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Aging Bucks on the Hoof by Grant Woods

Aging bucks on the hoof – an example during December. I still get very excited when I see any deer coming through the woods. That excitement level ratchets up when I see an antlered buck approaching!

It’s become very popular among hunters to pass younger bucks and wait for a mature buck. That can be tough to do when you only have seconds to see and decide to shoot or pass. Let’s say you are hunting where the landowner requests bucks are at least 3 years old before they are harvested. You see the buck in this video coming and know you will have seconds to decide whether to use your tag or pass. What would you do?

I estimate this buck is 2.5 years old because:

  1. His back and belly are very straight.
  2. His shoulders and hams are not very muscular or developed.
  3. His chest doesn’t sag below where his shoulders meet his legs.
  4. His neck merges with his chest well above his brisket, especially for during  November in the Midwest.
  5. If I cover his antlers and simply view his body, he looks like a large doe.

The last tip is often a tell tale sign of an immature buck. This is a dandy buck, but he has lots of potential to grow a larger body and antlers. How’d you do? Did you give him a pass?

Growing and Hunting Deer together,

Grant

Aging bucks on the hoof – an example during December

I still get very excited when I see any deer coming through the woods. That excitement level ratchets up when I see an antlered buck approaching! It’s become very popular among hunters to pass younger bucks and wait for a mature buck. That can be tough to do when you only have seconds to see and decide to shoot or pass.

Let’s say you are hunting where the landowner requests bucks are at least 3 years old before they are harvested. You see the buck in this video coming and know you will have seconds to decide whether to use your tag or pass. What would you do?

I estimate this buck is 2.5 years old because:

  1. His back and belly are very straight.
  2. His shoulders and hams are not very muscular or developed.
  3. His chest doesn’t sag below where his shoulders meet his legs.
  4. His neck merges with his chest well above his brisket, especially for during  November in the Midwest.
  5. If I cover his antlers and simply view his body, he looks like a large doe.

The last tip is often a tell tale sign of an immature buck. This is a dandy buck, but he has lots of potential to grow a larger body and antlers. How’d you do? Did you give him a pass?

Growing and Hunting Deer together,

Grant

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Dr. Grant Woods
Dr. Grant Woods
Raised in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Dr. Grant Woods has consulted on wildlife research and management from Canada to New Zealand. A hunter since childhood, he not only knows how to grow big deer, but how to effectively hunt them as well. His work serves to improve deer herd quality and educate hunters about advanced management techniques.