and he would be on the hit list for some one.

It's so hard to get people to shoot deer like that. Every one is afraid of being chastised. They act like if you take one 4 yr old out on accident trying to learn the deer hunting as we know it will end. LoL

Once we learned to identify those deer we have taken quite a few like that people passed because of the racks and got old as sin. My son has shot 2 with not much for horns but were dang near having to gum their food.

They have become my favorite now because we will bust them first thing and take them for links or sausage. They are usually big deer and make a lot of meet.

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