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Age and/or Score threads...?? #7855759 05/30/20 06:28 PM
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freerange Offline OP
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Age and/or Score threads seem like they would be very popular. Not as popular as Virus or Racial/Political issues since "polarizing" topics will out do "how to" topics any day, evidently.
Anyway, I posted 12 different Age/Score threads last couple weeks for the first time. I didnt THINK they got a lot of interest so i researched a little. My 12 threads averaged 18 replies. Each thread averaged 8 different people replied. I then went back and looked at similar threads DURING deer season last year. I very roughly looked at those and it appeared to be similar to mine although there were some big swings. Maybe responses to mine were acceptable after all.
>>Why do i care??? I think there is great value in understanding Age/Score. Much more important for Age but Score is very interesting and fun for many and a very useful management tool for serious managers. I have 1000s of pics and could probably put together 100s of threads. I know others could to. I HESITATE to put up a lot cause i dont want to overwhelm the page and bump other threads down. I will likely just scatter a few in over time if i think interest is there and i encourage others to do same.

>>Another option. Im always about going forward and making things better for all. What if we did a "sub category" within "Deer Hunting" about Age/Score???? To me there is NOTHING more important to deer hunters than learning how to Age on the hoof. There are lots of books and videos out there but IMO none of them have large numbers of pics. If we have thread after thread on this topic with pics and opinions I feel it would be more valuable than any source out there. Some of yall may look at Age/Score as season specific to help out that particular hunter make a shoot/no shoot decision for that year. Thats fine but I always look at the big picture. We need to figure out a way to get these threads out there regardless how out dated the info is. It also doesnt matter if we ever know the true age(almost never know anyway). Live aging is so hard because there are too many variables to ever have it be definitive. The KEY is to see HUGE numbers of pics and listen to what others look for. Just imagine a novice hunter at aging(most are) could go to this new sub category and go back in history and look at countless examples of these threads and gleam tremendous amounts of valuable insight very readily.
>>What about it guys? MODs?


Keep your gratitude higher than your expectations. RWH
Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7855764 05/30/20 06:34 PM
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All I know is...you're taking Bill's method of analyzing who responds to his threads (and keeping "score" - pun intended) to a whole new level. laugh


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7855969 05/30/20 10:55 PM
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Even though I didn’t post any ages or scores, I enjoyed the pics and discussion. Have been out of the deer hunting for the last 4 seasons, but the art of aging/scoring is still intriguing. It takes a lot of time in the field/stand to practice.

Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7855985 05/30/20 11:13 PM
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For me knowing the score is a plus to something I enjoy. But I am much more appreciative of the bucks over-all appearance. Having seen photos of deer posted by STX and others their appearance is much more gratifying than knowing it is a "160" .

I remember you photos Freerange and did enjoy seeing them.

Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: 68rustbucket] #7855997 05/30/20 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 68rustbucket
Even though I didn’t post any ages or scores, I enjoyed the pics and discussion. Have been out of the deer hunting for the last 4 seasons, but the art of aging/scoring is still intriguing. It takes a lot of time in the field/stand to practice.

Definitely does take a lot of time in field to learn age/score. That is impractical for most. Also many leases have few older deer or bigger bucks so its a big benefit to let others take and post pics. I feel many on here have well managed leases and we would all benefit if they were encouraged to post.


Keep your gratitude higher than your expectations. RWH
Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7856007 05/30/20 11:43 PM
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I love your posts . Great deer you have
And I need the practice

Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7856014 05/30/20 11:55 PM
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To OP...I enjoy your threads very much. I’m pretty dang good at judging deer on the hoof live but pretty sucky at pics...especially certain times like when I put that wide 9 of yours at a “70s” kinda deer. I do plead extenuating circumstances on that one. With help from good vodka that evening I added an extra point and made him a 10.... smile ani

Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7856041 05/31/20 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by freerange
Originally Posted by 68rustbucket
Even though I didn’t post any ages or scores, I enjoyed the pics and discussion. Have been out of the deer hunting for the last 4 seasons, but the art of aging/scoring is still intriguing. It takes a lot of time in the field/stand to practice.

Definitely does take a lot of time in field to learn age/score. That is impractical for most. Also many leases have few older deer or bigger bucks so its a big benefit to let others take and post pics. I feel many on here have well managed leases and we would all benefit if they were encouraged to post.


Last season I hunted 4 years ago, I was fortunate to be able to spend 41 days in the stand that season. I saw a lot of deer, watched a lot of deer behavior, but never pulled the trigger. It was a community stand lease, so sat all around the ranch. The ranch was missing some mature age class bucks that season due to the long drought, and quite a few 150-160 class bucks being taken the previous season. Was a little disappointed I didn’t harvest a deer, but really enjoyed all the stand time.

Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: Wilhunt] #7856156 05/31/20 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilhunt
For me knowing the score is a plus to something I enjoy. But I am much more appreciative of the bucks over-all appearance. Having seen photos of deer posted by STX and others their appearance is much more gratifying than knowing it is a "160" .

I remember you photos Freerange and did enjoy seeing them.

Wilhunt I agree with what you say but let me use your post to help explain why score CAN be important to SOME. When STx posts pics of "big" bucks everyone knows thats the kinda bucks they want. The key is to quantify what it is you are seeing in those bucks. IF YOUR GOAL is to hunt bucks like STxs pics it helps to put a number(score) to what they are. Pro sports scouts dont say draft this guy cause he runs fast and jumps high. They must quantify how fast and how high. If a friend says a "big buck" is at the next stand are you going to get down and go there without having an idea of how big "big" is? If one lease you are looking at says they have 140 150" bucks for $4000 and another says they have 160 180" bucks for $10000 then its up to your checkbook and not your imagination. Score is not important to everyone but for those that pursue "big" bucks it is the best way to know what you are looking for. Of course AGE is more important cause thats HOW they get big.
Those that are thirsty Im trying to lead to water but Im not making anyone drink. Hudbone said something similar about turning a light on....


Keep your gratitude higher than your expectations. RWH
Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7856185 05/31/20 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by freerange
Originally Posted by Wilhunt
For me knowing the score is a plus to something I enjoy. But I am much more appreciative of the bucks over-all appearance. Having seen photos of deer posted by STX and others their appearance is much more gratifying than knowing it is a "160" .

I remember you photos Freerange and did enjoy seeing them.

Wilhunt I agree with what you say but let me use your post to help explain why score CAN be important to SOME. When STx posts pics of "big" bucks everyone knows thats the kinda bucks they want. The key is to quantify what it is you are seeing in those bucks. IF YOUR GOAL is to hunt bucks like STxs pics it helps to put a number(score) to what they are. Pro sports scouts dont say draft this guy cause he runs fast and jumps high. They must quantify how fast and how high. If a friend says a "big buck" is at the next stand are you going to get down and go there without having an idea of how big "big" is? If one lease you are looking at says they have 140 150" bucks for $4000 and another says they have 160 180" bucks for $10000 then its up to your checkbook and not your imagination. Score is not important to everyone but for those that pursue "big" bucks it is the best way to know what you are looking for. Of course AGE is more important cause thats HOW they get big.
Those that are thirsty Im trying to lead to water but Im not making anyone drink. Hudbone said something similar about turning a light on....



That is certainly one way to look at it.

Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7857202 06/01/20 11:50 AM
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I love the idea of a sub-thread category for age & score.
I don't think enough of those threads can be posted!


High fence, low fence, no fence, it really doesn't matter as long as you're hunting!
Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7857343 06/01/20 02:22 PM
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I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the pictures of some great bucks and everyone's guesses at the age and score. I would think if this were to become a new sub-category, there should be some minimum things listed including approximate area where the picture(s) were taken.

I have hunted over a large portion of Texas over the past 55+ years but age & score has only come into play for me over the past 15-20 years where I have been much more focused on the management/herd improvement aspects instead of just shooting a "good" buck. I look back over my earlier years of hunting and realize most of those years/decades, if it had antlers to qualify for using a buck tag and meat in the freezer were the main focus.

I have killed some "good" bucks that I have no idea on the age and score from the first 30+ years, mainly looked for body size, spread and number of points. It was mostly based on the hearts reaction and adrenaline/excitement factor. Looking back, a lot of the bucks I shot were true trophies to me even when their age/score wouldn't be to anyone else ... I guess over the decades, I have matured in my hunting experience and knowledge, and truly enjoy spending the time out in nature and trying to develop the herd where ever I have to opportunity to hunt.


"everyone that lives dies but not everyone who dies lived..."

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Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: PMK] #7857365 06/01/20 02:53 PM
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PMK, we are similar age and in similar boat. The idea of "managing" deer to improve age and quality horns didnt popularize till 80s 90s. It was being done but not mainstream. When WE started hunting in 60s 70s it was rare for anyone to pass up any buck and if you had a decent place you were tagged out first weekend or two. Guys still have that mindset and that is fine but theres a huge shift towards most guys wanting to better the overall herd and the overall habitat and ecosystem. SCORE(BC) is a primary measuring stick for improvement in those management endeavors and AGE is THE primary way to achieve those goals. Lots of other stuff go into the equation but SCORE is easiest to identify and AGE is easiest to achieve.


Keep your gratitude higher than your expectations. RWH
Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7857594 06/01/20 06:25 PM
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yep, I just hunted to put meat in the freezer to feed the family up until a friend (wealthy city boy) bought a ranch as an investment and asked me to help him get a wildlife improvement exemption on it to save taxes. That was circa 1995ish and when I first got started into management mindset.


"everyone that lives dies but not everyone who dies lived..."

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Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7857660 06/01/20 07:17 PM
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You posted them all in 1-2 days, not a couple of weeks. Over-saturation, perhaps?


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Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7857675 06/01/20 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by QuitShootinYoungBucks
You posted them all in 1-2 days, not a couple of weeks. Over-saturation, perhaps?

Yep, likely too many too soon. I had meant to indicate the posts were couple weeks old. I had just learned how to post pics on here so my excitement got the best of me. QSYB I love your screen name and posts of yours ive noticed i like so i appreciate this feedback.


Keep your gratitude higher than your expectations. RWH
Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7857780 06/01/20 09:19 PM
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I enjoyed them but couldn’t comment.......got banned for 2 weeks after a colorful discussion in off topic over this Covid nightmare...... I think that going on and off season kept the participation lower than usual .....


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Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: ILUVBIGBUCKS] #7857860 06/01/20 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ILUVBIGBUCKS
I love the idea of a sub-thread category for age & score.
I don't think enough of those threads can be posted!


While I agree, I think a huge majority of the responses are just wild guesses. There are probably 3-5 people on this forum whos opinion I truly value when it comes to ageing a deer on the hoof. Some of the guys post the same "3.5-4.5" guess on just about every deer. That's usually my first clue to tune them out. If there is ever a clear difference between one year to the next in a deers visual appearance its between years 3 and 4. If you have more than one picture to go off of you should be able to determine the age of the deer at that age the easiest. Of course there is always some deer in that age class that you just cant tell for sure, but when the poster guesses "3.5-4.5" on every deer its obvious they have no clue.

Years ago I posted pics of a buck that was 11.5 years old and the guesses were all over the place and of course there were plenty of 3.5-4.5 guesses. LOL! That buck lived to be 14.5 years old and Stxranchman was the only one that could tell me within 1 year of his actual age. That's someone who knows his deer!

It could be educational for sure to do a sub section with age-score threads. Would be even better to have some threads showing age progression from one year to the next of the same buck. I will leave the scoring to someone else though.

Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: JCB] #7857882 06/01/20 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by JCB
Originally Posted by ILUVBIGBUCKS
I love the idea of a sub-thread category for age & score.
I don't think enough of those threads can be posted!


While I agree, I think a huge majority of the responses are just wild guesses. There are probably 3-5 people on this forum whos opinion I truly value when it comes to ageing a deer on the hoof. Some of the guys post the same "3.5-4.5" guess on just about every deer. That's usually my first clue to tune them out. If there is ever a clear difference between one year to the next in a deers visual appearance its between years 3 and 4. If you have more than one picture to go off of you should be able to determine the age of the deer at that age the easiest. Of course there is always some deer in that age class that you just cant tell for sure, but when the poster guesses "3.5-4.5" on every deer its obvious they have no clue.

Years ago I posted pics of a buck that was 11.5 years old and the guesses were all over the place and of course there were plenty of 3.5-4.5 guesses. LOL! That buck lived to be 14.5 years old and Stxranchman was the only one that could tell me within 1 year of his actual age. That's someone who knows his deer!

It could be educational for sure to do a sub section with age-score threads. Would be even better to have some threads showing age progression from one year to the next of the same buck. I will leave the scoring to someone else though.


Yeah a few years back I posted pictures of a buck we had followed for many years - pictures and clearly the same deer. He finally was killed - we had him around 12 years old conservatively - I had all kinds of push back - "not the same deer" etc. So I just quit posting our deer.

After many years of managing a LF south texas ranch I know this: aging deer from trail cameras is tough. We go through thousands of pictures each season - in total? We run 20 cameras and each will take 2-3.000 pictures every 3-4 weeks. So from late July to mid October we will literally go through 100-200,000 pictures. Many are doe or birds but we still go through them all and get tons of pictures of our bucks. It is a painstaking effort believe me - your eyes go cross eyed after awhile - but it is our greatest management tool period.

We have looked at bucks that in one picture looks to be 3 years old and another picture 6 years old. All depends on the angle, light, etc. We have also learned to use our cameras on video later in the summer when they are fully grown out - a video is priceless - watching them walk, move, and interact with other bucks is priceless. We had a 198 inch deer that would be on video - when he jump into the feed pen all the other bucks cleared out - clearly a mature and dominant deer.

So we keep track of our bucks and over time can usually determine what age range they are in. On top of that we video during the season many many bucks and as a group try to determine which buck they are and their age range. If there is ever any doubt as to whether or not the buck is mature (6 years or older) we give the deer a pass. My stock saying is "a dead buck has never grown an single inch bigger". Just my 2 cents

Last edited by tlk; 06/01/20 11:17 PM.

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Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7858163 06/02/20 03:56 AM
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I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures too. I gave a few guesses, thought of a few more, but commenting on all would cut into my productivity at work lol.

I’d love to hear about the property too.


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Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: redchevy] #7864286 06/08/20 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures too. I gave a few guesses, thought of a few more, but commenting on all would cut into my productivity at work lol.

I’d love to hear about the property too.

Redchevy, I didnt want to ignore your question about the property. Our group choses to try and stay pretty low profile. If you had more than just a casual curiosity you could pm me and I would tell you a little more.


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Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: freerange] #7865798 06/09/20 11:23 PM
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Years ago we had some great threads on age and score back when they were in the photo section. Most of the threads where the deer had been killed or sheds found were better since there was an actual score. The "score guesses" are just that guesses until the buck is killed then a follow up got more views and score guesses when there was an actual score posted. When they moved them to the Deer Hunting section they lost some views. Took some time but now some look for them there. Just not as many people on here posting pics and scoring like we used to have. Most don't like to post up pics and I understand why they don't. Don't think moving them to separate section is going to help, especially if it is a sub-forum and not an actual forum.


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Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: JCB] #7866405 06/10/20 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JCB
Originally Posted by ILUVBIGBUCKS
I love the idea of a sub-thread category for age & score.
I don't think enough of those threads can be posted!


While I agree, I think a huge majority of the responses are just wild guesses. There are probably 3-5 people on this forum whos opinion I truly value when it comes to ageing a deer on the hoof. Some of the guys post the same "3.5-4.5" guess on just about every deer. That's usually my first clue to tune them out. If there is ever a clear difference between one year to the next in a deers visual appearance its between years 3 and 4. If you have more than one picture to go off of you should be able to determine the age of the deer at that age the easiest. Of course there is always some deer in that age class that you just cant tell for sure, but when the poster guesses "3.5-4.5" on every deer its obvious they have no clue.

Years ago I posted pics of a buck that was 11.5 years old and the guesses were all over the place and of course there were plenty of 3.5-4.5 guesses. LOL! That buck lived to be 14.5 years old and Stxranchman was the only one that could tell me within 1 year of his actual age. That's someone who knows his deer!

It could be educational for sure to do a sub section with age-score threads. Would be even better to have some threads showing age progression from one year to the next of the same buck. I will leave the scoring to someone else though.

I hear ya JCB.
I know that you cannot judge a deer from only 1 or two pics of him...….not the age or the inches! Hell, I've seen a 3.5 year old bristle up and look 6.5 all day long until he settled back down and then looked 3.5 again. lol

And no doubt a post mature deer can and will look like a middle aged buck at certain times of the year for sure. Now, most post mature bucks I've seen during the rut, at least in S TX, will look like an old Ram and be huge up front and appear to have a smaller hind end. Also I've noticed a lot of times besides having the huge neck those old bucks will be 'pissed up' all the way down to their ankles and be jet black all the way down the entire inside portion of their legs. Those same older post mature deer can look exactly like a 3 or 4 year old the rest of the year, especially during the spring, summer, and early fall.


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Re: Age and/or Score threads...?? [Re: stxranchman] #7866407 06/10/20 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Years ago we had some great threads on age and score back when they were in the photo section. Most of the threads where the deer had been killed or sheds found were better since there was an actual score. The "score guesses" are just that guesses until the buck is killed then a follow up got more views and score guesses when there was an actual score posted. When they moved them to the Deer Hunting section they lost some views. Took some time but now some look for them there. Just not as many people on here posting pics and scoring like we used to have. Most don't like to post up pics and I understand why they don't. Don't think moving them to separate section is going to help, especially if it is a sub-forum and not an actual forum.

Oh man, so so true ranchman!!

Even the best at scoring them 'on the hoof' miss badly at times.


High fence, low fence, no fence, it really doesn't matter as long as you're hunting!
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