Aging bucks from the tree.

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Aging bucks from the tree.

Postby Eight_Oak_Acres » Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:46 am

I decided that this year I was going to take my hunting to the "next level" and try and only shoot bucks that are 3-1/2 or older. Well, I shot an 8 pointer last Friday night that I had to judge from the treestand, and wanted a little help either validating my choice, or helping me learn from it for future hunts. Let me say first that I am not disappointed in any way with my decision. I made it because I thought it was right, and I am very happy with the buck I shot.
Here is the scenario. I had a buck come out of the timber to the North of me and walk the edge toward my tree. As he was coming towards me, I was trying to determine if he was 3-1/2 or not. His face seemed to be fairly mature (kinda boxy), and even had some grey in it. His back didn't seem to have a sag in it, but it was hard to tell from above. Same thing with the belly...hard to tell from above. I don't know if this will make any sense, but he seemed to walk like an older deer. Thinking he was at least 3-1/2, and his rack was nice, but not what it should be for a 3-1/2 year old...I decided to take him. After showing around some pictures, I have had opinions that are varied. Some think he is only 2-1/2...and some think he was a mature deer. Since I took pictures after I gutted him, it is hard to tell about the body...but if any of you can tell by his head...let me know what you think. I have been told that bucks don't start getting that grey tinge to them until they are 3-1/2...but obviously...there are differing opinions on that too. I plan on checking his teeth to find out for sure.
Just wanting to get better at I appreciate any input.
here are a couple pics...



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RE: Aging bucks from the tree.

Postby JPH » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:07 am

First things first. Congratulations! being happy with your hunt is where it's at. But on to your question.
Well, as you said, it is really hard to tell from a few post-hunt photos. But I'll take a stab.
He appears to have a big ol' head and neck on him, which makes the case for a 3.5. His rack is smallish for a midwestern 3.5, but that is subjective. The grey on the muzzle is subjective as well.
How big was he in the body? Do you have a game scale? I would expect an Illinois buck to field dress at at least 165-170 lbs by 3.5 years.
As you indicated. The next step is to pull the jawbone. But even that is guesswork after they turn 2. The only way to really know (and I've never done it) is to send a tooth into a lab.

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RE: Aging bucks from the tree.

Postby buckhunter21 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:06 pm

Tough call but I'm going to say 2.5.  With a farmland buck I think the rack and body could be a little bigger to be a 3.5.

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RE: Aging bucks from the tree.

Postby cjkrw » Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:19 pm

Man thats a beauty. Everyone I know has just judged age from how old the face looks. I asked a buddy of mine about your question and he said you just look at it and if it looks like hell its old enough ;)

I know that doesnt help you at all, but I got a laugh out of it. Still Id love to be in your position right now :) Congrats!

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RE: Aging bucks from the tree.

Postby Goose » Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:27 pm

Congrats on the buck! Dont get too caught up in the ageing thing. If your happy with the buck, you shoot. If he comes in and you dont think hes big enough for ya pass.
That being said Im gonna guess 2.5 , would like to see it on the hoof to have a better guess but it looks better with a happy hunter behind it !Image

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