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#6068552 - 12/05/15 06:34 PM Axis buck ages
therock Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 799
Loc: Southwest TX
How old is considered a mature axis buck? What is the avg. life span on one? Also, do all bucks start as spikes?

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#6068818 - 12/05/15 09:08 PM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1625
Depends on how you define "mature". An axis buck will reach 85-90% of the max antlers at around 5 years given good range condition. Unlike WT, an axis will continue to grow and develop throughout their lives. They don't seem to "degrade" like WT, but that may be because axis in Texas rarely reach their max age.

Axis deer can easily and commonly live 12-15 years and under good or captive conditions can live to be 18-20. Much longer than WT, but recently there is evidence that WT are living longer with the verification of two does recently at - if I remember correctly- 17 and 20 years respectively

For me, it has always been hard judging axis in their middle years from 6-10 years - this is because range conditions can affect ebb and flow of body shape and antler development. Lots of "tells" that different folks believe in - but one I believe is that the older axis tend to get "white-faced" showing lighter gray or white on the checks and upper neck - but this may just be local herd color variations

While at 5 years they may have 85-90% of their max length, older deer tend to put on mass on their antlers. Those big, thick main beams are almost always older bucks. But HF well maintained herds bad certain animals may develop faster.

Most HF Bucks get taken long before they get really old, although most ranchers consider them mature and ready to harvest at 5-6. But even on HF, there always seems to be that one buck that eludes hunters for years and years and gets old. But in my experience, some of the oldest and biggest axis bucks in TX are Wiley free range that -for whatever reason - elude getting shot and live well into double digits.

Some of these are in areas that are not hunted because they are too remote or semi-residential. The top three monsters I've seen were all in Parks or Preserves.

A 35" axis is a big axis bad most folks that see them, especially if they don't hunt them much, will over estimate them. But their are a very few true 38-40" axis running around out there. Most outfitters consider a 32" a trophy to their customers

Interestingly, on the average - it appears that Texas has the largest axis in the world. Even places like Hawaii with tons of axis, rarely get them over 35". Even in their native India (nowadays)

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#6068827 - 12/05/15 09:11 PM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1625
Most young males are spikes. Single points anywhere from 2" to 8/10". Second year isn't too impressive either. They really seem to "blow up" at 4 years.

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#6068838 - 12/05/15 09:16 PM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: John Humbert]
don k Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 9273
Loc: Bandera, Tx
Originally Posted By: John Humbert
Most young males are spikes. Single points anywhere from 2" to 8/10". Second year isn't too impressive either. They really seem to "blow up" at 4 years.
Exactly
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#6068842 - 12/05/15 09:20 PM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1625
I will add the following: I hunt mostly free range axis nowadays. There are a LOT of inferior free range axis running around. Our herd (about 30-40 animals) has 5-6 crappy "meat" bucks, but we have the genetics for some really, really nice animals.

With just 3 points on a side, it's amazing the variety of antler configuration. They can be skinny or thick, wide or tall, big brows or tiny brows, good or weak cottles (caudels).

The rarest and best trophies desired seem to be wide racks and long cottles. I'm still looking for one with big cottles. We have a couple running around but they are like ghosts - or the neighbors are getting them.


Edited by John Humbert (12/05/15 09:22 PM)

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#6068915 - 12/05/15 10:17 PM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
turkeykillet Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 03/09/14
Posts: 121
Very good read!!!

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#6069108 - 12/06/15 07:12 AM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
don k Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 9273
Loc: Bandera, Tx
Around this area an Axis rarely makes it past 4 years old. You mostly see spikes and 2 year old. Right now they are all staying along the river. Between here and town is the Mayan Dude Ranch. They throw out corn in the mornings for the WT and Axis. There has to be at least a 100 Axis come to feed and rarely do you see any large Bucks.. And it is LF
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#6069206 - 12/06/15 09:13 AM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1175
Loc: Tyler, TX
Great information. Thanks for sharing!!!!

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#6069274 - 12/06/15 10:03 AM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
postoak Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/19/09
Posts: 2541
Loc: The Woodlands, Tx
Very interesting information. I've never had much interest in Axis, but this past week I had a free-range buck standing broadside at 50 yards -- he thought he was hidden by brush -- and he had long antlers. I admit it got my blood flowing.
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#6069290 - 12/06/15 10:11 AM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
TimOub007 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 11/30/11
Posts: 337
I agree with a lot of what John said and he has likely been hunting them longer than me.

One thing I have seen on my HF axis herd is that there was at least one or two older deer that we watched their antlers go down hill their last year or two. One had 4-6" brow tines that fell off to 1-2" the following year. Then this year he didn't have much of any brow tines so he was taken in velvet just as his caudels were starting to split off the main beams. We just didn't want to feed him any longer.

What I would like to learn more about is how much they fight and the mortality from them fighting. We have found several axis bucks dead over the last few years but by the time we find the carcass it is too far decomposed to tell what could have been the cause of death. The middle of November I found the buck with the largest, widest antlers dead and would really like to know why. There was another one that was just finishing up growing that may have rubbed out about the time we got the last live pics of the wide one. I'm guessing that they got in a shoving match and the fresh antlers won. Alternatively, we theorize that a blackbuck may have gored the axis as they like to watch others fight.

We still have a large axis herd for the size of our place. The proximity to each other and the fact that the herd tends to stay bunched in one or two groups is also something that we feel is a factor.

T

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#6070665 - 12/07/15 09:06 AM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1175
Loc: Tyler, TX
How many axis per acre, or acres would be ideal to not have them fight or kill each other?

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#6070887 - 12/07/15 10:42 AM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: EddieWalker]
don k Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 9273
Loc: Bandera, Tx
Originally Posted By: EddieWalker
How many axis per acre, or acres would be ideal to not have them fight or kill each other?
I don't think it really matters. They just were born to fight. I only had a few maybe 2 per hundred acres and if they were not fighting each other they were fighting ones through the fence. Since I got rid of most I am not repairing fence as often.
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#6071153 - 12/07/15 12:42 PM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1625
Older "white-faced" axis buck from a few years ago


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#6071467 - 12/07/15 03:30 PM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
Elkhunter49 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Posts: 3248
Loc: Oak Harbor, Slidell La
Yep, white face is a dead give away. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Mr. Humbert

check out the white face on this buck!
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#6071468 - 12/07/15 03:32 PM Re: Axis buck ages [Re: therock]
Elkhunter49 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Posts: 3248
Loc: Oak Harbor, Slidell La
A different mature buck but he hasen't gone gray yet!
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