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#6019898 - 11/09/15 04:01 PM How old do they live??
tlk Online   content
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Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 1973
I am curious as to thoughts on the odds of deer living until they are 10, 12, or even 14 years old? I am not talking about one in a rare case but a number of them in the same herd? And not deer in captivity but free range.

I have always read and been told that even on protein a deer's teeth will wear down to where they cannot chew and digest food well any longer. Assuming they don't get shot or killed by a predator, is it possible for a large number of them to live to those ages?
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#6019907 - 11/09/15 04:05 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: tlk]
redchevy Offline
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Registered: 10/25/04
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I would doubt it.
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#6019918 - 11/09/15 04:10 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: tlk]
stxranchman Offline
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Registered: 08/04/10
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I was on a ranch that was part of the old Welder Cameron. CKWRI had put collars and tags on bucks and does for research in the 80's. Whole ranch was LF up until the late 90's when they sold off pastures. In 99 I saw a doe with a telemetry collar and green ear tags. I talked to one of the guys at CKWRI and he said if she was tagged the last year of the study(3 yrs running of collaring/tagging) as a doe fawn that she would have been 14 yrs old that year. She had 2 fawns that year in bow season when I saw her. She was till alive in 2000 or 2001 till about 18,000 acres sold and the owners son was the manager of the ranch and he killed her just so he could have the collar. I know of two more collars found on the ranch in bone piles. I killed a buck that was the oldest buck I have every seen in person.

He is the euro on the right. The other buck was killed about 2.5 miles away on same ranch, the same year. I aged him at 7.5 that year.

I know that Jambers had a buck that was born in the wild and a wild deer but behind a HF in McMullen County that was noted to live till 21 or 22 yrs of age. No protein, but the buck lost all of his teeth around age 10 or so and was hand fed by Mr. Jambers from that point on everyday till he died. The buck died a week later IIRC. There was an article in TTHA magazine about the buck. He was in a pasture around the HQ that was a no hunting saftey area and never left it.
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#6020000 - 11/09/15 04:58 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: stxranchman]
tlk Online   content
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Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 1973
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
I was on a ranch that was part of the old Welder Cameron. CKWRI had put collars and tags on bucks and does for research in the 80's. Whole ranch was LF up until the late 90's when they sold off pastures. In 99 I saw a doe with a telemetry collar and green ear tags. I talked to one of the guys at CKWRI and he said if she was tagged the last year of the study(3 yrs running of collaring/tagging) as a doe fawn that she would have been 14 yrs old that year. She had 2 fawns that year in bow season when I saw her. She was till alive in 2000 or 2001 till about 18,000 acres sold and the owners son was the manager of the ranch and he killed her just so he could have the collar. I know of two more collars found on the ranch in bone piles. I killed a buck that was the oldest buck I have every seen in person.

He is the euro on the right. The other buck was killed about 2.5 miles away on same ranch, the same year. I aged him at 7.5 that year.

I know that Jambers had a buck that was born in the wild and a wild deer but behind a HF in McMullen County that was noted to live till 21 or 22 yrs of age. No protein, but the buck lost all of his teeth around age 10 or so and was hand fed by Mr. Jambers from that point on everyday till he died. The buck died a week later IIRC. There was an article in TTHA magazine about the buck. He was in a pasture around the HQ that was a no hunting saftey area and never left it.


Interesting stuff - what is your feeling though on multiple deer out of a herd living to those ages? I understand an exception or hand feeding but in the wild can there be a good percentage of deer live to those ages?
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#6020029 - 11/09/15 05:10 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: tlk]
txtrophy85 Offline
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I know of a ranch in Jim Hogg county that regularly shoots bucks in the 9+ year old range. My buddy killed one they aged at 12 years old

Another buddy has a ranch in McMullen that they have killed several that was 9+ years old

I have guided one hunter to a deer that was 9 1/2 years old certified (was released out of a pen as a two year old and had a freeze brand).
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.

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#6020046 - 11/09/15 05:20 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: txtrophy85]
dkershen Offline


Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 15139
Loc: Denton/Argyle
Originally Posted By: txtrophy85
I know of a ranch in Jim Hogg county that regularly shoots bucks in the 9+ year old range. My buddy killed one they aged at 12 years old

Another buddy has a ranch in McMullen that they have killed several that was 9+ years old

I have guided one hunter to a deer that was 9 1/2 years old certified (was released out of a pen as a two year old and had a freeze brand).


How would you age a 12 year old buck? I've killed 8 and 9 year olds and they are dang near toothless at that point. Never seen a chart that went past 9.5. confused2
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#6020067 - 11/09/15 05:35 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: dkershen]
tlk Online   content
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Originally Posted By: dkershen
Originally Posted By: txtrophy85
I know of a ranch in Jim Hogg county that regularly shoots bucks in the 9+ year old range. My buddy killed one they aged at 12 years old

Another buddy has a ranch in McMullen that they have killed several that was 9+ years old

I have guided one hunter to a deer that was 9 1/2 years old certified (was released out of a pen as a two year old and had a freeze brand).


How would you age a 12 year old buck? I've killed 8 and 9 year olds and they are dang near toothless at that point. Never seen a chart that went past 9.5. confused2


I agree - unless you have pics each year or collar not sure how that can be done - how does a deer 12 years old chew browse with no teeth? Again I am just curious
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#6020076 - 11/09/15 05:38 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: tlk]
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I also don't see how you could age one accurately to that age without tags or markings. Even with pics, when they start declining it would be difficult to identify that deer from year to year based on the antlers. Looks at the pics STX posted. I would take a guess that they didn't look anything like that when they were in their prime.
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#6020084 - 11/09/15 05:41 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: dkershen]
txtrophy85 Offline
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Registered: 08/12/05
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Originally Posted By: dkershen
Originally Posted By: txtrophy85
I know of a ranch in Jim Hogg county that regularly shoots bucks in the 9+ year old range. My buddy killed one they aged at 12 years old

Another buddy has a ranch in McMullen that they have killed several that was 9+ years old

I have guided one hunter to a deer that was 9 1/2 years old certified (was released out of a pen as a two year old and had a freeze brand).


How would you age a 12 year old buck? I've killed 8 and 9 year olds and they are dang near toothless at that point. Never seen a chart that went past 9.5. confused2


hell I don't know. the 9 year old buck we killed still had some teeth left and we know without a doubt he was 9 1/2 years old
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.

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#6020237 - 11/09/15 07:09 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: tlk]
stxranchman Offline
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Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
Originally Posted By: tlk
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
I was on a ranch that was part of the old Welder Cameron. CKWRI had put collars and tags on bucks and does for research in the 80's. Whole ranch was LF up until the late 90's when they sold off pastures. In 99 I saw a doe with a telemetry collar and green ear tags. I talked to one of the guys at CKWRI and he said if she was tagged the last year of the study(3 yrs running of collaring/tagging) as a doe fawn that she would have been 14 yrs old that year. She had 2 fawns that year in bow season when I saw her. She was till alive in 2000 or 2001 till about 18,000 acres sold and the owners son was the manager of the ranch and he killed her just so he could have the collar. I know of two more collars found on the ranch in bone piles. I killed a buck that was the oldest buck I have every seen in person.

He is the euro on the right. The other buck was killed about 2.5 miles away on same ranch, the same year. I aged him at 7.5 that year.

I know that Jambers had a buck that was born in the wild and a wild deer but behind a HF in McMullen County that was noted to live till 21 or 22 yrs of age. No protein, but the buck lost all of his teeth around age 10 or so and was hand fed by Mr. Jambers from that point on everyday till he died. The buck died a week later IIRC. There was an article in TTHA magazine about the buck. He was in a pasture around the HQ that was a no hunting saftey area and never left it.


Interesting stuff - what is your feeling though on multiple deer out of a herd living to those ages? I understand an exception or hand feeding but in the wild can there be a good percentage of deer live to those ages?

That pasture where the collared doe lived is the same pasture that buck came from. Deer will live a lot longer than we think they will in the wild. The reason many don't is people kill them before they get a chance to live out their life to the fullest. Jambers was only hand feeding that buck corn twice per day. He lived off what else he could eat.
This buck was in that same pasture. He was post mature the first time I saw him and this pic was taken 3 yrs later.
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#6020290 - 11/09/15 07:38 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: tlk]
Drahthaar Offline
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Registered: 08/27/13
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you can send the front two incisors ,(bottom center teeth) to deerage.com and the can give you the age of any deer. regardless of age. Forrest

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#6020304 - 11/09/15 07:45 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: Drahthaar]
tlk Online   content
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Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 1973
Originally Posted By: Drahthaar
you can send the front two incisors ,(bottom center teeth) to deerage.com and the can give you the age of any deer. regardless of age. Forrest


we do that with our deer - problem is once they hit 7-8 they even have trouble nailing the real age -
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#6020317 - 11/09/15 07:49 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: stxranchman]
tlk Online   content
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Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 1973
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
Originally Posted By: tlk
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
I was on a ranch that was part of the old Welder Cameron. CKWRI had put collars and tags on bucks and does for research in the 80's. Whole ranch was LF up until the late 90's when they sold off pastures. In 99 I saw a doe with a telemetry collar and green ear tags. I talked to one of the guys at CKWRI and he said if she was tagged the last year of the study(3 yrs running of collaring/tagging) as a doe fawn that she would have been 14 yrs old that year. She had 2 fawns that year in bow season when I saw her. She was till alive in 2000 or 2001 till about 18,000 acres sold and the owners son was the manager of the ranch and he killed her just so he could have the collar. I know of two more collars found on the ranch in bone piles. I killed a buck that was the oldest buck I have every seen in person.

He is the euro on the right. The other buck was killed about 2.5 miles away on same ranch, the same year. I aged him at 7.5 that year.

I know that Jambers had a buck that was born in the wild and a wild deer but behind a HF in McMullen County that was noted to live till 21 or 22 yrs of age. No protein, but the buck lost all of his teeth around age 10 or so and was hand fed by Mr. Jambers from that point on everyday till he died. The buck died a week later IIRC. There was an article in TTHA magazine about the buck. He was in a pasture around the HQ that was a no hunting saftey area and never left it.


Interesting stuff - what is your feeling though on multiple deer out of a herd living to those ages? I understand an exception or hand feeding but in the wild can there be a good percentage of deer live to those ages?

That pasture where the collared doe lived is the same pasture that buck came from. Deer will live a lot longer than we think they will in the wild. The reason many don't is people kill them before they get a chance to live out their life to the fullest. Jambers was only hand feeding that buck corn twice per day. He lived off what else he could eat.
This buck was in that same pasture. He was post mature the first time I saw him and this pic was taken 3 yrs later.



I hear you - however back to my original question - I understand there are individual bucks that can live that long. But in a free range low fence ranch can a large number of bucks live to those ages if they are not shot? I have read studies of collared deer that have 25% buck die off per year from predators alone.

How can a large percentage live that long without their teeth wearing out from eating natural browse and protein? I just have trouble from a common sense standpoint thinking a bunch of bucks in one herd can all live to 12-14 years old. I am willing to admit I am wrong but I am looking for a reasonable explanation as to how that many deer have teeth that last that long when they are chewing natural browse every day - somebody educate me


Edited by tlk (11/09/15 07:50 PM)
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#6020332 - 11/09/15 08:01 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: tlk]
Simple Searcher Offline
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I have a friend that has a low fence place, but I consider his deer "pet deer". His old doe roamed off at 16 1/2 years and never came back, she had twin fawns to 14 years old. He gives them all names and some are in the 12-14 year range.
We hunted a place near Laredo a few years back, we were shooting deer that had deformed jaws their teeth were so worn (like STXs pictures), we didn't know to to age them, some of their teeth had fallen out too.
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#6020345 - 11/09/15 08:09 PM Re: How old do they live?? [Re: tlk]
stxranchman Offline
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Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
Sombrerito Ranch typical shoots their trophy bucks at 9-10 yrs old and has for many years. Every ranch is different. The Cameron allowed no Moutain Lions to be killed ever when it was still under same ownership. They had a ton of coyotes on that ranch and those deer lived to that age under low fence and no feed for years. I would expect more deer to live that long if they were allowed to die of old age. I have a friend in the San Angelo area that has pictures of bucks that lived to be 14-15 yrs old on his ranch. HF? Yes, but native deer and fed protein. He never kills a top end buck and has numbers of bucks that are that age on his ranch every year. He allows them to die of old age with hopes they will breed one more doe each year.
Bucks and does were killed the first year I was managing that ranch and there were a lot of them that were aged as 7+ for age since it was impossible to tell how old they were at that point. Several had jawbones similar to the one I posted the pic of. They did shoot does every now and then. There was about 40 doe shot a year or so before I went to work there on that one pasture. So the does were managed from time to time. I know in the early 90's they shot them for 3 years or so then quit, other than a few meat hunters each season.
I think there are a lot of factors that will effect how long a deer can live. Weather, habitat, supplementation, minerals, etc all play a big part in survival.
Deer would be like humans with their teeth I would think. Some people loose their teeth early in life and others have a full set till they die. Diet effects both I would expect. Genetics could play a large part of it also. I think lack of late winter, post rut nutrition probably kills more bucks than anything else. They are run down, injured and easy pickings for coyotes.
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