AGING ON THE HOOF By:  Eugene R. Fuchs Kerr Wildlife Management Area Texas Parks and Wildlife www.tpwd.state.tx.us/hillcou...
How Old Are These Bucks ??? The ART of Aging White-tailed Deer on the Hoof ( not an exact science) There are some basics t...
“ NUBBIN” BUCK FAWN This is NOT a  SPIKE BUCK NO HARDENED ANTLERS PROTRUDING THRU THE SKIN
This is a yearling buck  (1.5   yrs.)  with no visible hardened antlers – note that the pedicle is flat and not rounded as...
SPIKE BUCK Normally 1.5 years old Not all yearlings are spikes, but most spikes are yearlings.
YEARLING BUCK (1.5 years old) Slender neck that meets body at mid-chest Ears normally appear large Head is slender from fr...
Yearling  Buck Slender Head Slender Neck Slender Body  ( slight on mass and muscle) Legs appear long
1.5 yr. old 2.5 yr. old See how neck meets chest / brisket Legs appear long on 1.5 yr.old bucks.  As a buck gets older the...
?????? This buck could either be a good yearling OR a low-end 2.5 year old AND/OR Good quality 1.5 year olds often look li...
2.5 – 3.5 year old Neck appears full but not swollen and meets body just above brisket swirl. Chest and hindquarters appea...
3.5 year old buck—full neck, skin tight under jaw, chest and hindquarters appear to have same depths, belly not obvious .
Profile of head Immature Mature
Immature (3 yrs.) Mature (4-5 yrs.) Look at head, swelling of neck, chest,  hindquarters, skin under jaw, length of legs –...
Mature Buck ( 4.5 years or older ) Note muscle definitions on neck, shoulders, and hindquarters Chest is deeper than hindq...
MATURE BUCK (4.5 years and older) Chest appears deeper than hindquarters Neck swollen and blends  into brisket Loose skin ...
Mature Buck Swollen neck Muscular chest Loose skin  under jaw  This is what a healthy buck 4.5 to 6.5 years old should loo...
Mature Buck Notice loose skin under jaw line Broad, full chest and brisket
Buck in front is 3-4 years old and buck in back is   “old enough”
South Texas Hill Country Profile showing thickness of head – forehead to jaw on mature buck
Mature Neck  (swollen) Chest  (broad) Muscles  (defined) Legs  (short) Belly  (sagging)
Mature  Hindquarters  Chest Neck Head  Look at these characteristics
“ OLD”  and   NOT HEALTHY
The size of the antlers is not always  a good indicator of age !!!!! THIS IS A YEARLING BUCK ( 1.5 YEARS OLD )
Donnie  Harmel White-tailed Deer Research Facility Kerr Wildlife Management Area 2002 Buck # 01-12 Age: 1.5 yrs Weight: 13...
MATURE Immature Yearling (1.5 yr.)
How Old Are These Bucks  ??? Yearling Mature Immature
How wide is the spread  ??
This is an immature age buck with an outside antler beam spread just outside of the ears when ears are in the alert positi...
How about this buck’s spread ?
Wide Enough
Do you see the DOE  ???
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Aging On Hoof 3

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How to Age Deer in the Field

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  • Aging On Hoof 3

    1. 1. AGING ON THE HOOF By: Eugene R. Fuchs Kerr Wildlife Management Area Texas Parks and Wildlife www.tpwd.state.tx.us/hillcountry
    2. 2. How Old Are These Bucks ??? The ART of Aging White-tailed Deer on the Hoof ( not an exact science) There are some basics to understand, but body condition, time of year, high protein supplements, and geographic location will effect aging on the hoof.
    3. 3. “ NUBBIN” BUCK FAWN This is NOT a SPIKE BUCK NO HARDENED ANTLERS PROTRUDING THRU THE SKIN
    4. 4. This is a yearling buck (1.5 yrs.) with no visible hardened antlers – note that the pedicle is flat and not rounded as on the “nubbin” buck fawn below. Photo taken in October of 1½ yr. old
    5. 5. SPIKE BUCK Normally 1.5 years old Not all yearlings are spikes, but most spikes are yearlings.
    6. 6. YEARLING BUCK (1.5 years old) Slender neck that meets body at mid-chest Ears normally appear large Head is slender from front and side and tight skinned Antler spread normally WITHIN ear tips
    7. 7. Yearling Buck Slender Head Slender Neck Slender Body ( slight on mass and muscle) Legs appear long
    8. 8. 1.5 yr. old 2.5 yr. old See how neck meets chest / brisket Legs appear long on 1.5 yr.old bucks. As a buck gets older the legs appear to become shorter as compared to body debths.
    9. 9. ?????? This buck could either be a good yearling OR a low-end 2.5 year old AND/OR Good quality 1.5 year olds often look like the average 2.5 year old Be Careful !
    10. 10. 2.5 – 3.5 year old Neck appears full but not swollen and meets body just above brisket swirl. Chest and hindquarters appear to have same depths Top of back usually straight
    11. 11. 3.5 year old buck—full neck, skin tight under jaw, chest and hindquarters appear to have same depths, belly not obvious .
    12. 12. Profile of head Immature Mature
    13. 13. Immature (3 yrs.) Mature (4-5 yrs.) Look at head, swelling of neck, chest, hindquarters, skin under jaw, length of legs – BUT remember deer are like people – NO TWO ARE EXACTLY ALIKE
    14. 14. Mature Buck ( 4.5 years or older ) Note muscle definitions on neck, shoulders, and hindquarters Chest is deeper than hindquarters Forehead and eyes may appear broader than on immature bucks Photo taken before rut
    15. 15. MATURE BUCK (4.5 years and older) Chest appears deeper than hindquarters Neck swollen and blends into brisket Loose skin under jaw on many mature bucks Photo taken at end of rut Note absence of belly
    16. 16. Mature Buck Swollen neck Muscular chest Loose skin under jaw This is what a healthy buck 4.5 to 6.5 years old should look like in the prime of life on good habitat
    17. 17. Mature Buck Notice loose skin under jaw line Broad, full chest and brisket
    18. 18. Buck in front is 3-4 years old and buck in back is “old enough”
    19. 19. South Texas Hill Country Profile showing thickness of head – forehead to jaw on mature buck
    20. 20. Mature Neck (swollen) Chest (broad) Muscles (defined) Legs (short) Belly (sagging)
    21. 21. Mature Hindquarters Chest Neck Head Look at these characteristics
    22. 22. “ OLD” and NOT HEALTHY
    23. 23. The size of the antlers is not always a good indicator of age !!!!! THIS IS A YEARLING BUCK ( 1.5 YEARS OLD )
    24. 24. Donnie Harmel White-tailed Deer Research Facility Kerr Wildlife Management Area 2002 Buck # 01-12 Age: 1.5 yrs Weight: 136 lbs. 12 points 20 ¼ in.spread 133 5/8 GB&C
    25. 25. MATURE Immature Yearling (1.5 yr.)
    26. 26. How Old Are These Bucks ??? Yearling Mature Immature
    27. 27. How wide is the spread ??
    28. 28. This is an immature age buck with an outside antler beam spread just outside of the ears when ears are in the alert position.
    29. 29. How about this buck’s spread ?
    30. 30. Wide Enough
    31. 31. Do you see the DOE ???

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