The reason is that mass generally correlates directly to age. Fact #5: After the rut, a deer sheds their antler velvet. For new shooters or those that have trouble looking at open sights or scopes, finding your dominant eye is the first step to becoming a better shot. These deer in well-managed areas with good genetics can sometimes have multiple points (10 or more) and even have spreads outside their ears. Some deer antlers exhibit annual variation in conformation, and a deer's last antler set may be quite abnormal. The antlers are now beginning to show you their potential and should be heavy with good bases and multiple points. Each year thereafter, the buck's antlers will increase in mass and circumference until their growth. It’s a given! The New Year is an excellent opportunity to reassess your old routines and inject them with some new life. In whitetail deer, eight points is the most common antler type. They will have achieved 90 to 100 percent of their antler growth potential, and they can have highly stained tarsal glands during the rut with the stain extending well below the tarsal gland. Deer Hunting Gear: Get Your Basics at Walmart, Staying Hydrated, Choosing the Proper Choke Size, Shot Size and Using Decoys for Doves, Will Jimeno Determines Not to Let the Terrorists of 9/11 Win, Temperature Helps Determine Decoy Set-Ups, Resident Goose Hunting with Richie McKnight, Tackling the Tackle Box: Restocking What You’ll Need for Future Fishing Trips. Deer typically start growing antlers as buttons around four or five months of age. On average, bucks grow bigger antlers each year up to about 6 1/2 years of age, and then it's flat from there. Therefore, I suggest you don’t rely solely on antler size when aging bucks. A deer could lose an antler during a fight with another male, or they could lose … Is overlap just as bad on something much bigger, like a beam measurement? If you own a firearm and have gone down to your local gun shop to pick up a box of ammunition within the last six months, you have probably asked the same thing - where is the ammo? Now the antlers can have a spread even with or outside the ears with decent mass. Mature Whitetail Bucks: Why Don’t I See More? The following characteristics are fairly consistent for whitetails throughout their range. However, they also may have a pot belly and a sagging back. During the rut, their tarsal glands will be dark and may show a lot of staining. To find out, I contacted Dr. Dave Hewitt, Director of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Now the neck and shoulders should be thickly muscled, but the neck should still be discernible from the shoulders. Their hind-end appears filled-out and rounded. Pair favorable conditions with a deer of considerable age, and they can develop an impressive set of antlers with many points. You can’t even say that the most massive shed in a New Hampshire collection is 5½-plus, because the maximum range of 5.7 inches was shared by bucks that were estimated to be 3½ and 4½ as well. As we teach, body characteristics are the most reliable clues to age. A deer's "points" are determined by the number of tines on their antlers, so an eight pointed male deer has eight distinct tines. Dave went on to explain that there’s even some overlap from 1½ to 2½ in beam length, so while you might have greater success sorting these two ages apart, you wouldn’t achieve 100 percent accuracy. The size and formation of deer antlers depend on a lot of different factors, such as age, nutrients, and genetics. For tips on tackling the tackle box, restock what you’ll need for future fishing trips, and use your downtime to clean, inventory, restock, and organize. Based on Dan’s data, you can make these concrete statements: Anything smaller than 2.3 inches at the base is either a yearling or a 2½-year-old. NHFGD found some above-average yearlings with 3-inch bases, and it found some below-average 5½-plus bucks with 3-inch bases. Figure 10. First, a word about “overlap.” Antler scores by age class form a bell-shaped curve on a graph. The data that Dan gave me included every single measurement from more than 5,000 individual bucks, so I was able to see more than just the averages. (Photo by Maximus Studios) Yearling moose are the most easily aged identified, they typically have two or three points on each side and are of the cervina type. During the rut they should have noticeably larger tarsal glands that are dark-stained with some staining possibly extending down their legs. Best way to tell how old they are is the teeth. Can you reliably estimate the age of the buck that dropped that shed antler you’re holding? About all you can say about sheds and age is, the smallest antler in your collection probably fell off a yearling and the largest probably fell off a fully mature buck. Overlap is why QDMA emphasizes the danger of trying to age bucks by looking at their antler size, especially when you are evaluating those antlers through a rifle scope or peep sight. That means that for any age class, there’s a common average, but there are also uncommon bucks with below- and above-average antlers for their age. 0 0. stormgale. For example, a rack may have four points on one antler and six on the other. Why was this buck in this place when he dropped this antler? Check out your local Walmart to pick up your deer hunting necessities. For example, if you pick up a shed antler in New Hampshire that has a 3-inch base, it could potentially be any age you can name! Their waist drops down to become more even with their gut, helping to give the appearance that their legs are slightly short for the body, but their stomach and back are not sagging yet. Bucks in this category have legs that appear too short for their body. Overlap is when above-average bucks in a younger age class have the same antler size as below-average bucks in older age classes. He earned his journalism degree at the University of Georgia. Measure the mass. I yelled back to my Sergeant, “Sarge, we’re going to get out of this hellhole; we’re not going to let the terrorists win!” I also realized at that moment that if I died, then there was no hope for my sergeant who was 15-feet behind me. I’m afraid not. Once the buck is 3.5 years old or older, the antler diameter will typically grow to over 15 inches (38.1 cm). Eight point deer are usually 3 or 4 year-old bucks but also ageing bucks and bucks living in poor habitats. A few free-ranging bucks make it to the post-mature age category. FAROUTDUDE1970. They may show some neck muscle build-up during the rut, but their tarsal glands will only be moderately stained and still very small and round. (Much of the information is courtesy of the QDMA.). Antlers originated once in the cervid lineage. AGE A deer will use available nutrients and minerals for body growth before antler growth. A whitetail deer with this rack would be said to have a “10 point” rack. We love them. If I was texting this to you, I’d insert a sad-faced emoji at this point. They generally have loose skin on their face, neck and shoulders – usually visible as a “chin flap” – and they may have pointed shoulder and hip bones. Dave sent me the average antler measurements by age calculated from more than 1,000 bucks collected by the East Foundation across four sites in South Texas. That means the biggest antlers the deer will have develop when the deer is at least 4 years old. Beer and beef broth add great flavors to any stew. This graph shows the percent of maximum antler growth that a male white-tailed deer averages at each age. Getting geared up for deer hunting? That means that for any age class, there’s a common average, but there are also uncommon bucks with below- and above-average antlers for their age. This is something hunters usually appreciate more and more as they grow older. Their antlers can be extremely inconsistent, but overall they tend to have beams that are thin and relatively short and a spread usually inside the ears. That's also a mistake. But that's the AVERAGE. There is a great amount of variation among individual deer. I converted diameter to circumference so the numbers would equate to something hunters are familiar with: Boone & Crockett “mass” measured at the base, also known as the “H-1” measurement in B&C talk. Their legs appear about the right length for their body. Many hunters overlook the fact that if you are not sufficiently hydrated, you won’t shoot as accurately as you can. This recipe can be made with roasted or smoked pheasant. Age is the simplest factor and also easy to manage. Some hunters will set their decoys really close together when the weather is hot. I have a home place not far from the house that ducks like. A deer with heavy mass or higher antler circumference measurements is usually an older animal. That is a myth. Allowing bucks to reach older age classes is the best thing you can do if a trophy buck is your goal. These bucks have passed their prime and regress in both body and antler size. Use frontal and side views to get a full count of antler points. Overlap is what makes it tough to estimate age using only antlers. When a buck is 1-1/2 years of age and grows his first set of antlers, in Virginia on average he will have four points, a 16mm or 5/8 inch antler beam diameter (~ dime diameter), and just over an 8 … They have a distinct line of separation between their neck and shoulders and little muscle definition. An end of a deer antler that spreads out like a human palm. Most gamekeepers feel that harvest decisions should be made based on the animal’s age not antler size. I like to hunt resident geese around Kentucky because the season comes in early, and the bag limits are somewhat liberal. These animals are easiest to identify, especially the bucks. The mass of an antler generally correlates directly to the age of a deer. Where is he now? Their increased body mass gives them a more rounded appearance, and they may look like a small cow. At three, the chest begins to become deeper than the hindquarters but still with a thin waist, giving them what some call a “linebacker” or “racehorse” appearance. So, you want to thermal hog hunt? Research shows that at this age, most bucks have achieved 50 to 75 percent of their antler-growth potential. Then, set that shed antler close by while you scroll back through your trail-camera images and see if you can find a full-body, broadside photo of the buck that once carried it. Of the 34 white-tailed deer biologists surveyed to test this method, 60% failed to correctly age known-age jawbones that were 2 years old or older. Here is the average base circumference by age class for the New Hampshire bucks in the data set: So, in New Hampshire at least, can you assume that a shed antler with 2.2-inch mass at the base is a yearling? Even under the best of circumstances your odds of killing a mature buck are fairly low. Other hunters will set their decoys too far apart from each other when the weather is very cold. Most males maximize their antler size at 6 … Take a guess, then look at this chart and see if you were right: Which states produce the biggest average mass measurements? No I have shot 2 year old deer with 6 points. Throughout his career as an editor, he has written and published numerous articles on deer management and hunting. This is how the points are distributed according to age. My favorite Canada goose to hunt is the big giant Canada goose. The best place for the giant Canadas is northern Illinois. “Although antler size is related strongly to age, after about 3½, variation within an age class swamps any changes in antler characteristics from one age to the next,” said Dave. Overlap is why QDMA emphasizes the danger of trying to age bucks by looking at their antler size, especially when you are evaluating those antlers through a rifle scope or peep sight. 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