deer aging

Submitted by larry on 10/6/99. ( )

could somebody please refresh my memory on aging a deer.

thank you

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Tooth Wear

This response submitted by George Roof on 10/6/99. ( )

Describing it won't help much. You need reference materials to gauge the wear of the teeth. Cabela's and a few other suppliers sell a board with jawbones depicting various ages by year. In Leonard Lee Rue's DEER OF NORTH AMERICA, he has pictures that may be of help.


This response submitted by Lianne on 10/6/99. ( )

Summer 1997 issue of Breakthrough has a good article on aging deer by tooth wear.


This response submitted by craig on 10/7/99. ( )

dont get me wrong but im no expert in ageing deer but teeth wear can be very decieving.for example food plays a big part ie good lush country all year around good teeth. bad drought areas can cause rapid teeth wear. we just had an american bioligist here for two years doing a study on deer,and he aged them by the jaw itself,how i dont know.anyway i might have not helped or some might disagree but its what im aware of.

Good Article on the Web with Photos

This response submitted by Ken Edwards on 10/7/99. ( )

Click above on "Taxidermy Net Home".
Click on "Related Links"
Scroll down to "HUNTING and FISHING"
Click on "How Old is My Deer?"

Hope this helps.

Just count the points...

This response submitted by Steve on 10/7/99. ( )

...that's what I do. If it doesn't have any, it's probably a newborn.

thank you

This response submitted by larry on 10/7/99. ( )

thank you for your help


This response submitted by George Roof on 10/7/99. ( )

I'm not discounting what you say. You are absolutely right about deer teeth wear varying according to environmental conditions. The jaw bone technique is just a WAG (Wild Assed Guess) in reality.
A REAL biologist would never use that method in determining a deers age. Real biologists remove a molar from the jaw and cut in across the flat. This is then put under a microscope and the "rings" are counted to determine it's actual age. I think it was the University of Missouri that perfected this technique, but I'm not sure.
P.S. Steve, what happens if the deer is a female??LOL

My guess...your guess...

This response submitted by Mike on 10/8/99. ( )

Aging deer by tooth wear comparisons to known aged deer can be quite accurate for a specific region or area. Is it 100% accurate, no it is not. It is a means to do general age studies of a specific deer population. Deer biologists typically will use this method in field studies.

The method that George speaks of is more accurate, but is still not 100% accurate. Typically it is a canine tooth that is removed, and its calcium is disolved away to where the tooth is rubbery. It is then sliced very thin (on a microtome), stained, and the "annual" rings are counted to give an "age". This method is used for ageing
of most mammals.

What I would suggest, is to collect various lower mandibles of the deer that come through your shop. Clean by boiling in Sal-Soda or similiar product to aid in removing tissue. They will dry nice and white. From comparing various jaws, you will begin to see the similarities and differences to the various aged deer of your area. Compare this to the deers body size and antler development to begin drawing comparisons to age.

Mike Biggs, author of three Whitetail books of which I highly recommend "The Whitetail Chronicles" sold by WASCO, states that being very familiar with whitetail anatomy, structure, and behavior, one can begin to be quite accurate with aging a live whitetail in the field. I generally agree with what he writes. The book mentioned is photo rich, with many photos of individual "wild" deer through many years of observing specific individuals

I believe, with the variety of tools mentioned, a person can become proficent in being "somewhat" accurate in the ageing of whitetails. The article in Breakthrough, that was mentioned in a previous response, was very well presented and will be a real help to you.

Doing this type of research and collecting information can be alot of fun. It certainly can help break the tedium(sp). And you might just be able to impress a customer.


Here's another site

This response submitted by John on 10/25/99. ( )

Ken's is pretty good, here's another. Personally, I only care how tasty they are!

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