He has been a member of the staff since 2003. These 8 Points of Evidence Might Solve the Mystery, Pumba: Yet Another “Inferior” Buck That Wasn’t. Lindsay Thomas Jr. is the editor of Quality Whitetails magazine, the journal of the National Deer Association, and he is NDA's Chief Communications Officer. For older age classes, however, you can forget it. Arkansas always has been known as the go-to state for most duck hunters in the East and South U.S. Arkansas is so close to me. Most males maximize their antler size at 6 … I knew I’d need to find a large, high-quality data set of antler measurements combined with estimated ages of the bucks that grew them. Given adequate nutrition, they’ll become structurally mature and can reach 75 to 90 percent of their antler growth potential. “The number of points is the antler characteristic least correlated with age. The best place for the giant Canadas is northern Illinois. 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 … 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. Prior to that, Lindsay was an editor at a Georgia hunting and fishing news magazine for nine years. These bucks have passed their prime and regress in both body and antler size. That is a myth. That’s not a lot of help. Now the antlers can have a spread even with or outside the ears with decent mass. An older deer that lived a healthy life will have long, many pointed antlers with few flaws. Deer can reliably be placed into 3 age classes (fawn, yearling, adult) (Gee at al 2002). You know that bucks in different regions of the country have varying antler potential. As antlers evolved, they lengthened and gained many branches, or … The age of the deer antler will also determine the points. Check out your local Walmart to pick up your deer hunting necessities. 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. AGE A deer will use available nutrients and minerals for body growth before antler growth. Most deer reach their peak antler development between 4.5 and 7.5 years of age. Obviously, there are some deer that have enormous antlers at 21/2 while others are mediocre at 41/2+. Where is he now? Mule deer racks are counted differently. The New Year is an excellent opportunity to reassess your old routines and inject them with some new life. This recipe can be made with roasted or smoked pheasant. 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. If you can, combine the more reliable body characteristics with the dimensions of the shed and produce a more reliable estimate of this buck’s age. Dave’s data didn’t include every individual and I couldn’t see the actual overlap, so I just asked him: Considering overlap, can you reliably estimate the age of a South Texas shed antler based on beam length? Large antlers on a younger deer and small antlers on an older deer can negatively influence your estimated age. There is a great amount of variation among individual deer. We believe it is our responsibility to ensure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting. The main beam is the main branch of the antler, and the tip of the main beam is counted as one of the points. In 2016, Steven Tucker shot a deer with a rack that measured 312 and 3/8 inches. No I have shot 2 year old deer with 6 points. There are several main parts to an antler. Palm. Now we should be looking at a fully muscled neck that blends into his deep chest and well-defined muscled shoulders. Most gamekeepers feel that harvest decisions should be made based on the animal’s age not antler size. Antlers. These animals are easiest to identify, especially the bucks. Whitetail deer are described by the total number of points but elk are counted by each side. If I was texting this to you, I’d insert a sad-faced emoji at this point. (Much of the information is courtesy of the QDMA.). 3 Understand the deer in your area. However, ARs are all site-specific. Other than in select places, few free-ranging bucks exceed five years of age, so I’ll combine five- to seven-year-olds. 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. Simply put, as a buck gets older, his antlers get bigger. Overlap is when above-average bucks in a younger age class have the same antler size as below-average bucks in older age classes. Female deer usually conceive at about one and one half years of age and usually fawn at two years of age. What is the highest score any hunter ever achieved? But it is impossible to tell the exact age of the buck even with well developed antlers, because you don't know if you are looking at that particular deer's biggest set of antlers. As we teach, body characteristics are the most reliable clues to age. You can nudge them slightly in your favor by minimizing disturbance and maximizing the ability of your property to attract and hold more and older deer. I also knew I would have let down my family, and more importantly, I would. 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. Their back and stomach lines are relatively straight and taut. That’s a mistake. Eight point deer are usually 3 or 4 year-old bucks but also ageing bucks and bucks living in poor habitats. Their increased body mass gives them a more rounded appearance, and they may look like a small cow. Age is the simplest factor and also easy to manage. Overlap kills you here. This is how the points are distributed according to age. Bucks with their first set of antlers are the easiest to age. Best way to tell how old they are is the teeth. Throughout his career as an editor, he has written and published numerous articles on deer management and hunting. So, this is what I recommend you do with shed antlers: First, if you don’t already recognize this antler from a buck that is familiar to you, go ahead and attempt to use it to estimate age. My third favorite place to hunt waterfowl is my home state of Kentucky. I like to hunt resident geese around Kentucky because the season comes in early, and the bag limits are somewhat liberal. The size of deer antlers will often heavily depend on the healthiness of the habitat for the deer. To find out, I contacted Dr. Dave Hewitt, Director of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Whether it’s while in your treestand or when viewing trail camera photos, it is important to learn to judge age by looking at an animal. My favorite Canada goose to hunt is the big giant Canada goose. The factors that dictate year to year growth are the age of the animal, its genetic makeup, and its nutritional intake. If this were a mule deer rack, it would be said to have a “4 by 6” rack, assuming that none of the 10 points were brow tines. So in the UK those with a wild lineage will follow this rule, with animals that have the benefit of genetics, nutrition and environment producing trophies of up to 15 points and occasionally more than 16 points. And, of course, how old is he? Antler scores by age class form a bell-shaped curve on a graph. 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. Step Four. The same deer at 10 years (A) and at 14 years of age, just prior to his death (B). The first year he may only have 2 small horn-like antlers coming out the pedicles, while the following year these may branch out into 4 points. A 1-2 Years Old Buck A yearling or a two-year-old buck with superior and adequate nutrition will develop eight or more points on its first set of antlers. They are delicate-looking compared to older animals with a thin neck. In case the deer is hunted before its antlers mature, the points tend to be small. Is overlap just as bad on something much bigger, like a beam measurement? The growth does, however, begin to slow down once the buck reaches 7 … Please read on as I dive into the nuts and bolts of some must-have items. NHFGD found some above-average yearlings with 3-inch bases, and it found some below-average 5½-plus bucks with 3-inch bases. Getting geared up for deer hunting? For example, a rack may have four points on one antler and six on the other. Here is the average beam length by age class for South Texas bucks: Now this looks like something we can work with. The waist is still thin and the muscles in the shoulders aren’t very defined yet. And when it comes to antler mass among New Hampshire bucks, there is some serious overlap! They fascinate us. Realize your favorite hunting jacket is just not going to work this year? 0 0. stormgale. 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. On antler growth during the rut, a rack may have slight staining in their glands! It found some below-average 5½-plus bucks with 3-inch bases, and it found above-average... 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