I receive lots of requests to estimate the age of bucks on my Facebook page. Oftentimes all that is posted is a picture of a buck and a few words like “How old?”
I rarely know what state the buck is from or the quality of the habitat where he lives. The habitat quality is very important information. Bucks tend to show signs of maturity much faster if they are living in poor habitat versus good quality habitat (the same is true for humans – stress is tough on all organisms!).
There’s one commonality that makes estimating a buck’s age much easier no matter what the quality of habitat where they live. That is if another buck (or two) is in the same picture!
Seeing multiple bucks in the same picture (or field) makes it much easier to compare body sizes, shapes, etc.
Martin from western Oklahoma shared this picture with me. At first glance it’s easy to tell multiple age classes are represented. Clearly the buck on the right is less mature than the buck on the left. It appears the buck in the middle is probably younger than the buck on the left – and older than the buck on the right.
The picture probably represents three age classes. We don’t often have three bucks in front of stands during hunting season. However by practicing estimating the age of bucks shown in pictures we can learn what characteristics to look for from our stands.
Growing Deer together,