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#594403 - 02/01/08 01:33 PM Field-judging buck age examples
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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First, let me emphasize that field-judging age is an art and not a science. Although I've been perfecting my skills for many years, I still only get 4 out of 5 buck ages right. Let me also emphasize that deer from different geographic regions will have different body conformation characteristics by age. All of the following pictures (except one) are TN bucks.

Second, when field-judging buck age, always, always, ALWAYS ignore the antlers. I've seen 80-class yearlings and 80-class 5 1/2 year-old bucks. Antlers will fool you more often than any other feature. Just look at the body.


Yearling (1 1/2 year-old) bucks:

Yearling bucks are best described as "does with antlers." They have the gracile necks of does, and the long bodies of does. Some yearling bucks will have body musculature greater than does, but the almost always have legs that look very long for the thickness of the body.

In fact, at least for me, the two most important and consistent body characteristics to look at are the length of the legs in comparison to the vertical thickness of the body, and the juncture of the neck with the front of the shoulders. Those two characteristics seem to be the best for judging TN bucks.

Notice in the following pictures how narrow the bucks' necks are, even where they join the shoulder. A very clear distinction between the base of the neck and the beginning of the shoulders exists. Also notice how long these bucks' legs look in comparison to the vertical height/thickness of the shoulder and body trunk. Viewed from the front, yearling buck are also very doe-like in how narrow their bodies are from side to side.









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#594413 - 02/01/08 01:39 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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2 1/2 year-old bucks:

By 2 1/2, bucks are really starting to put on considerable muscle. They are usually noticeably larger in body than yearling bucks. The best way to differentiate a 2 1/2 year-old buck from a yearling buck is the thickness of the neck. 2 1/2 year-old bucks have noticeably enlarged necks near the rut. Their bodies will often look substantially larger than a yearling.

However, as much larger as their necks are, a fairly strong distinction still exists between the base of the neck and the beginning of the shoulders.

Their legs are starting to look less "long and gracile" compared to a yearling buck.








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"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#594432 - 02/01/08 01:47 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BSK
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3 1/2 year-old bucks:

Bucks begin to look "big" once they hit 3 1/2. At 3 1/2, they have very heavy necks, especially down at the base where the neck joins the shoulders. Only a slight distinction between neck and shoulder will exist.

A 3 1/2 year-old buck really looks like a Thoroughbred race horse. They are very muscular in shoulders and hams. They look like they are at the peak of their game. Viewed from the front, their bodies are starting to look thick from side to side.

3 1/2 year-old bucks are just starting to take on the "front-heavy" (deeper chest than hams) look common to mature bucks.







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#594444 - 02/01/08 01:54 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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4 1/2 year-old bucks:

At 4 1/2, bucks are considered mature, not only because their behavior is that of a mature buck but because their bodies are fully filled out.

At 4 1/2, bucks will have massive necks. Almost no definition will exist between the base of the neck and the beginning of the shoulders. The huge neck will appear to nearly flow seamlessly into the shoulders.

4 1/2 year-old bucks also begin to take on a strong "buffalo" look, where their front end appears to be much heavier than their back-end--almost as if they will tip forwards.

At 4 1/2, bucks' body-trunks will be just as wide from side to side as as they are tall vertically. They are truly brutish, muscular, thick studs.

At 4 1/2, bucks have legs that look noticeably short in comparison to the vertical height of the body. In essence, the front legs look about as long as the shoulder section of the body trunk is vertically thick.








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#594468 - 02/01/08 02:04 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BSK
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5 1/2 year-old bucks:

5 1/2 year-old and older bucks are the true bulls of the forest. Their distinguishing characteristics are their massive over-all size. Their necks have become so thick that they flow directly into the top of the shoulders and deep brisket of the chest with no definition.

By 5 1/2, the musculature of bucks' hams have often caught up to their shoulders, and they no longer have the "front heavy" look of 4 1/2 year-old bucks.

Bucks of this age will look and act like no other deer. They will even walk differently than younger bucks, with a more horse-like plodding gait. At times they will even swing their front legs foreword in a sideways arcing motion.






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"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

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#594480 - 02/01/08 02:09 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BSK
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6 1/2 and older bucks:

Bucks 6 1/2 or older are characterized by hugely large bodies that are beginning to look "saggy" especially around the belly. If the belly is vertically thicker than the shoulders and hams, the buck is 6 1/2+. These bucks are rarely seen in the wild (even if they exist--they are very secretive).

[Note: the 2nd pictured buck in velvet is from the Low Country of South Carolina. I use that SC buck in velvet (when necks are not as filled out as they will be come the rut) primarily to show just how fat the bellies on 6 1/2+ year-old bucks really are]



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#594867 - 02/01/08 06:44 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
canyonman
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Great info Bryan
Here is the hunting situation;your in your stand hunting thick cover 50 yards is the longest shot you can take,it's 8:30am and a good buck appears.The deer is feeding slowly but you only have very little time to age the deer and take the shot.Can you give us your mental check list as you age this deer.
thanks

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#595249 - 02/01/08 10:27 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: canyonman]
big 8's in Weakley county
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THanks alot BSK
Very helpful
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#595402 - 02/02/08 07:42 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: big 8's in Weakley county]
HOOK
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Great post man!
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#595476 - 02/02/08 09:44 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: canyonman]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: canyonman
Great info Bryan
Here is the hunting situation;your in your stand hunting thick cover 50 yards is the longest shot you can take,it's 8:30am and a good buck appears.The deer is feeding slowly but you only have very little time to age the deer and take the shot.Can you give us your mental check list as you age this deer.
thanks


One word: "neck"

Look at the juncture between neck and shoulder.

If you have time: "How long does his front legs look in comparison the the vertical thickness of his shoulder?"
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"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#595489 - 02/02/08 09:55 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BSK
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Here's a real-world hunting situation. I apologize for the poor quality of the images, but these are still-images stripped from a video I took from my deer stand. It was a very foggy morning and first a yearling buck came walking and feeding through a food plot I was hunting. 30 minutes later a mature (4 1/2 year-old) buck came along the same route as the spike. I tried to pull images of the two bucks in exactly the same location and body posture for comparison. Notice the major differences in neck size at the shoulder juncture, and in the "head on" pictures the major difference and body width from side to side. In each par, the first pic is the yearling and the second pic is the mature buck:

Pair 1:




Pair 2:




Pair 3:

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"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

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#595552 - 02/02/08 10:38 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
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Excellent post, BSK!
Great info, seldom even mentioned in the popular (and generally worthless) hunting magazines.
 Originally Posted By: BSK
. . . when field-judging buck age, always, always, ALWAYS ignore the antlers.

This particular yearling buck illustrates one of the main reasons I usually don't like antler restrictions being used as criteria in defining "shooter" bucks.

By not focusing on age first, many QDM clubs (and particularly WMA's with antler restrictions) are actually "high grading" their best yearling bucks and above-average 2 1/2-yr-old bucks, mainly leaving the genetically inferior survivors into the older ages classes. Many WMAs and QDM clubs would actually be producing more genetically superior antlered older bucks if they were NOT using any antler restrictions, particularly if they just made yearling bucks illegal (no matter what the antlers on that yearling).

I like to focus on AGE first, while trying to totally ignore antlers.
In the field, a quick focus at the buck's neck is where you start. "Skinny" neck = young buck. "Very fat" neck = 3 1/2 or older buck.

By the way, regarding this particular yearling pic above, there are probably no reasonable antler restrictions that would prevent him from being a "legal" buck at the age of 2 1/2. Yet it is bucks like this one that have the most potential to become the very top-end largest antlered bucks whould they survive to 3 1/2 or older.

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#595589 - 02/02/08 11:23 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
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I completely agree Wes. In my area we have a significant percentage of yearling bucks that would qualify for harvest under a "4-points-on-one-side" rule. That's why I don't like antler restrictions outside of specific geographic locations.

Now in the Deep South, where the majority of yearling bucks are fork-horns or smaller, antler restrictions can work very well.
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#595630 - 02/02/08 11:52 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
DWM
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I just noticed that in the facing position a good rule would be if the upper to middle neck is as wide or wider than the skull he is at least 4 1/2. To me that would be an easy quick way to judge deer coming toward you.
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#595632 - 02/02/08 11:55 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
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 Originally Posted By: BSK
Now in the Deep South, where the majority of yearling bucks are fork-horns or smaller, antler restrictions can work very well.

I both agree and disagree, "depending" on just what you're trying to accomplish.

If your goal is simply to produce more 2 1/2-yr-old bucks, then of course, antler restrictions such as "4 points on one side, 8 points, 9 points, etc." will certainly do a great job in accomplishing this goal.

But many hunters state they have a personal goal of killing a large antlered buck, something that generally cannot even begin to happen prior to a buck reaching 3 1/2 years or older. And for any buck to even approach his antlers' genetic potential, he must reach the age of 4 1/2. But then again, how one defines "large" antlers comes into play.

My thinking is that most "practical" antler restrictions (those in use by most WMA's that use antler restrictions) actually increase the harvest of the genetically best antlered 2 1/2-yr-old and younger bucks. My thinking is that WITHOUT antler restrictions, many of these same areas would in fact have MORE genetically superior (large) antlered older bucks, albeit they would have fewer older bucks.

BECAUSE of antler restrictions, the best antlered yearlings are killed at a higher rate on the Catoosa WMA than they would be killed if there were no antler restrictions at all. BECAUSE of antler restrictions, the best antlered 2 1/2-yr-old bucks are killed at a higher rate on President's Island WMA than they would be killed if there were no antler restrictions at all.

And even those places where the majority of yearling bucks are fork-horns or smaller, if they use antler restrictions, BECAUSE of those antler restrictions, the best antlered younger bucks will be killed at a higher rate --- leaving fewer of the best to reach the older age classes.

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#595640 - 02/02/08 12:03 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
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Wes,

Hence the research on the affects of the "four total point rule" in Mississippi....

Is it reducing the average antler size of older bucks? It might be...
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#595642 - 02/02/08 12:04 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: DWM]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: DWM
I just noticed that in the facing position a good rule would be if the upper to middle neck is as wide or wider than the skull he is at least 4 1/2. To me that would be an easy quick way to judge deer coming toward you.


Good observation DWM.
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"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#595687 - 02/02/08 12:44 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Chaneylake
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this is good, thanks
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#596093 - 02/02/08 07:06 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Chaneylake]
baller_9
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Great post BSK

Wes...I'm not disagreeing with you but what makes you think that antler restrictions cause the best 2 1/2 antlered bucks to be killed at a higher rate? And that these areas would have more superior bucks without the restrictions?

If there is not an antler restriction in some of the WMA's than many hunters would be happy with any buck that came by. With it being on public land hunters are going to be a lot more trigger happy knowing that there might be a another hunter on the next ridge.

In my opinion without the antler restrictions there wouldn't be so many of the top end 2 1/2 yr old bucks and than the few that go on to 3 1/2 plus. I do not believe it would ever be a good idea to have a statewide restriction. However, in my opinion I believe that the restrictions on WMA's are a great asset and allow hunters to be more selective and atleast giving bucks a chance to get some age.

I'm not saying I'm right but I would like to hear your response.

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#596147 - 02/02/08 07:32 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
TN RDG RNR
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awesome examples BSK thanks
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#596332 - 02/02/08 09:29 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: baller_9]
Wes Parrish
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 Originally Posted By: baller_9
Wes...I'm not disagreeing with you but what makes you think that antler restrictions cause the best 2 1/2 antlered bucks to be killed at a higher rate? And that these areas would have more superior bucks without the restrictions?

If there is not an antler restriction in some of the WMA's than many hunters would be happy with any buck that came by. With it being on public land hunters are going to be a lot more trigger happy knowing that there might be a another hunter on the next ridge.

In my opinion without the antler restrictions there wouldn't be so many of the top end 2 1/2 yr old bucks and than the few that go on to 3 1/2 plus. I do not believe it would ever be a good idea to have a statewide restriction. However, in my opinion I believe that the restrictions on WMA's are a great asset and allow hunters to be more selective and atleast giving bucks a chance to get some age.

I'm not saying I'm right but I would like to hear your response.

Just to avoid "hijacking" BSK's thread here, I started a different one, in which much of the answer to your question has already posted. I will move your question over to. Thanks.
Link below:
http://www.tndeer.com/tndeertalk/ubbthre...&gonew=1#UNREAD

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#596360 - 02/02/08 09:52 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Wes Parrish]
baller_9
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Thanks Wes
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#596694 - 02/03/08 09:10 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: baller_9]
CZ284
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Great post BSK. Thanks. Would be nice if you could put these in a "poster" format that could be downloaded and printed off. (Hint?)
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#598403 - 02/04/08 12:22 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: CZ284]
tnclayboy
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Thanks BSK for taking the time to post that ,Thats some really good Info.

Edited by tnclayboy (02/04/08 12:22 PM)
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#598417 - 02/04/08 12:34 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: tnclayboy]
tnclayboy
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Ok ,Got one for ya Here is two pics of what I belieave to be the same deer one year apart .
First pic taken in 06, Second pic in 07 ,I was thinkingfirst pic 3 1/2 second 4 1/2 ,what do you think ??

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#598462 - 02/04/08 01:13 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: tnclayboy]
BSK
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Very, very difficult to field-judge age in summer-time. The body conformation techniques used are based on bucks near the rut. But if I had to choose, I would agree 3 1/2 and 4 1/2.
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#603470 - 02/06/08 09:07 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
canyonman
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Bryan
In what way will last year's drought,E.H.D outbreak and mast failure effect our ability to accurately age deer this year?

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#604075 - 02/07/08 09:42 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: canyonman]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: canyonman
Bryan
In what way will last year's drought,E.H.D outbreak and mast failure effect our ability to accurately age deer this year?



Not at all. The "body shapes" used for field-judging age will be apparent no matter the bucks health. How much over-all body "mass" a buck has (body weight) will vary by his health, but the body "shape" will be unaffected. In essence, a undernurished mature buck will still look like a mature buck, be he may look unhealthy (ribs showing, etc.).
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#607476 - 02/10/08 12:35 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
30-30
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Awesome post! Good info...
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#607673 - 02/10/08 10:03 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: 30-30]
hunter drew
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Very good post thanks BSK
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#609670 - 02/11/08 06:42 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: CZ284]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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 Originally Posted By: CZ284
Great post BSK. Thanks. Would be nice if you could put these in a "poster" format that could be downloaded and printed off. (Hint?)


Done!

http://www.tndeer.com/tndeertalk/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=609637&page=1#Post609637
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#609714 - 02/11/08 07:02 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
canyonman
Spike


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Bryan
I would buy 4 or 5 of your posters at the vous,great idea

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#619302 - 02/17/08 07:31 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: HOOK]
buckhorn40
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 Originally Posted By: HOOK
Great post man!

Ditto
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#628178 - 02/22/08 07:55 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Boone 58
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Great breakdown bsk!!
I love this freakin stuff!
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#628625 - 02/23/08 05:33 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Boone 58]
PRB
6 Point


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This is some really great information and will help me in the future.
Thanks
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#650244 - 03/06/08 09:22 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: PRB]
Viper (tp)
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Great info BSK, that should help alot! ;\)
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#660849 - 03/13/08 04:13 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: ]
String Music
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That is a good idea. Also, I think you could make a killing with a food plot poster. Including the time of year to plant, what to plant, where to plant, and pictures of what the plot should look like. Just a thought
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#677446 - 03/26/08 10:14 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
spitndrum
Supreme Hunting Outdoors Pro Staff
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Awesome Info BSK....Great Bucks!!! \:o
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#681311 - 03/29/08 12:07 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: spitndrum]
Tiny
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Just saw this,dang didn't think it had been that long since I opened this section,anyways darn good topic there BSK Thanks.
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#682071 - 03/29/08 08:18 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Tiny]
Camp David
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Great info as always Brian.
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#726540 - 05/04/08 09:04 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: dirtturner]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: Outbackcx, a.k.a. dirtturner
How can you post this? Have I not seen you post that 2.5 year olds are mature? According to this thye are not. Stand somewhere.


No outbackcx, you have not seen me post that 2 1/2 year-old bucks are mature. Older bucks yes, but mature no. Mature bucks are bucks 4 1/2+ years old.
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#726773 - 05/04/08 06:17 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
102
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Bryan,
I did not take the tiem to read all of the posts on this thread, so it may have already been brought up.

I think the statement which suggests that field scoring bucks is more of an art, than science, is MOST accurate. I would also add that it is an ACQUIRED skill. Difficult at best and almost ALWAYS arguable amoung veteran hunters, especially while in the field.

But looking at your pics, I must say that while most are excellent examples of age, EVERY single one of them can depict different age calss bucks, depending on the geographic location of the deer. I'm sure you mean this as a "guideline". That it is. But a 2.5 year old rutting buck living up North looks distinctly different than a 2.5 year old in Hamilton County.

Like you said, it is more art, than science.

What say you?

1-2
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#727229 - 05/05/08 07:44 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: 102]
BSK
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The examples posted are specifically Tennessee bucks, and were intended to be examples for field-judging age in Tennessee. Without question, the "rules" for field-judging age are geographic, in that body conformation by age-class is different in different geographic locations, and the biggest differences are North versus South. The virginianus borealis northern sub-species put on far more body mass at an earlier age than the southern virginianus virginianus sub-species. In addition, TN is more MidSouth than South. Our bucks are sort of a cross between Northern and Deep South bucks. Deep South bucks often look a year younger than MidSouth bucks of the same age. I've also found that TX bucks look a year younger than TN bucks of the same age.

And by the way, other than the yearling bucks, most of the bucks in the example photographs were actually harvested by hunters, so their toothwear age is known.

But you're also correct that field-judging age is far more "art" than "science" and takes a lot of experience to be good at. I've been honing my skills for over a decade, yet I still only get 81% of them "right" (and by "right," I mean my estimated age matches the toothwear age).
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#727363 - 05/05/08 09:19 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BowGuy84
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Where does it stand on ordering these? I'd like 2 when they are avaliable.
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#727464 - 05/05/08 10:35 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BowGuy84]
BSK
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I'll let you know. Finding a professional printer (at a reasonable price) is the tough part.
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#728178 - 05/05/08 07:37 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
102
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Very Good BSK. I generally do well myself in my home state. I also tend to do better during early to mid bow season when bucks are in bachelor groups. Obvious size differences along with distinct social behavior (pecking order) makes it much more easy (i.e. side by side comps.). I still do o-k in Tn. rut until about age 4.5. Then, I give up!!!

Up North, during the rut...forget it. Past 1.5 year old is a blurr for me.

102
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#755593 - 05/27/08 09:56 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Wes Parrish]
AlanP
TWRA Biologist
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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
BECAUSE of antler restrictions, the best antlered 2 1/2-yr-old bucks are killed at a higher rate on President's Island WMA than they would be killed if there were no antler restrictions at all.


Wes,

I do not believe the data supports your contention. If you look at the age data for President's Island, (from the big buck hunts) I don't think you can make a case that the best antlered bucks are killed out at 2 1/2.


Age.....2 1/2.....3 1/2.....4 1/2....5 1/2+

Year
2001......0..........5.........0..........0
2002......1..........2.........3..........1
2003......2..........5.........3..........2
2004......1..........2.........3..........7
2005......0..........1.........3..........3
2006......1..........3.........3..........2
2007......0..........4.........1..........2

Out of 60 bucks taken on the big buck hunts, only five have been 2 1/2 years old.

 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish

And even those places where the majority of yearling bucks are fork-horns or smaller, if they use antler restrictions, BECAUSE of those antler restrictions, the best antlered younger bucks will be killed at a higher rate --- leaving fewer of the best to reach the older age classes.


Again... Not at President's Island. Every yearling buck killed has been a spike. The 9-point rule has protected ALL branch-antlered yearlings. So far, the yearling harvests, on the spike buck hunts, have been:

......Yearling Spikes
2001.......6
2002.......2
2003.......2
2004.......2
2005.......2
2006.......1
2007.......1

I won't speak for Catoosa, because I do not look closely enough at Catoosa's data.
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#789733 - 06/20/08 09:43 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Boone 58
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I love this stuff!
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#790352 - 06/21/08 05:33 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Food Plot 101
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PM sent Bryan
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#790804 - 06/22/08 09:51 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Food Plot 101]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: Food Plot 101
PM sent Bryan


I didn't get a PM.
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#791899 - 06/23/08 12:33 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Food Plot 101
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Resent, I think. LOL!
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#928797 - 09/22/08 07:29 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
TN Deer Slayer
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very nice topic thanks
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#977536 - 10/19/08 06:05 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
bigdeer
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sometimes rack size may look better at age 3.5 but always let them go until 4.5 or older
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#977682 - 10/19/08 07:36 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: bigdeer]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: bigdeer
sometimes rack size may look better at age 3.5 but always let them go until 4.5 or older


If you want mature bucks. Not everybody cares about having mature bucks.
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#1042034 - 11/20/08 11:30 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
DOC1187
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great post
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#1133839 - 01/17/09 06:18 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: DOC1187]
Anonymous TnDeer Old Timer
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Thanks BSK.
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#1152677 - 01/28/09 05:55 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
TN Deer Slayer
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nice post BSK
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#1177971 - 02/13/09 09:02 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: TN Deer Slayer]
RNT
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Good post BSK! I enjoyed your presentation at the Vous!
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#1178016 - 02/13/09 09:28 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: RNT]
TN RDG RNR
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Good Post BSK and enjoyed your presentation at the Vous too. Seems obivious and simple as you point out the things to look for on the slides and looking at pics Id say my accuracy is around 50/50 but in the woods looking down at a buck close range its sometimes hard for me to remember to knock and arrow much less what all to look for in distinguishing the different age classes..

If there was just 1 thing you could see to make a quick visual judgement call on the age of a buck what would it be and how would the different age classes appear.
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#1179601 - 02/14/09 08:54 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: TN RDG RNR]
BSK
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TN RIDG RNR,

The neck. Neck size is the fastest and most accurate single body characteristic for judging age.
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#1194794 - 02/22/09 07:55 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Double-D-Team
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Brain,

Great job but I'm getting use to you doing this kind of work, LOL!! You do help all of us and thank you for sharing.
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#1423080 - 07/25/09 09:25 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Boone 58
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Man, i love this stuff.
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#1473552 - 08/27/09 04:32 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Boone 58]
skynimrod
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Great Info BSK
I think this guy was the biggest neck & bodied deer I had to drag out of the woods. His ears look like Muleys.
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#1473652 - 08/27/09 05:55 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Twitch
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Good info BSK....You and I had a lil' discussion about aging bucks in the field or from PICS. Have patience with me brother. I'm learning.
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#1474507 - 08/28/09 07:27 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Twitch]
BSK
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Skynimrod,

THAT'S a mature buck! Love that neck!

Here's the oldest buck I've ever killed. He is most likely 6 1/2 or 7 1/2. I honestly never took a serious look at his antlers (other than knowing he had them) before deciding to shoot. All I saw was his huge neck coming straight at me. That's all I needed to see!

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#1475405 - 08/28/09 04:26 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Living2Hunt
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nice deer! loving the drop tine!
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#1476063 - 08/29/09 07:50 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Living2Hunt]
BSK
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HUNTFUN07,

Too bad he broke off the matching drop tine on the other side before I killed him. But the droptine does give the buck a lot of character.

But he's also one of my favorite examples of why hunters shouldn't expect all mature bucks to have trophy-class antlers. This buck is truly mature, yet minus the droptine, his basic frame only grosses 112. He wasn't any bigger the previous year (I have trail-cam pictures of him).
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#1479794 - 08/31/09 08:09 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
skynimrod
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Nice Buck BSK! I noted in both pics they also seem to have big brown brow lumps on the skull plate.
Your right about The Big Boys standing out with no doubt they are Mature. Small ELK almost with wrestlers necks. I been chasing a big boy the last few years that sounds almost like a horse blowing/breathing sometimes. One smart SOB.
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#1479890 - 08/31/09 08:35 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: skynimrod]
skynimrod
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Here is a good example of antlers and age. Both Mature but the one on the right was a lot bigger bodied than the top left, and older I believe. Notice the large brown brow.
These are Wa. state bucks taken from the exact same area.
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#1497058 - 09/11/09 10:54 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Broadside
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thanks for the post! this helps me out alot
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#1554759 - 10/14/09 10:56 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
deer_hunter
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thanks for that field judgeing infor that will help alot this year.
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#1554765 - 10/14/09 10:57 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: deer_hunter]
deer_hunter
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thye one on the top has a nice chocolate rack.
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#1554766 - 10/14/09 10:58 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: deer_hunter]
deer_hunter
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the one.
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#1565625 - 10/20/09 08:46 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
A.K.A.
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 Originally Posted By: BSK
Skynimrod,

THAT'S a mature buck! Love that neck!

Here's the oldest buck I've ever killed. He is most likely 6 1/2 or 7 1/2. I honestly never took a serious look at his antlers (other than knowing he had them) before deciding to shoot. All I saw was his huge neck coming straight at me. That's all I needed to see!

How in the heck do you drag a deer like that out? Heck, I bout stroked out dragging a doe out the other day.
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#1565634 - 10/20/09 08:50 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: A.K.A.]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: ETNW
How in the heck do you drag a deer like that out? Heck, I bout stroked out dragging a doe out the other day.


First, lots of hunting buddies, and second, we use an ATV to get the biggest deer out of very difficult spots (we use the winch and a lot of extra lengths of cable).

We don't use ATVs to hunt (get to our stands), but we will use them to get a deer out of a deep holler.
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#1572397 - 10/23/09 12:27 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
grayfox
Spike


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Thanks for the ageing info that will really help
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#1584630 - 10/29/09 01:55 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: grayfox]
sksfordman
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I live in Western Ky, only 4 miles north of Obion County Tn, and I appreciate all the info and the pics you compiled and shared, I've only been deer hunting for 3 yrs now, and It's a great help for someone getting started.
Randy


Edited by sksfordman (10/29/09 07:39 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling are ya smarter than a 5th grader!!
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#1585048 - 10/29/09 05:17 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: sksfordman]
BSK
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Glad to have helped.
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#1678174 - 12/17/09 07:16 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: A.K.A.]
skynimrod
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 Originally Posted By: Rusty Shakelford
 Originally Posted By: BSK
Skynimrod,

THAT'S a mature buck! Love that neck!

Here's the oldest buck I've ever killed. He is most likely 6 1/2 or 7 1/2. I honestly never took a serious look at his antlers (other than knowing he had them) before deciding to shoot. All I saw was his huge neck coming straight at me. That's all I needed to see!

How in the heck do you drag a deer like that out? Heck, I bout stroked out dragging a doe out the other day.


Like BSK said help with Buddy's 1st choice if pretty close to the truck.

Sled if I'm by myself, or rough terrain. Pretty easy with two people


Or Pack Frame for rough area large animal.
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#1827757 - 03/08/10 08:14 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: skynimrod]
Greg M
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Wow, great info. Thanks so much.
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#2015165 - 08/02/10 04:11 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
RiverBuck10
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Great stuff..
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#2039137 - 08/20/10 09:29 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
turkinator
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#2110547 - 10/13/10 04:45 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Robbhorn
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Great info! I was never taught what exactly to look for in aging. Thanks for the info!
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#2110614 - 10/13/10 05:27 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Robbhorn]
BSK
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Glad you found the information useful Robbhorn.
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#2110773 - 10/13/10 07:51 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
vabuckbuster
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That would be great printed out on photo quality paper and put in a binder.
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#2111321 - 10/14/10 07:39 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: vabuckbuster]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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 Originally Posted By: vabuckbuster
That would be great printed out on photo quality paper and put in a binder.


One of these days I'll finish updating the poster and have it professionally printed and laminated. Depending on printing costs, I'll probably sell copies for $20. And the image is set up for poster-size paper (24" x 36"). I can currently print that with my plotter on high-gloss paper, but it has to be laminated or framed to keep the poster from getting wet (I don't have waterproof ink).
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#2111392 - 10/14/10 08:35 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Wes Parrish]
cfmartin1833
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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
Excellent post, BSK!
Great info, seldom even mentioned in the popular (and generally worthless) hunting magazines.
 Originally Posted By: BSK
. . . when field-judging buck age, always, always, ALWAYS ignore the antlers.

This particular yearling buck illustrates one of the main reasons I usually don't like antler restrictions being used as criteria in defining "shooter" bucks.

By not focusing on age first, many QDM clubs (and particularly WMA's with antler restrictions) are actually "high grading" their best yearling bucks and above-average 2 1/2-yr-old bucks, mainly leaving the genetically inferior survivors into the older ages classes. Many WMAs and QDM clubs would actually be producing more genetically superior antlered older bucks if they were NOT using any antler restrictions, particularly if they just made yearling bucks illegal (no matter what the antlers on that yearling).

I like to focus on AGE first, while trying to totally ignore antlers.
In the field, a quick focus at the buck's neck is where you start. "Skinny" neck = young buck. "Very fat" neck = 3 1/2 or older buck.

WBy the way, regarding this particular yearling pic above, there are probably no reasonable antler restrictions that would prevent him from being a "legal" buck at the age of 2 1/2. Yet it is bucks like this one that have the most potential to become the very top-end largest antlered bucks whould they survive to 3 1/2 or older.



I agree completley but wouldnt it be pretty hard to enforce an age restriction vs. an antler restriction because so many hunters wouldn't be able to do it accuratly. I mean alot of us know the difference but sometimes there is no way to be 100 % sure. It seems to me that an antler restriction is the best chance at saving the younger bucks. IMO of course!
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#2111449 - 10/14/10 09:13 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: cfmartin1833]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Antler Restrictions not only don't work in most locations, they can cause real biological problems. It is MUCH easier to teach hunters how to identify the difference between yearling and 2 1/2 year-old buck than it is to create an Antler Restriction that actually works well.

And I'm talking about a private property or club. States SHOULD NOT be involved in regulating the age of harvested bucks on a region or statewide basis unless it is abslutely biologically necessary (and this situation RARELY occurs in the Southeast--it is primarily a northern state problem due to extremely high hunter densities). Now if a State Agency wants to set up specific WMAs as "older buck" harvest areas, that's fine.

Mistakes will happen under any system. As long as mistakes make up only a small percentage of the harvest, don't worry about them.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#2112146 - 10/14/10 08:11 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
vabuckbuster
8 Point


Registered: 10/01/08
Posts: 2147
Loc: Virginia

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: vabuckbuster
That would be great printed out on photo quality paper and put in a binder.


One of these days I'll finish updating the poster and have it professionally printed and laminated. Depending on printing costs, I'll probably sell copies for $20. And the image is set up for poster-size paper (24" x 36"). I can currently print that with my plotter on high-gloss paper, but it has to be laminated or framed to keep the poster from getting wet (I don't have waterproof ink).


I would buy a couple of them.
_________________________
We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them - Albert Einstein

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#2132498 - 10/27/10 08:01 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Boone 58
16 Point


Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 15185
Loc: Food Plot

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_________________________
The problem in America is not that ungodly people have said yes to ungodly things, but rather that Godly people have refused to say "no" to ungodly things.
Copied

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#2489696 - 08/22/11 11:33 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Boone 58]
BowGuy84
10 Point


Registered: 09/16/07
Posts: 4904
Loc: Nashville, TN and Louisville, ...

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Any idea if these are ever going to be avaliable...would make a cool addition to any man room or cabin.
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#2524886 - 09/16/11 06:03 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BowGuy84]
F0ster
Spike


Registered: 09/06/11
Posts: 22
Loc: Tennessee, USA

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Great post BSK! Thank you all for sharing.
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"All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife." .......Daniel Boone

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#2528973 - 09/19/11 09:36 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
WDS
10 Point


Registered: 08/11/02
Posts: 2843
Loc: Nashville, but my heart is in ...

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BSK does not know a darn thing about judging whitetails !!! He has been hitting that bong way too hard. He even photo shopped the images of him with that toad of a 6.5 y.o !!! I killed that deer in Perry county with a hickory stick (half rotten) ...I was friggin NAKED at the time (Don't Ask).. while Bryan was chasing ME with his [censored] camera trying to get a pic of a REAL mature buck's 'member' !!!!! Im so fired up I just grunt-snort-wheezed !!!!! Hippie PERVERT !!!!!!

Bryan, things are looking good at Cedar Point !!! All due to your consultant services !!!!! Truly the best thing I could have done for our farm was to hire you !!!!

You got any more of that Clumbian 'funky weed' that you had us plant ????? The deer are all bloodshot when we kill 'em and smell like skunk !!!! Haaaaaa !!!
_________________________
"Every farm is a textbook on animal ecology; woodsmanship is the translation of the book."

-Aldo Leopold

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#2530133 - 09/20/11 04:34 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: WDS]
Rubberduck270
10 Point


Registered: 11/01/10
Posts: 3007
Loc: Lawrence Co.

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A man that would even attempt to kill a deer with a half rotten hickory stick in the nude would have to be from Perry county lol.

I have worn this thread out over the past couple weeks trying to decide how old some of my bucks are. This is a great reference for the TN hunter.
_________________________
Smokeless Muzzleloading: It ain't your Grampa's flintlock

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#2530628 - 09/20/11 09:48 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Rubberduck270]
WDS
10 Point


Registered: 08/11/02
Posts: 2843
Loc: Nashville, but my heart is in ...

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Not from Perry County, but close enuff !!! ;\)

BSK is the man to contact over anything whitetail !!!!! I have a very deep respect for the man and consider him a friend. He better agree with the friend thing cuz he has taken a lot of my dang $$$$ . All of it being the best I have spent on Cedar Point !!!! His consultation services are without a doubt worth their weight in gold !!! .... ok maybe in 2005 gold prices !!! Good, honest and knowledgeable man!!!
_________________________
"Every farm is a textbook on animal ecology; woodsmanship is the translation of the book."

-Aldo Leopold

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#2585251 - 10/26/11 02:33 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: WDS]
skynimrod
10 Point


Registered: 11/10/06
Posts: 2543
Loc: Bellevue Tn

Offline
 Originally Posted By: WDS
BSK does not know a darn thing about judging whitetails !!! He has been hitting that bong way too hard. He even photo shopped the images of him with that toad of a 6.5 y.o !!! I killed that deer in Perry county with a hickory stick (half rotten) ...I was friggin NAKED at the time (Don't Ask).. while Bryan was chasing ME with his [censored] camera trying to get a pic of a REAL mature buck's 'member' !!!!! Im so fired up I just grunt-snort-wheezed !!!!! Hippie PERVERT !!!!!!

Bryan, things are looking good at Cedar Point !!! All due to your consultant services !!!!! Truly the best thing I could have done for our farm was to hire you !!!!

You got any more of that Clumbian 'funky weed' that you had us plant ????? The deer are all bloodshot when we kill 'em and smell like skunk !!!! Haaaaaa !!!


\:D \:D
_________________________
Manipulation is the KEY!
Use it willfully & be aware of it from others!

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#2626118 - 11/19/11 07:44 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
sure shot
8 Point


Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 1513
Loc: robertson,co TN

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good stuff i love it !!!
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patience is a virtue some people...will never possess......... Tn river and a mountain man

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#2636310 - 11/24/11 10:07 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: sure shot]
All-Around-Hunter
Spike


Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 53
Loc: Lewis County, TN

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Great Post!
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Become one with Nature... then marinade it.

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#2664184 - 12/09/11 08:13 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Tiny]
Drop 4/5
6 Point


Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 670
Loc: Morgan Co.

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Great informative post, thanks for your hard work and for sharing the knowledge. Would love a couple posters if you make it happen.
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Kiss em, Hug em, Tell em you love em!

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#2698977 - 12/30/11 06:48 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Drop 4/5]
plinker22
16 Point


Registered: 02/07/05
Posts: 12880
Loc: Mountians of East Tennessee

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Every time I revisit this post, I learn a little more!
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#3005393 - 10/29/12 10:32 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Drop 4/5]
DaveB
10 Point


Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 4764
Loc: Shelby County

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Age this Buck?
[img][/img]

I'd say this deer was 2.5 (?)
[img][/img]

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#3005399 - 10/29/12 10:35 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: DaveB]
Football Hunter
Non-Typical


Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 25536
Loc: Wilson Co/Perry Co

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Id say your right,2.5
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#3005898 - 10/29/12 02:10 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Football Hunter]
bigtex
8 Point


Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 1994
Loc: Brush Creek

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 Originally Posted By: Football Hunter
Id say your right,2.5

Yep, 2.5.
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#3005919 - 10/29/12 02:19 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Football Hunter]
DaveB
10 Point


Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 4764
Loc: Shelby County

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What about one hiding behind the tree?

I'm thinking, over 4.


Edited by DaveB (10/29/12 02:21 PM)

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#3007826 - 10/30/12 04:57 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
TnSoldier
Button


Registered: 10/23/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Decatur/Knox

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Great info.... i wish many in our state would practice QDM to improve the overall quality of bucks for not only ourselves, but future hunters and our children.
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Derek

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
― George Orwell

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#3064772 - 12/05/12 01:47 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
PinchPoint
8 Point


Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 1928
Loc: Knoxville Tn

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Very helpful and informative post, thanks!
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Bowhunting is life, plain and simple

Genesis 27:3

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#3185272 - 03/06/13 12:08 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: deer_hunter]
ferg
Cancer Free
16 Point


Registered: 07/29/04
Posts: 16231
Loc: At the TNDeer shirt factory %^...

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I've read this thread about a dozen or so time over the years - it's likely one of the best on any forum - never get tired of the refresh of this information -

Thanks again Bryan -

ferg....
_________________________
What's your PSA #? Don't know? You should, do it.

USCG(Ret)
Semper Par !




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#3269660 - 06/17/13 02:26 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: ferg]
Hollar Hunter
8 Point


Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 2296
Loc: TN

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wish the pics were still available...
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Spend your time where you get the most return on it...

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#3288642 - 07/11/13 01:41 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Hollar Hunter]
MattR
8 Point


Registered: 09/22/12
Posts: 1714
Loc: Nashville

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me too
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Corpsman Up!

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#3288648 - 07/11/13 01:46 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BlountArrow
10 Point


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 2835
Loc: SouthEast Tenn

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Ah, man....the pics are gone??!! I had this post saved and re-reviewed it frequently and shared it with my brother and fellow hunting buddies.
_________________________
"The world is so dreadfully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain."
-Ronald Firbank

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#3288686 - 07/11/13 02:18 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
MattR
8 Point


Registered: 09/22/12
Posts: 1714
Loc: Nashville

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Just by reading this I learned some things though.
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Corpsman Up!

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#3288841 - 07/11/13 04:51 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: MattR]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65979
Loc: Nashville, TN

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Oops! I moved all the pictures on Photobucket into a better arrangement of sub-folders. I'll try and reconnect the links if possible.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3288957 - 07/11/13 07:39 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BlountArrow
10 Point


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 2835
Loc: SouthEast Tenn

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Please do, immature bucks all over TN are begging you. Oh yeah, and me too.
_________________________
"The world is so dreadfully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain."
-Ronald Firbank

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#3307170 - 07/30/13 11:16 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Master Chief
10 Point


Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 3075
Loc: Henderson County

Offline
 Originally Posted By: BSK
Oops! I moved all the pictures on Photobucket into a better arrangement of sub-folders. I'll try and reconnect the links if possible.


You won't be able to edit the post, but a mod can do it for you.
_________________________
Shed hunting and trail camera addict

"It's not whatcha got, it's what you give." -Tesla

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
-John Muir

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#3323899 - 08/15/13 12:36 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: DaveB]
RockChucker30
Spike


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 70
Loc: Tennessee

Offline
 Originally Posted By: DaveB
What about one hiding behind the tree?

I'm thinking, over 4.


I think the buck in the first pic is an old buck, possibly 5-6+.

His brisket is saggy, he's got a bit of a U neck, a sway back, loss of muscle mass in his hindquarter, hollow hips, etc. All of that points to gravity working on him for an extended period.

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#3326372 - 08/18/13 07:46 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: RockChucker30]
Hunter 257W
10 Point


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3522
Loc: Franklin County

Offline
BSK, come on, put the pictures back! I need to recalibrate my eyes. \:\)
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#3334331 - 08/24/13 04:01 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: TN RDG RNR]
bassinbrian
4 Point


Registered: 10/03/11
Posts: 286
Loc: tennessee

Offline
great info, thanks
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The awkward fisherman only disturbs the water...

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#3344004 - 09/01/13 07:48 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: bassinbrian]
G_Man
4 Point


Registered: 08/07/13
Posts: 295
Loc: Middle Tn

Offline
AAAHHH i need these pictures! Educate me BSK
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