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Feb 5th, 2020
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Age decline #7976350 09/16/20 04:57 PM
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At what age do deer typically see a large decline in antler size?

Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976363 09/16/20 05:02 PM
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IME that answer can very depending on how they eat where they live........if they aren't protein fed I would say on average 8-9; but again it can be younger in areas where their teeth wear down quicker because soil and browse content......


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Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976398 09/16/20 05:18 PM
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All about health more so then age.


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Re: Age decline [Re: Pitchfork Predator] #7976401 09/16/20 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Pitchfork Predator
IME that answer can very depending on how they eat where they live........if they aren't protein fed I would say on average 8-9; but again it can be younger in areas where their teeth wear down quicker because soil and browse content......

Agree 100%

It all depends on the groceries they take in.


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Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976443 09/16/20 05:46 PM
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Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976449 09/16/20 05:49 PM
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This deer has been one of the largest deer on our ranch for several years. We are archery only so deer tend to die of old age around here. This year we have a deer on camera that the other guys don’t believe is the same deer but I’m not so sure. We have no other deer with split brows and g2s.

Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976452 09/16/20 05:50 PM
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Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976454 09/16/20 05:51 PM
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What do you guys think?

Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976467 09/16/20 06:00 PM
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Theres a lot of possibilities as to what can cause a deer to decline. We had a dry summer around most of texas, so maybe the antlers started off good and then fizzled at the end of growing season due to a lack of good nutrients at the time.
It is also possible this buck wore himself out chasing doe around all season last year and is just not caught up on his body yet. Could have contributed some to him being a little smaller this year, IF its the same buck.

There are a lot of factors that play into WT low fence antler phenotype expression, nutrition and stress are the two biggest. Any number of things can cause either to be high or low.

It is also very possible this isn't the same buck. Depending on your hunting area, a lot of places have had really good rain for several years going now, and that will cause a lot of non-typical growth to occur and allow split genetics to express. So even though you have only had one buck in the past that did have split brows, that doesn't mean you can't have others this year. To me, the pics shown are just too variable to tell if it is the same buck or different.

Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976491 09/16/20 06:10 PM
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What age would you put on the buck in the last set of pictures? And yes I don’t think we have had a drop of rain all year until the last couple weeks.

Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976498 09/16/20 06:12 PM
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He has the notch in his right ear in 2016-2019. Can't tell if he has it this year in the blurry pics. A lot of factors can cause a deer to drop off one year. Rutting is a huge factor on ranches where they do not feed year round or have access to good nutrition post rut. They can get injured in late rut and recoop but not early enough to rebound antler wise. That buck appears to be very old in the first 3 yrs of pics...shows it in the 19 pics. Some deer just do not get big at an early age but do at a much later age. Some ranches see deer max out at 7 while others see them continue to get better as they get to 9 or 10 yrs old. One thing I have seen is how aggressive the buck is during the rut and in the antler growing stages. If he is a dominant buck then that can effect his growth as he ages. IME the bigger NT bucks were sometimes the smallest bodied deer and were not that dominant or involved in the rut. Hence they spent more time eating before and after the rut than a dominant type buck. They passive bucks do not drop off near as much as the dominant buck.


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Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976504 09/16/20 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisB
What age would you put on the buck in the last set of pictures? And yes I don’t think we have had a drop of rain all year until the last couple weeks.

I would put him post mature in 2019..7+...he looks to be very old. Many bucks start to look like a middle aged or younger buck as they get really old. Smaller bodied bucks especially. Post the original pics and not the cropped pics from this year to see the right ear to see if it has the notches in it.


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Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976516 09/16/20 06:18 PM
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"Some ranches see deer max out at 7 while others see them continue to get better as they get to 9 or 10 yrs old. One thing I have seen is how aggressive the buck is during the rut and in the antler growing stages. If he is a dominant buck then that can effect his growth as he ages. IME the bigger NT bucks were sometimes the smallest bodied deer and were not that dominant or involved in the rut. Hence they spent more time eating before and after the rut than a dominant type buck. They passive bucks do not drop off near as much as the dominant buck."

I might add you can see a buck decline one year then rebound the next.

Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976583 09/16/20 06:58 PM
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Sometimes you have great expectations for a deer to jump then you see the pics and he didn't but that doesn't mean he won't the next year. In the rolling plains I believe deer max out at 8 with the biggest jump coming between 5 and 7.


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Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7976629 09/16/20 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisB
What do you guys think?


IMO, very high probability that's the same deer.


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Re: Age decline [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7976672 09/16/20 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by QuitShootinYoungBucks
Originally Posted by ChrisB
What do you guys think?


IMO, very high probability that's the same deer.


I think so too more likely than not same deer. Since you said very little rain in your hunting area this year, i think same deer and antlers declined. Mature deer that if not taken this year and makes through to next could bounce back but I think those knees are aging

Re: Age decline [Re: stxranchman] #7976782 09/16/20 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by ChrisB
What age would you put on the buck in the last set of pictures? And yes I don’t think we have had a drop of rain all year until the last couple weeks.

I would put him post mature in 2019..7+...he looks to be very old. Many bucks start to look like a middle aged or younger buck as they get really old. Smaller bodied bucks especially. Post the original pics and not the cropped pics from this year to see the right ear to see if it has the notches in it.

I'll try and pull the card out of that cell camera this weekend and see if i can get a clearer picture.

Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7977400 09/17/20 06:29 AM
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i think he old, 6/7, is time...

Re: Age decline [Re: ChrisB] #7978041 09/17/20 05:35 PM
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Where we are (Round Mountain, Blanco Co.) we see antler decline on very old bucks usually expressed by a decline in tine length, with more mass on the main beams and more junk around the bases but shorter tines and occasionally less tines than the year before. I shot a 7.5 yr buck 4 years ago that kept the impressive (for our area) 22" width but had declined significantly in tine length from 5.5 to 6.5 to 7.5.

So this old fellow of yours could be going through a similar decline?

There's a suburban buck that lives behind my house (north Williamson Co.) that I've been able to watch closely for 5 years. I'm confident he's at least 6.5. He's been a mainframe 10 for the last two years (2018 and 2019), gaining mass but not length, and then this year he's carrying a bit less length but threw a mulie split on his G3 (one side only) and looks to have added mass. I'm going to hunt hard for those sheds, I only have one of his from 2017! I'm curious to see if he gets challenged this year, he's been the undisputed boss around here for a few years now! smile


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Re: Age decline [Re: Exiled] #7978141 09/17/20 06:58 PM
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Lots of pics and different dates to look at so maybe im missing something. He doesnt seem to of dropped off all that much. Hes not as long for sure but hes added typical and NT points, has he not? Maybe Im not following the date progression. Anyway, like many have said, the years a buck declines can vary for sure. Depends on health, and each deer I figure can be individual as well. Well managed and well fed places should see decline much later. Generally I would of thought they dropped off sooner that a lot have said on here. In reality the vast majority of places not many bucks live long enough to see a decline.


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