Techniques for Aging Live Deer
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The ability to age live deer, or deer “on the hoof,” is a beneficial skill for all deer hunters and managers. Many hunters and landowners are implementing quality deer management (QDM) approaches into their management activities or have an interest in increasing their opportunity for harvesting larger bucks. Both goals depend on allowing younger bucks to mature into older age classes. Deer management success can be increased by the ability to age live deer. By being able to recognize that a buck has the characteristics of an immature, or younger, deer, a hunter can pass on harvesting that buck so it will have the opportunity to mature to an older age class. This guide provides information on body characteristics of deer in various age classes for use in making management decisions while hunting or while evaluating trail camera photos.
Archive version. For the most recent information see extension.missouri.edu.