Should I have tagged this buck?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersHow Old Is This Buck?
Big fan of you and your show and have learned a lot that we now implement on our farm in TN.

I’ve read quite a bit about the larger and more prominen a tarsal gland is on a buck, the older and more mature the buck is. However, hunting this year I’ve observed one buck in particular on our farm that acts dominant around other deer, has back sway and plods along like an older buck but he hardly has any tarsal staining. I hesitated on whether or not to take him yesterday but ultimately decided not to because of his lack of tarsal staining. To me, his his body frame and language exhibit a mature buck (4.5 is my estimate) but his lack of stain doesn’t. did I make a mistake not shooting him or is tarsal staining always a sure fire indicator of a mature buck?



That sounds like a fun hunt!  The body characteristics you shared indicate this is a mature buck.

Aging deer on the hoof is always an estimate and it seems like most characteristics except the staining of his tarsal glands indicated a mature buck.  I suggest you give him a close look next time and if you agree with your original observations tag him!

Bucks, like humans, don’t all show their age the same way.  I evaluate several factors and go with the majority.

Enjoy creation,


December 14, 2015