For any serious hunter or wildlife manager answering the question How Do You Tell How Old A Deer Is
Or doing an Aging Deer On The Hoof Test is a valued skill to acquire.
Want to learn it?
Guide To Aging Deer On The Hoof
Whether you are aging Whitetail deer or aging Mule deer or just about any deer, learning these skills will help you become a better hunter.
Assuming you want to shoot older bigger deer, You want to know how old the buck is Before it is dead and you examine the teeth. After all, there could be much more antler growth to come!
Is that buck in his prime right now?
This how-to guide will show and explain in simple terms the best way to conduct an aging deer on the hoof test. You can then make the best decision to shoot or not to shoot.
Avoid ground shrinkage. You know after you drop that monster looking buck and its rack gets smaller and smaller the closer you get.
Watch this excellent video from The High Road with Keith Warren and read the important take-outs for each age classification to become an expert in how to tell the age of a deer.
Forget the antlers as an accurate test to age a deer. Every buck is different, habitat varies and the antlers can and will vary across deer of the same age. That said there are ways to judge or field score deer antlers in the field and I will discuss that in another article.
So How Do You Tell How Old A Deer Is
Young Deer Body Characteristics. 1 1/2 TO 2 1/2 Years Old
This is the easiest range to estimate the age of a deer due to the deer's body shape at this young age.
Very simply young bucks will resemble a doe with antlers.
Young Deer Behavior Characteristics. 1 1/2 TO 2 1/2 Years Old
Middle Aged Deer Body Characteristics. 3 1/2 TO 4 1/2 Years
This is the trickiest age to answer the question how do you tell how old a deer is.
In this age range many deer are often mistaken to be in their prime or fully mature when they are not quite there yet at 3 ½.
By 4 ½ years of age a buck can now be considered mature and in his prime.
Middle Aged Deer Behavior Characteristics. 3 1/2 TO 4 1/2 Years
He will be much harder to hunt having outwitted hunters for this long
Mature Aged Deer Body Characteristics. 5 1/2 Years & Upwards
Congratulations if you managed to successfully hunt a mature buck in this age group. You have a real trophy.
Mature Aged Deer Behavior Characteristics. 5 1/2 Years & Upwards
Applying an aging deer on the hoof test is a practiced skill. Like any hunting skill the more you practice the better you will become at it.
There is no exact science in answering the question how do you tell how old a deer is, however applying the above principles will get you very close in estimating a deer's age whilst it is still alive.
Practice this in the field, when you watch a movie or video clip, reading a magazine or internet article.
Now you have passed the above test on how to age a deer read the article on deer shot placement to make sure the hunt is a real success.
Walk little…….. look lots