Editors Blog

Best Bucks are Home Grown

Big buck on trail camera 

From today’s mailbox: 

Dan,
 
We enjoy your articles in Deer & Deer Hunting!  I was wondering if you could help me score and age this buck. 
 
I found his sheds last year and have been watching him grow this set since April.  I live outside of Philadelphia PA.
 
I would appreciate your opinion on his age and score. I look forward to your response.

-Jimmy


First and foremost, congrats on getting the drop on such a fine buck, Jimmy. This deer has all the makings of a true wallhanger. The fact that you’ve been watching him for so long is what’s most important in my book — after all, that is the true measure of a trophy: the memories attached to the deer.

But to answer your questions, I would estimate this buck at about 3-1/2 years old. He could be 4-1/2. It’s hard to tell once they hit maturity. A good indication is tine length and mass, but better indications are his body features. He is blocky and well built. And, the fact that you just got this photo (without the full autumn coat grown in yet) indicates he is definitely mature. He does not show the sleek signs of a younger deer.

A quick glance at his antlers indicates he is at least 120 inches — and could possibly net the magical 125 if those tines are a tad longer than my initial guesses of 4 inch brow tines; 8 inch G-2s; 6-inch G-3s, 21-inch beams and 15 inches of mass. Add in a 17-inch spread, and that would be 125 on the nose. However, I’ve tended to notice that my initial guesses are usually a little on the heavy side. But no matter how you slice it, this whitetail buck is one that any hunter should be proud to put his tag on.