Aging on the Hoof

By GrowingDeer,

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Congrats on your Kansas buck!  What did you age him at by tooth wear?

The last 5 bucks I have harvested in eastern Kansas looked by typical body aging characteristics that I see in QDMA manuals to be 3.5 to 4.5 years old.  The cementum annuli analysis that I had done has come back as 5.5 and 6.5.  Is this something that is normal to my particular area?  These bucks were shot from late September to early December and weighed between 150 and 180 lbs. dressed out.

Thanks and keep up the good work.



Thanks for the positive comments.  I really had a great time on the Kansas hunt (GDTV 48).  I estimated the age of the buck that I harvested to be 4.5 years old.  I didn’t have a cementum annuli analysis performed.

Aging on the hoof is a tremendous management tool for selecting bucks for harvest.  Body characteristics can fluctuate based on location and the time of the year a buck is being aged.  The rut can take a heavy toll on a buck’s mass and overall physical appearance with some bucks losing over 20% of their pre-rut body mass.  Aging can also be slightly different when looking at a buck from the ground or from a treestand.  Depending on how steep the angle is from a treestand it is often times hard to see how long a buck’s legs are compared to the rest of his body, if the neck is fully developed, and if there is any loose skin under the jaw, etc.

One of the best methods to hone your skills is to continually take notes on a harvested buck’s physical characteristics on the hoof and compare them to that of cementum annuli age results.  From this information you can learn your site-specific buck age characteristics.  With that said, it is usually always more rewarding to low ball a buck’s age than to over age it.  Like a harvested buck’s antlers that grow as you approach them, finding out later that you harvested an older buck just adds icing to the cake.

Growing Deer together,