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Feb 5th, 2020
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How to age between 3 and 4 #7993715 09/30/20 07:02 PM
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TxHunter87 Offline OP
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I can age between 1 and 2 no problem but 3 plus it starts to get tricky.

I was hoping yall could give me some key features to look for when trying to age a buck above 3 becasue googling it isnt helping and im driving myself crazy on second guessing everything. i tend to lean younger always but i seem to be wrong most of the time on 4 year old bucks

I also added a pic of a buck that i am being told both 3 and 4 on and was hoping yall could tell me why you are saying one age over the other.

Thanks so much for yalls help
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the one on the left is in question the other one i have nailed down as a 2 year old..am i wrong?

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Re: How to age between 3 and 4 [Re: TxHunter87] #7993774 09/30/20 08:04 PM
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For the most part ageing is a tough thing, both for scientists in the lab with teeth, and on the hoof for hunters with many years of experience.
Being able to say definitively a deer is a 3 yo vs a 4 yo is near impossible, unless you have a 3 or 4 year history with thtta specific deer and some tell tale sign it is the same deer year after year.

Most people will try to age in groups, from young, middle aged, and mature. Everyone's mature range is somewhere between 4 and 5, depending on their criteria for their specific hunting area. Post mature is where is can be really tough, as some post mature deer look younger due to malnutrition, but some don't.

But to answer your OP....there isn't one thing or group of things that will kick a 3 yo guess up to a 4 yo guess. It is a collective of multiple attributes, but most often the guess is simply a guess and if your place is OK with shooting 4 yo deer then you better be ready to accept a bunch of 3 yo deer being shot too.

Re: How to age between 3 and 4 [Re: TxHunter87] #7993813 09/30/20 08:51 PM
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A few easy to remember things. That will apply now but may not apply post rut:

Through year 3 bucks are still growing their skeletal frame. Physically their body is not fully filled out yet. With their head erect the bottom of the neck will not quite extend to the brisket. When they are all blown up the neck will appear large. The stomach will taper upward to the hind quarters. The skin is tight and the animal will appear visibly muscular and fit. When compared to humans, similar in physical development to a very fit high school athlete. The head may still have the look of big eyed.
Four year old bucks skeleton is fully developed. The bottom of the neck will extend all the way to the brisket. It will be difficult to see where the neck stops and the brisket starts. The body will be fuller and appear barrel shaped. The line of the belly from the ribs to the hindquarters will be horizontal. No taper up or sag. The skin on the buck will still be tight and show muscle tone Readily. Comparing to a human, think very fit college athlete. Head will no longer have a big eyed look but overall the buck will still have The youthful look of just entering its prime. Still nothing saggy.


Last edited by Smokey Bear; 09/30/20 08:56 PM.

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Re: How to age between 3 and 4 [Re: TxHunter87] #7993825 09/30/20 09:01 PM
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And in years of drought, or years of wet, throw that all out the window and they will all look big and fat or tall and skinny up

Re: How to age between 3 and 4 [Re: TxHunter87] #7993843 09/30/20 09:22 PM
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I look at a look body and facial characteristics as well seeing them interact with other deer. A 3 yr old deer still a 3 yr old no matter how fat or skinny or tall or big he looks....same with any age class. History helps a lot and a lot of history off the same ranch. What changes the look of the deer is the region and size of deer. They don't get any older or younger but they will look a bit different, but the face and forehead still hold the same features no matter the region IME. I look at body shape first then look at the face/forehead next. I also look at the hock pad and staining of it. Width and depth of brisket as well as flank and HQ shape. Study enough deer on as many ranches as you can to learn. Really want to be humble go to a deer breeder and look at known age classes of bucks that are all in individual pens. You can see 1.5 yrs that look 2 or 3 standing in the same pen next to other 1.5 yr olds. Same in the 3 yr olds...some will look older and some will look younger. Just like in any region individual deer will not be the same size or look the same even though they are the same age. Spend enough time sitting and observing deer over the years and you see the similarities of same age classes. That is what helps the most.


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