Not wanting to high jack another thread, I've started this one to draw attention to the subject of how to age deer while "on hoof". Hopefully, it might lessen the chance of someone having to experience the regret that so often goes with "ground shrinkage".
I found this YouTube video where Keith Warren offers his comments on the subject and apologize if it's been shared many times before. As with everything I have read or seen on the subject, they all point to a need to ignore the horns on a buck but focus instead on the legs and body. But of course, that can extremely difficult when the heart is pounding and "all I (you) can see is horns!"
Antlers should never be considered when aging deer on the hoof. And, once you've decided to kill a specific buck, the last thing you should be looking at before the shot, are his antlers. Look at the spot you want your bullet or arrow to hit. Focus only on that spot and your crosshairs, sights or pin.
I would say look at antlers first and if he's less than 8 points then look for another Buck. After confirming he's 8 points+ or whatever your minimum is you should stop looking at the antlers and focus on the body to age the Buck on the hoof.
In AR counties you have to look at the horns to verify it's a shooter. Age and number of points mean nothing to me. I'm looking to be sure it's a spike or 13" spread. Missed out on one last week when he wouldn't turn his head until he was stepping into the brush. Probably 15". Where I hunt, you can't pick and choose too much.
I feel like the video wasn't bad but could have been a lot more informative.
The TPWD offers Hunter Education instructors a more lengthy video that includes numerous "shoot or don't shoot" examples that test the knowledge of the viewer in identifying mature bucks.
Here's the link to a video with more detailed information on how to more quickly identify a mature buck. The first half covers how and why deer love White Oak acorns. I'll take a White Oak flat over any other type food attraction, man-made or natural.