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Tips on aging deer quickly #5357304 10/13/14 04:06 PM
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What are the key 2-3 things you look for to quickly age a deer that may be passing through your hunting area? Several deer passed through my area last year without stopping at my feeders, and I wasn't able to make a quick determination on how mature the buck was.

So let's use the two pictures below and tell me the things you'd look for to age this deer. Let's say you have less than a minute to make the decision to shoot, or pass on a deer.




Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357504 10/13/14 05:30 PM
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Quick look at these deer would tell me the top deer is mature while the bottom one is middle aged. In low fence small ranch, a middle aged deer may be on the hit list due to neighbor pressure.

I look at the relative size of the legs to the body, top deer has squattier legs compared due to larger body size; also has a thicker neck with some extra folds of skin and appears to have a more full rump
and a shorter muzzle/romanized face. Depending on time of season the neck is something that may or may not make a difference. The body:legs ratio is easy to use in a quick reference, and the facial characteristics can be used quickly.

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357513 10/13/14 05:35 PM
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There is a quick and easy way to do it once you have learned how...

There is no quick an easy way to learn how.

Last edited by Navasot; 10/13/14 05:35 PM.
Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357537 10/13/14 05:45 PM
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The legs are what I check first to determine age. The longer the legs appear relative to the body, the younger the deer. Mature bucks have stumpy-looking legs under a full and heavier body. And just like an older man, the oldest bucks will have a sagging belly.

Using these characteristics, the buck in the lower photo appears oldest of the two.


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Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: Texas buckeye] #5357577 10/13/14 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted By: Texas buckeye
Quick look at these deer would tell me the top deer is mature while the bottom one is middle aged. In low fence small ranch, a middle aged deer may be on the hit list due to neighbor pressure.

I look at the relative size of the legs to the body, top deer has squattier legs compared due to larger body size; also has a thicker neck with some extra folds of skin and appears to have a more full rump
and a shorter muzzle/romanized face. Depending on time of season the neck is something that may or may not make a difference. The body:legs ratio is easy to use in a quick reference, and the facial characteristics can be used quickly.


Buckeye, nailed it for you. Once you know, you don't forget either.

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357581 10/13/14 06:07 PM
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body and legs go out the door late season. Iv seen a 5yr old stand next to a 3yr old and look the exact same as far as body reference goes. shoulders forward, bone structure, body language, are great ways to find age after bucks are rutted down.

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357582 10/13/14 06:07 PM
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look at lots and lots and lots of deer. its the only reason i can age and get a good idea on score fairly quickly. but if i had to pick one feature it would be the head. big blocky head on a mature deer is hard to miss compared to a slim lined head of a younger deer. i always look at the head first. espicially early season when every buck is at his peak weight. the head never lies. if the head looks longer than wide its a young deer.

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357586 10/13/14 06:09 PM
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both deer look middle aged imo

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: Navasot] #5357588 10/13/14 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted By: Navasot
body and legs go out the door late season. Iv seen a 5yr old stand next to a 3yr old and look the exact same as far as body reference goes. shoulders forward, bone structure, body language, are great ways to find age after bucks are rutted down.


This is a good point too.

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357590 10/13/14 06:12 PM
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Going off those exact pictures a quick decision for me would be the bottom deer... once its day light.

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: ancuegar] #5357656 10/13/14 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted By: ancuegar
look at lots and lots and lots of deer. its the only reason i can age and get a good idea on score fairly quickly. but if i had to pick one feature it would be the head. big blocky head on a mature deer is hard to miss compared to a slim lined head of a younger deer. i always look at the head first. espicially early season when every buck is at his peak weight. the head never lies. if the head looks longer than wide its a young deer.


Agree - first thing I notice is head / nose - Then I check back sway, belly droop, and I look for brisket area loose skin - pretty much same things older men develop.


You can't fix stupid
Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357700 10/13/14 07:24 PM
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Something I look for on bucks that are over their prime are thick, squatty antlers like Bullwinkle the Moose.

I agree that the head can also be a firm indicator of age. However, it takes longer to judge than the legs relative to the body.

Again, considering the OP appeared to ask for what works best for what some might call a "glance" call. For example, trying to age one with the naked eye at 200 yards.

A good example below of what the stumpy legs, chiseled head, and lesser rack looks like on an old buck. Not sure I could bring myself to pull the trigger on such an old man.




Dan,

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Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: Navasot] #5357724 10/13/14 07:37 PM
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Ahhh, wise man once say:


Originally Posted By: Navasot
There is a quick and easy way to do it once you have learned how...

There is no quick an easy way to learn how.
yingyang


meh
Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357740 10/13/14 07:49 PM
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There are three points on a deer i look at but you have to spend the time looking at deer and not shooting them and i also like to get as close to them as i can to study them then you will see things further off that will make it easier to judge the age .
Dont want to sound rude but you cant tell the age by looking at the legs sorry you just cant . I used to over think ageing them for a long time until i just went with my first gut instinct and i feel and have found that i am right .

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: Texas Dan] #5357753 10/13/14 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Something I look for on bucks that are over their prime are thick, squatty antlers like Bullwinkle the Moose.

I agree that the head can also be a firm indicator of age. However, it takes longer to judge than the legs relative to the body.

Again, considering the OP appeared to ask for what works best for what some might call a "glance" call. For example, trying to age one with the naked eye at 200 yards.

A good example below of what the stumpy legs, chiseled head, and lesser rack looks like on an old buck. Not sure I could bring myself to pull the trigger on such an old man.



Wow, that buck could be pushing 8.5+ YO! Mature bucks like that are a trophy in their own right, regardless of what they score.


"In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen."
-Theodore Roosevelt
Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: Kenneth1977] #5357757 10/13/14 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted By: Kenneth1977
There are three points on a deer i look at but you have to spend the time looking at deer and not shooting them and i also like to get as close to them as i can to study them then you will see things further off that will make it easier to judge the age .
Dont want to sound rude but you cant tell the age by looking at the legs sorry you just cant . I used to over think ageing them for a long time until i just went with my first gut instinct and i feel and have found that i am right .


Agreed. But keep in mind the question in the OP asked for how best to judge one quickly.

I added the point of judging one from distance to bring even more attention on those characteristics that are most reliable, but not necessarily perfect, when you have to make the call in a second or two.

Granted, given several minutes to judge one from a short distance gives more time and looks to make the call.


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Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357798 10/13/14 08:17 PM
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If I had to make a call that fast I would have to see a huge front end with a full neck and face... and I mean 5-6yr old muscle. depending on your herd a 3yr old can look pretty big when hes rutted up.

sorry uploader isn't working

but like this
https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-...amp;oe=54C6F822

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357845 10/13/14 08:43 PM
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There are a lot of factors that go into aging. One is the region you are in along with body size. If a deer looks like a hot dog bun with legs then it is going to be mature. But as Nav stated about that all changes later into the rut you get. I have killed old bucks that looked like a middle-aged buck also. Face, ears, neck, brisket, belly line, flank area, hock, leg height, posture around other bucks, etc all can figure into how old a buck can be. One thing for certain is that the majority of the bucks in that age class in your area will look the same as body characteristics. I said most not all, it is the not all part of the group that you will have to learn to age. I have learned over the year to go with my first impression when I see a buck as to how old I think he is. If you start to look long enough then look at the rack you can talk the deer into what ever you want him to be. NEVER judge a bucks age by his rack. That is was one of the last things I ever looked at when I was culling bucks. I put the buck in an age class or bracket then made a quick call on a guess on his score.
One thing I would want to know on both those pics is if they are both taken at the same time period of the year. If not then it will effect how you would make that call on shooting. They are both in the same age group it appears to me. I would call them both 4 or possibly 5 depending on the time of the season.



Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357873 10/13/14 08:51 PM
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I agree with everyone on here, for quick aging the best way to learn to do it is look at many deer and see many deer from your area and then know what deer should look like at a certain age.

There are things that can give an idea on a quick timescale, but nothing is perfect and certainly time of season will make a 3-4yo buck look older and conversely a 5-6yo buck look younger. I don't think there is any question when looking at a 2 yo or anything older than say 7yo, but free range 7+yo bucks should be pretty rare anyway. The real thing we are trying to do is separate a 3 up buck from a 5 yo buck, and quickly in certain times they can be hard to differentiate.

2cents

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: stxranchman] #5357880 10/13/14 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted By: stxranchman
There are a lot of factors that go into aging. One is the region you are in along with body size. If a deer looks like a hot dog bun with legs then it is going to be mature. But as Nav stated about that all changes later into the rut you get. I have killed old bucks that looked like a middle-aged buck also. Face, ears, neck, brisket, belly line, flank area, hock, leg height, posture around other bucks, etc all can figure into how old a buck can be. One thing for certain is that the majority of the bucks in that age class in your area will look the same as body characteristics. I said most not all, it is the not all part of the group that you will have to learn to age. I have learned over the year to go with my first impression when I see a buck as to how old I think he is. If you start to look long enough then look at the rack you can talk the deer into what ever you want him to be. NEVER judge a bucks age by his rack. That is was one of the last things I ever looked at when I was culling bucks. I put the buck in an age class or bracket then made a quick call on a guess on his score.
One thing I would want to know on both those pics is if they are both taken at the same time period of the year. If not then it will effect how you would make that call on shooting. They are both in the same age group it appears to me. I would call them both 4 or possibly 5 depending on the time of the season.


The first picture is late December 2013 and the second picture is late March 3014.

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357952 10/13/14 09:30 PM
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The first picture is late December 2013 and the second picture is late March 3014. [/quote]

Yep, definitely mature! happy3

Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: bigjoe8565] #5357953 10/13/14 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted By: bigjoe8565
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
There are a lot of factors that go into aging. One is the region you are in along with body size. If a deer looks like a hot dog bun with legs then it is going to be mature. But as Nav stated about that all changes later into the rut you get. I have killed old bucks that looked like a middle-aged buck also. Face, ears, neck, brisket, belly line, flank area, hock, leg height, posture around other bucks, etc all can figure into how old a buck can be. One thing for certain is that the majority of the bucks in that age class in your area will look the same as body characteristics. I said most not all, it is the not all part of the group that you will have to learn to age. I have learned over the year to go with my first impression when I see a buck as to how old I think he is. If you start to look long enough then look at the rack you can talk the deer into what ever you want him to be. NEVER judge a bucks age by his rack. That is was one of the last things I ever looked at when I was culling bucks. I put the buck in an age class or bracket then made a quick call on a guess on his score.
One thing I would want to know on both those pics is if they are both taken at the same time period of the year. If not then it will effect how you would make that call on shooting. They are both in the same age group it appears to me. I would call them both 4 or possibly 5 depending on the time of the season.


The first picture is late December 2013 and the second picture is late March 3014.

Then IMO there is probably a year difference in age. The top buck I would still call a 4 and the bottom one 5 or mature.



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The sad reality is that between AR's and just one tag for a wide-racked buck, a two or three second decision amounts to not enough time to make a proper judgement call.


Dan,

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Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: Texas Dan] #5357989 10/13/14 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
The sad reality is that between AR's and just one tag for a wide-racked buck, a two or three second decision amounts to not enough time to make a proper judgement call.

So you are telling me if you only had 2-3 seconds you could not tell that this buck was legal and mature? grin



Re: Tips on aging deer quickly [Re: stxranchman] #5357994 10/13/14 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted By: stxranchman
Originally Posted By: bigjoe8565
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
There are a lot of factors that go into aging. One is the region you are in along with body size. If a deer looks like a hot dog bun with legs then it is going to be mature. But as Nav stated about that all changes later into the rut you get. I have killed old bucks that looked like a middle-aged buck also. Face, ears, neck, brisket, belly line, flank area, hock, leg height, posture around other bucks, etc all can figure into how old a buck can be. One thing for certain is that the majority of the bucks in that age class in your area will look the same as body characteristics. I said most not all, it is the not all part of the group that you will have to learn to age. I have learned over the year to go with my first impression when I see a buck as to how old I think he is. If you start to look long enough then look at the rack you can talk the deer into what ever you want him to be. NEVER judge a bucks age by his rack. That is was one of the last things I ever looked at when I was culling bucks. I put the buck in an age class or bracket then made a quick call on a guess on his score.
One thing I would want to know on both those pics is if they are both taken at the same time period of the year. If not then it will effect how you would make that call on shooting. They are both in the same age group it appears to me. I would call them both 4 or possibly 5 depending on the time of the season.


The first picture is late December 2013 and the second picture is late March 3014.

Then IMO there is probably a year difference in age. The top buck I would still call a 4 and the bottom one 5 or mature.


You have a Game cam that sees into the future????!!!!!

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