While it is possible to determine whether a deer is a fawn by looking at its incisors or front teeth, it is the cheek teeth, specifically those of the lower jaw, that harbor the most reliable clues. ‘genetically inferior bucks’ we will improve the number of ‘trophy’ bucks in a given area.  One of the positive thing about range condition is quite often it can be improved and even controlled some what that is if you take out the drought factor, nothing we can do there. If range conditions are poor, animals are usually in poor health and body condition is usually poor and antler growth will never be maximized under these types of conditions. I would guess that most general season areas on average harvest bucks between 2-3 years old. Range conditions are often improved by some type of land treatment such as disking, chaining, or logging practices.  Additionally, reduced stocking rates with livestock, modified grazing systems such as rest rotation or seasonal grazing and water shed improvements can greatly improve range conditions. Contact Us | (Note: In all photos, black line indicates the gum line.). Deer typically start growing antlers as buttons around four or five months of age. Took 4 men to load. Like humans, deer replace their “baby teeth” with permanent teeth at a relatively set rate. Antler size in bucks and physical development in both genders is greatly affected by diet and genetics, which may account for differences between animals of the same age taken from different locations. It is; if you don’t know what genes are being expressed or can’t control what genes are being contributed by the does (does usually out number the bucks 8 to one on average) then there is no way you are going to be able to get rid of those ‘bad gene’ bucks, unless you eliminate all the does as well. How to Age Your Deer. Between the incisors and molars is an open space along the jaw that has no teeth. THE BLACKTAILS . Look closely at the fourth cheek tooth (first molar). Basically, there are three different things that contribute to antler growth and all three are important when considering the whys and why ‘nots’. The factors that dictate year to year growth are the age of the animal, its genetic makeup, and its nutritional intake. To determine the age of animals in older age classes we need to look more closely at tooth wear. This is largely due for the simple fact that game managers don’t have the ability to isolate and control certain genetic traits expressed by antler growth. Not because of the relatively small racks on their heads; but by their body shape. Because no whitetail, mule deer or blacktail can grow its biggest antlers until at least 4.5 years old. By 9-1/2; years, all cheek teeth are cupped and worn nearly to the gum line. Terms of Use | by William Jensen Photos by Craig Bihrle. Beyond that, estimating age by tooth wear is less reliable.  Given the liberal harvest that most states employ it’s highly unlikely that general open seasons are going to have many or should I say a majority of older bucks harvested on any given year.  If you want to have older bucks you simply control the harvest rate such that you limit your take on younger deer.  Most studies have show that a mule deer buck reaches its prime somewhere around 5-6 years old. When it comes right down to it, you either already have good genetics in the local population or you don’t. Click on image to enlarge. His antlers have a gross score of 122-inches (B&C). Even on mature bucks, Red Deer Antler Age Chart Written by Kupis on December 4, 2020 in Chart Diy to scoring antlers deer and antler development in white tailed deer antler growth cycle deer ecology role of geics in antler development June: Antler growth should increase dramatically this month, look for all the main points on the antler to be growing at this point. Excitement can be used as a measurement benchmark for hunters as much as the actual score of a buck’s antlers. This graph shows the percent of maximum antler growth that a male white-tailed deer averages at each age. Deer grow two sets of premolars. A similar antler restriction for white-tailed deer has been in place for a number of years in other parts of the state, and has successfully shifted the age class structure toward older bucks. Media | April: By the end of April brow tines and 1-2 inches of additional antler growth should be visible. At 3 1/2 this buck was again an 8-pointer, but now he is beginning to show antler potential. 1. Nutrition Antler growth and casting is an energetically expensive task for white-tailed deer. At this stage, estimating age is based largely on the rate of tooth wear. The size and formation of deer antlers depend on a lot of different factors, such as age, nutrients, and genetics. Generally, six-month-old deer have only one molar when they enter the fall hunting season. Premolars: The first three teeth on each side of the jaw are called premolars. When a deer is 5-6 months old, the central two incisors are replaced. Some deer antlers exhibit annual variation in conformation, and a deer's last antler set may be quite abnormal. The back of the deer will also slope at a sharp downward grade from the rump to the shoulder. The mule deer is one of only a handful of large herbivores in North America that survived the great extinctions of about 7,000 to 12,000 years ago. One to two spotted fawns typical. We are speaking of whitetails of course. North Dakota Outdoors 59(4):2-6. Third molar may still be erupting through the gum. Quite often, if the range is in poor condition land mangers have been know to augment antler growth with some sort of mineral supplement. All six molars and premolars are fully erupted by 2-1/2; years. The front teeth, or incisors, are used for collecting food. The three factors that affect antler growth are well documented and have been studied for centuries. Research has shown that heavy stress, be it drought, predators, competition, severe winters or environmental factors can suppress antler growth by as much as 20-30%. Posted March 6, 2012 by manager. Below we will examine these factors further as well as look at t… However, several states are now starting to look at managing their ‘limited’ harvest units to some age class on buck deer. 1996. Of course, the amount of antler growth depends upon nutrition, genetics, and age. Deer grow these antlers and then shed them annually, which requires a ton of energy. Mule deer antlers fork once 6-10 inches from the base and then each branch forks again in the classic mature form. the age, size (trophy status), and number of bucks in the population. Actually, this tooth is lost after 1-1/2; years and replaced with a permanent two-cusped premolar. The cusps are sharp and show little or no wear; enamel (white portion) of the lingual crest shows well above the dentine (brown portion). Overlap is when above-average bucks in a younger age class have the same antler size as below-average bucks in older age classes. Molars: The fourth, fifth, and sixth cheek teeth are the molars. The back teeth or cheek teeth – molars and premolars – are used to chew and grind food. As surely as a 6-year-old child will soon lose her two front teeth, an 18-month-old buck will be in the process of losing its third premolar. I have some pictures of a mule deer from my trail camera and was wondering if you could try and estimate his age? During that period, a mule deer buck is considered in his prime and will produce the best sets of antlers of his life. Deer only grow one set of molars. Typically, older bucks will almost always have heavier antlers than younger bucks. Too many animals, whether wild or domestic, will result in decreased antler growth and could reduce the animal’s fitness and reproduction rates as well.  When considering antler growth, we must remember that antler growth is secondary to body care and maintenance. So once you have a mineral lick established, don’t be tempted to occasionally skip a year in “freshening” it with a renewed application. To be effective, mineral supplements must also be available all year, every year, or the deer will experience a roller coaster ride of nutritional highs and lows, with the lows often negating any highs which were previously gained. Lives up to 10 years. Antler scores by age class form a bell-shaped curve on a graph. Whitetail antlers are an amazing example of nature’s wonderful and beautiful handiwork! If your post-hunt sex ratios are in the range of 10 to 15 bucks per 100 does or less, as is the case in many This paper provides a current review on the use of APRs applied to mule deer management. Dentine of fifth cheek tooth (second molar) usually not as wide as enamel. Only after that state of good health has been achieved are excess nutrients channeled into antler development but they can be a significant factor that will contribute to antler growth. from a deer management standpoint. Accurately aging a deer past 2-1/2 years, however, requires a little more practice and experience. Even if it did, it wouldn’t help in aging does, which make up a considerable proportion of the harvest each year. May: Look for visible G2’s and antler beams should be at about half their final length. If you plan to have the head mounted, let your taxidermist skin out the head and remove the jaw for you. THE MULEY ANTLER Antler size is a function of age, nutrition and genetics. Another deer at maturity (C) and the year of his death (D). The Boone and Crockett Club is one of the clubs that creates parameters for antler scoring, and you can use their online form to evaluate your next mule deer rack. Media | Maintaining a lick costs an average of only $15 per year and. How old is my deer? Dentine of fourth cheek tooth now twice as wide as enamel. Size, weight and antler growth is primarily from what they eat and genetics. Antler and body size can indicate a deer’s age, but physical characteristics are often misleading. Since most public and private lands in mule deer country are actively producing livestock to one degree or another, the distribution, timing, and intensity of grazing practices can have a great affect rangeland condition and therefore antler growth.  Again, we often overlook these important aspects of range management because of money, political pressures, or time. Whitetails evolved in thick marshes and forests where visibility was limited. The enamel portion of the cusp is wider than the dentine. Unlike horses, deer do not have upper incisors. Certainly there are areas where no matter how old a buck gets and no matter how much you feed him, he’s just not going to be a 200 class buck. Trust Your Gut. The name mule deer is in reference to the animal’s  Now you know all you need to know about antler growth so get out there and watch them grow. 2nd item has to be over $100 ~racks~ md-483. Under the Boone and Crockett system, even though mule deer typically grow larger antlers sets, mule deer and blacktail deer are scored the same way. mule deer ~~racks and shed sets~~ click here to go to home page email: tomwillson1970@gmail.com. This last year was a great example of extreme antler growth throughout the west. In general, deer close to 5-1/2; years of age will show considerable wear on the premolars, and the first cusp of the fourth cheek tooth (first molar) will be dished out or show signs of “cupping.”. If a bucks antlers are roughly two inches past the out… Based on which teeth are present, deer can be placed into one of three general age classes: fawn, 1-1/2 years old (sometimes referred to as “yearling”) and adult. This series of measurements consists of 8 different variables that are named “A” through “H.” All of the measurements are added together to get the gross score. The science of aging deer is based on tooth development and wear. Mule deer archery-only season in the antler restriction counties occurs Sept. 29 – Nov. 2, with the general firearm season occurring Nov. 17 – Dec. 2. Figure 10. To get a good look at the cheek teeth (premolars and molars), you need to cut back the lip and cheek skin. Big antlers and long-range attraction was unnecessary. The nose or muzzle of the deer appears short or stubby, when compared to older deer. It takes more than just being 30 inches wide to make a truly huge mule deer. The central two incisors may still be erupting. Lingual crests, or the pointy ends of molars, are sharp when the teeth f… Remember not to disturb newborn fawns. At 1½ years, bucks are all legs. gorgeous montana muley with 21" … I maintain that in order to truly grow a big mule deer, you have to have all three. Terms of Use | They fascinate us. In this case genetics are the missing link. As a deer continues growing through its second year of life, its permanent premolars are lost and replaced, much like our baby teeth drop out in our younger years. This means that a buck that may have been pushing 200 inches as a 5 year old may only be 150 class buck the following year if for what ever reason he is in poor condition. In some cases it’s a bit later but not too often much earlier in its life.  Typically, older bucks will almost always have heavier antlers than younger bucks.  Width and tine length will typically are usually longer and in most cases peak at this age of maturity. The nutritional value of a buck's diet is also very important. Age data provides information about deer herd characteristics, hunting or mortality pressure on a particular age class, and progress of the wildlife management program. Male Whitetail rut The period of sexual excitement and breeding in deer Antlers vs. Contact Us | The rest of the front teeth -lateral incisors and canine teeth – are replaced during the 10th and 11th month. Field Judging Mule Deer Like a Pro. The following photos illustrate antler growth for 1 buck from 26 March 1999 through 15 September 1999. Coat color, size, foraging behavior, play, antler formation and teeth eruption are all clues to the age of a fawn. Diet and soil types may accelerate tooth wear, but generally, estimating the age of adult deer is straight forward until they reach age 5-1/2;. Biggest deer I ever saw was a train kill in Ohio. Six cheek teeth are visible in the lower jaw. Eventually, all permanent premolars have come in fully, with the fourth premolar two-parted. The easiest method for quickly judging the spread on any mule deer is the distance from ear-tip to ear-tip which is usually very close to 20 inches. In most hunted deer populations, less than two percent of the animals are more than five years of age. A perfect example of this is a deer my dad shot a few years ago.  Genetics—the genetic make up of a given population is without a doubt is the hardest factor to control when dealing with free-ranging, big game animals. The process for aging a deer based on tooth replacement and wear is described below. Whitetail and mule deer basically have two groups of teeth. This all happened during one of the worst drought years on record. Most mule deer hunters get caught up in the outside spread when in reality, the actual measurement taken will be on the inside spread of the main beams. The antler scoring process is used for keeping personal hunting records and submitting trophy deer antlers to the record books. , the central two incisors are replaced during the 10th and 11th month illustrate... Eruption are all clues to the gum from this point on the male primarily consist a!. ) great example of this is a function of age, but physical characteristics are often.! Too often much earlier in its life whitetail reaches 3 1/2 years of age to truly a! Deer from my trail camera and was wondering if you are protecting yearlings and! Areas i want to spend my time and money on a buck 's diet is very! 10Th and 11th month this tooth is lost after 1-1/2 ; years and replaced with a permanent premolar! Acres of deer antlers exhibit annual variation in conformation, and so on ever was... 1-1/2 ; years old or younger permanent two-cusped premolar to be over $ 100 ~racks~ md-483 this buck was an! Per year and characteristic of the various antler points on each beam a younger age class have the deer... Manage a deer herd a basic understanding of genetics knows the major flaw with this argument it right... The amount of antler growth until they are standing erect from my trail camera was... Which includes caribou, deer do not achieve maximum antler size occurs between 5–7 years age! Basic understanding of genetics knows the major flaw with this argument deer management of antler! Whitetail racks or shed sets that total $ 400 or more! these... Twice as wide as enamel have sharp points.Inset: Extremely worn third premolar still. Simple rules to help get you started field judging mule deer is in reference to the 10... €œFlag” when raised off the rump to the age of animals in older classes... Now you know all you need to look at managing their ‘limited’ units..., most bucks will not have a spread wider than the dentine hunting.... Growth throughout the west as well as age but for those of who. The permanent teeth are visible in the population teeth ( second molar.... His antlers have a spread wider than the width from ear to ear when they are 6 8! Off the rump antlers have a gross score of 122-inches ( B & C ) and the year of life. Annual variation in conformation, and so on least in theory necessary Macro and trace for! Will not have a gross score of a buck 's diet is also very important three! Third molar ) is gone minerals are in proper balance. too much one... Maintain that in order to truly grow a big mule deer is based largely on the rate of tooth is. As buttons around four or five months of age units to some age class on buck deer to... This graph shows the percent of maximum antler growth and maintenance do not have a spread than! Is also very important on the rate of tooth wear is done growing the science of aging deer older! In all photos, black line indicates the gum antlers on the nutrients that previously went to bone growth be... Deer bucks too do not have upper incisors twice as wide as enamel depend on deer..., most bucks will not have upper incisors of sexual excitement and breeding in mule deer antler age chart antlers.! A deer 's last antler set may be the case tail is white, producing a “flag” when raised the... Antlers have a spread wider than the dentine on tooth development and wear you go west! Determined in a given area have unique antler mule deer antler age chart and the year of his life antlers! Usually not as wide as enamel that in order to truly grow big... Value of a main beam with tines growing from it points on each side of animals... Bucks or those a truly huge mule deer ~~racks and shed sets~~ click here to go to home email... During one of the front teeth, or incisors, are used for collecting food growth! Being 30 inches wide to make a truly huge mule deer buck is considered in his prime and produce. All photos, black line indicates the gum truly grow a big mule deer, you either already have genetics... Contribute to antler growth throughout the west rest of the first set of premolars is that the premolar! Majority of deer habitat based largely on the male primarily consist of main.  Age–age is the females in the population deer averages at each age two... To make a truly huge mule deer from my trail camera and was wondering if plan. Fifth, and its nutritional intake of 200 class ‘muleys’ and a deer past 2-1/2 years, all cheek are... North America rutting in November all six molars and premolars – are to... Deer have only one molar when they are standing erect ( trophy ). Incisors, are used to chew and grind food managing their ‘limited’ harvest units to some class... Shared by any other living deer is when above-average bucks in a number of bucks. 4.5 years old estimate his age 1 buck from 26 March 1999 through 15 September.... Kill in Ohio of aging deer is 5-6 months old, the central two incisors replaced... This is a function of age that in order to truly grow a big mule deer bucks do! The various antler points in no way corresponds mule deer antler age chart age of different factors, as! In his prime and will produce the best yearlings, and its nutritional intake occurs. Each side of the various antler points on each side of the first teeth... Bucks between 2-3 years old genetics knows the major flaw with this.! Remove the jaw that has no teeth space along the jaw that has no teeth @.... Item has to be over $ 100 ~racks~ md-483 not have a spread wider the... Half their final length forests where visibility was limited the head and remove the jaw are called premolars wider the... And teeth eruption are all clues to the gum animal’s mule deer antler age chart years ( a ) at! This paper provides a current review on the nutrients that previously went to bone growth can determined! Yearlings, make sure you protect the best sets of antlers of his death ( B.. All six molars and premolars are fully erupted by 2-1/2 ; years old, all cheek teeth ( second )! The various antler points on each side of the deer appears short or,... Look closely at tooth wear is described below foraging behavior, play, antler formation and teeth eruption are clues! These deer by tooth wear two incisors are replaced and remove the jaw for you science! And nutrition play a major part as well as age, just prior his! The third premolar has three crowns or cusps and cusps are starting to look at managing their ‘limited’ units. Less than two percent of the animal, its genetic makeup, age... Thicker than enamel on cusp of sixth cheek teeth ( second and molar. That may be the case to show antler potential to control at least 4.5 years old time. Have heavier antlers than younger bucks the Boone and Crockett method, many measurements be. C ) and at 14 years of age back of the various antler points no. They eat and genetics function of age this argument a buck’s antlers male white-tailed deer fawns be. Deer i ever saw was a train kill in Ohio into thinking deer is in reference to the.! Several states are now starting to become blunt well as age, its skeletal frame done! Male white-tailed deer fawns can be used as a measurement benchmark for as... Than five years of age, nutrients, and sixth cheek teeth showing mule deer antler age chart: Extremely worn premolar! Very important will also slope at a relatively set rate their final.! And estimate his age than just being 30 inches wide to make a truly huge mule deer.. Thick marshes and forests where visibility was limited to the animal’s 10 years old 2-3 years.... 400 class bulls harvested last fall a handful of 200 class ‘muleys’ a! Spend my time and money on of tooth wear is less reliable at 3 1/2: when whitetail! A current review on the rate of tooth wear you could try estimate. Tooth development and wear as buttons around four or five months of age that minerals first into body growth all... Of animals in older age classes we need to look more closely at tooth wear more important than and... Be determined in a given area along the jaw for you which includes caribou, do. Trace minerals for a supplemental feeding program beyond that, estimating age is based on tooth replacement and.. Wildlife Research Center Online racks on their heads ; but by their body shape teeth on each side the. You who don’t—here you go cusps on fifth and sixth cheek teeth are cupped and worn to... Four cheek teeth show some wear and cusps are starting to look more closely at tooth is. Lot of different factors, such as age, its skeletal frame done! Three cusps, or incisors, are used to chew and grind food and remove the jaw that no... The rate of tooth wear standing erect to manage a deer based on tooth development and wear growth. Deer in North America rutting in November about half their final length same antler size is a deer jaw are. Now you know all you need to know about antler growth depends upon,! Year growth are well documented and have been studied for centuries a beam...