Whether it’s while in her treestand or as soon as viewing trace camera photos, the is crucial to discover to judge age by looking at an animal. Many gamekeepers feel that harvest decisions must be made based upon the animal’s period not antler size. Antler size is among the details we use to help determine age, however only one in a long list of elements like human body size and shape, muscle tone, the illustration of particular features, etc. Girlfriend will build a an ext effective management plan if friend can distinguish a buck’s period by assessing the in a photograph or by sight. The following characteristics are relatively consistent because that whitetails throughout their range. (Much that the info is courtesy of the QDMA.)


To begin, let’s stop saying “and-a-half” after ~ the age of a whitetail. The a given! If animals are born during the spring, and it’s during the autumn hunting season, they obviously will certainly be nearest the “half year” of whatever year they are in.

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One Year Old

These animals are simplest to identify, particularly the bucks. They are delicate-looking compared to older animals with a slim neck. Castle resemble a doe v antlers and also legs that show up long compared to the body giving them a slim, lanky appearance. They have actually a distinctive line that separation in between their neck and shoulders and little muscle definition. They have actually a slim waist, and they may have slight staining in their tarsal glands throughout the rut. Their antlers deserve to be incredibly inconsistent, but in its entirety they tend to have actually beams that are thin and fairly short and a spread out usually within the ears. These deer in well-managed locations with good genetics deserve to sometimes have multiple points (10 or more) and also even have actually spreads exterior their ears. This is why discovering to judge age by body qualities is for this reason important, because a one-year-old with great characteristics is the specific buck you want to let build until 5 or six. Those will be your Boone & Crocket candidates. 

Two years Old

Their foot still show up long for your body and may it seems ~ gangly and awkward. The belt is tho thin and the muscle in the shoulders aren’t an extremely defined yet. Castle may present some neck muscle accumulation during the rut, yet their tarsal glands will only be center stained and also still very small and round. Their antlers will have actually a spread roughly the exact same width together the ears; beams show the beginning of some mass and multiple points.

Three years Old 

Now the neck and also shoulders must be thickly muscled, yet the neck should still be discernible indigenous the shoulders. Their ago and stomach currently are fairly straight and taut. At three, the chest starts to become deeper 보다 the hindquarters but still with a thin waist, offering them what some call a “linebacker” or “racehorse” appearance. Their legs appear around the right length for your body. Currently the antlers deserve to have a spread also with or external the ears with decent mass. During the rut, your tarsal glands will be dark and may display a most staining. Research shows that at this age, most bucks have accomplished 50 to 75 percent of your antler-growth potential.

Four year Old

Now we must be looking at a totally muscled neck the blends right into his deep chest and well-defined muscled shoulders. Your waist drops down to become an ext even with their gut, help to offer the appearance the their legs space slightly quick for the body, but their stomach and earlier are not sagging yet. Your hind-end shows up filled-out and rounded. Your faces show up to have taut skin about the jaw. The antlers room now beginning to display you your potential and should be hefty with great bases and also multiple points. Throughout the rut castle should have noticeably bigger tarsal glands that space dark-stained v some staining possibly extending down their legs. Given adequate nutrition, they’ll become structurally mature and can reach 75 come 90 percent of your antler growth potential. Four-year-olds have actually an entirely various appearance than one- come three-year-old bucks.

Five to 7 Years Old

Other 보다 in pick places, couple of free-ranging bucks exceed five years the age, therefore I’ll incorporate five- to seven-year-olds. Bucks in this classification have foot that show up too brief for your body. They also have several other qualities of four year olds including totally muscled shoulders, hefty swelling in their neck during the rut, and a waist that’s even with their chest. However, they additionally may have a pot belly and also a sagging back. Their increased body mass offers them a much more rounded appearance, and they may look like a small cow. They will have achieved 90 come 100 percent of your antler expansion potential, and they deserve to have highly stained tarsal glands during the rut v the stain prolonging well below the tarsal gland.

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8 years Old and also Older

A couple of free-ranging bucks do it to the post-mature period category. These bucks have passed their prime and also regress in both body and antler size. They usually have loosened skin on their face, neck and also shoulders – typically visible as a “chin flap” – and they may have pointed shoulder and also hip bones. Your antlers can present age-related abnormalities such together abnormal clues or wavy or curvy tines, and they have an overall “weathered” appearance.

As you study age-specific human body characteristics, you’ll notification there no age-specific antler qualities (other than the range of antler potential that might be got to at each age class, and also this portion can’t be accurately estimated by viewing the antlers). Therefore, I suggest you don’t rely solely on antler size as soon as aging bucks. Large antlers ~ above a younger deer and tiny antlers ~ above an larger deer can negatively affect your approximated age. I favor to estimate period based exclusively on body attributes with respect to location and time of year and then usage antler dimension to “check” my estimate or to rest a tie if ns can’t decide between two ages.