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There's really no need for anyone to know the deer's age except maybe by state biologists that use the info for studying the states harvest's or to create statistics within that state. That's the only reason I can see why age would be important.
 

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I agree w/ Bruce that is the only thing I could come up with other then maybe some hunters just like to know?
 

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I posted on your other Link
No need to post twice your questions will be answered
Just give people some time
 

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It is actually very important to know a deer's age. If you are a landowner who is trying to boost your genetics for big bucks, you can look at the deer you kill and see what age they are. You might find that you have small built 3-4 yr old bucks with small or deformed racks. This means that you have bad genetics being passed on. This would lead you to take out a few of the smaller bucks so the bigger, more dominant ones will pass on the better genetics.

Also, if you get a general concensus on the age to size (body and rack) of a deer, you can be more informed about the deer you do shoot. If you have 2 yr old deer normally being 8-10 points, you might want to start holding off on shooting those and give them that extra year to grow into something only a few of us have gotten a chance at. If you are seeing that your deer are underweight for their age or have small rack growth it could lead you to plant different food for them.

Finally, if you know what 1 1/2 to 2 yr old deer in your area look like, you can also judge the strength of your deer herd before season (scouting while they are in velvet)

Shooting the first/small bucks that you see often is what makes public land so bad to hunt. Just because something is a nice 8-10, it doesn't mean that you should shoot it to get another deer under your belt. If that is a 1 1/2 old deer....you just shot what would've been a monster in two more years.

If you are shooting just to get some meat, take out a few does....that always helps the herd and makes hunting around the rut more fun because the bucks have to work harder for the fewer does...this also means that the better genetics will be passed on too.
 

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What is the definition of harvesting a deer?
Harvesting a deer means to remove some from the herd.
Deer breed at a high rate almost as bad as rabbits, so harvesting becomes essential at some point to keep the herd balanced and healthy.

Harvesting deer is society's more acceptable description, nobody enjoys hearing it described as"Killing deer off"...

I hope I've explained it in a more understandable way.

It's like foresters harvesting tree's, the forest becomes overgrown and at some point it needs thinning out but the foresters make sure to leave some young healthy trees to maintain the natural environment and make room for new growth.
 

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There is only one way of aging a deer and that's by measuring their Teeth, it is not possible for a hunter to tell a deers age by any other means., which bringe me to the Rules at some of the hunting clubs and some outfitters guidelines.

I've read quite a few times about some poor hunter being fined big bucks for shooting a deer that he thought was 4-1/2 years old or older only to find out it was younger than 4-1/2 and that's against the club rules.
I do not agree with such fines and it's sickening to hear that some outfitters charge higher rates to kill older bigger bucks when even the outfitter doesn't know the deers ages until they are dead. UNLESS it's the caged in deer that the outfitters keep in seperate enclosed fenced in sections on their lands which then it isn't any longer a hunt it's just a shopping zone for TV hunting.
 

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Good post there bb, most hunters wouldn't know what they're looking at anyway regarding the tooth/jaw ageing. There are picture charts to guide hunters in ageing their deer if they want to. I might be concerned if I was managing a herd for profit, but most hunters are wanting to shoot a buck or fill a doe tag. Judging a deer in the field and making a decision on whether it meets your personal goal is much more important than trying to age the standing deer. I wouldn't pay to hunt when a extra cost is involved in a mistake.
 

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In addition to the posts above, besides the state biologist some QDM clubs will keep very accurate records of all deer harvested. The age of the deer harvested is just one statistic that a professional manager will look at to set the goals of the club for a season. Age, body weight, antler size, hunter sighting logs, camera census all come into play to determine what is the best harvest plan for the health of the herd.

True QDM (Quality Deer Management) is more than growing big bucks it is managing the herd in a way that provides for a healthy deer herd that will have a good balance of the number of bucks to does. The age structure is also important, in a well managed herd there will be a good mix of older age class deer, bucks and does. While this will produce bigger bucks that is not primary goal, which is to have a healthy and well balanced herd.

This is where I would agree to disagree with Hunting Man, to achieve the balance that a QDM club is looking for there has to be rules as to what deer can be harvested. One very common rule is to not shoot any 1-1/2 year old bucks and sometimes not even 2-1/2 year old bucks. While it would be nice to think every time a mistake was made it was just that (a mistake) it is not always the case. It is hard to let an eight point walk and some hunters won't follow the rules. For this reason there has to be a penalty. Mistake or not if you have agreed in advance to the goals of the club and you should have to pony up the dough for the mistake.
 

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This is where I would agree to disagree with Hunting Man, to achieve the balance that a QDM club is looking for there has to be rules as to what deer can be harvested. One very common rule is to not shoot any 1-1/2 year old bucks and sometimes not even 2-1/2 year old bucks. While it would be nice to think every time a mistake was made it was just that (a mistake) it is not always the case. It is hard to let an eight point walk and some hunters won't follow the rules. For this reason there has to be a penalty. Mistake or not if you have agreed in advance to the goals of the club and you should have to pony up the dough for the mistake.
Buckshot this is the very point I'm making, HOW does the hunter know what he's shooting??? the only way to tell a deer's age is by the teeth!!!
How can you justify punishing me for shooting what I thought might have been a 3-1/2 yo buck and it turned out to be a 1-1/2 ???

To punish a hunter for a rule that cannot be determined until the Deer is dead is totally wrong.
 

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Buckshot, my point was (I )wouldn't pay a penality for a mistake in shooting a 3-1/2 vs a 4-1/2 year old buck, because most can't tell the difference when he's standing there. Private game managers are pretty good at judging ages because they do it for a profit/living, most hunters wouldn't know. I belong to a club with rules, however, there are no fines for shooting the wrong age buck. It's not QDM just a club. If your paying big $ and a guide is sitting next to you and says don't shoot he's not old enough and you shoot, pay your fine. Look at all the posts here on guessing the buck ages and the differences by seasoned hunters. I don't see how it can be done by anyone without a whole bunch of daily professional interaction and actual tooth/jaw experience. If you can tell the difference I give you credit for your knowledge and experience. I simply couldn't look at a big buck and know with-in one year if he's a legal shooter to avoid a fine. Its very difficult for me to see age differences between a 3-1/2 and 5 year old buck. Maybe we're saying the same thing a bit differently.:wink:
 

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It is not wrong if you agree to the goals the club is trying to achieve and when you joined the club you agreed to abide by the rules.

As far aging deer I agree with you that you can not make a determination of age with the deer standing in front of you. There are several ways to manage the harvest to protect the younger bucks though, some better than others. They all have their +/-. My least favorite is antler point restriction; 4 point or better on one side, eight point total ect. My favorite way is a minimum gross green score.

For example if the Gross score minimum is 100" that will ensure that all of the 1-1/2 year olds are protected and in my area of east Tennessee it will also protect most of the 2-1/2 year old bucks. You can learn to field judge a buck fairly accurately after you have been at it awhile. Where I hunt I look for a few things before I decide to shoot. 15" spread(generally outside the ears) on a standard 8pt frame the G2 as long or longer than the G3, decent mass, above average brow tines.

The reason there is such a difference in everyone's guesses on age is that antler size and body weights vary rather dramatically from one area of the country to another. In Tennessee if the goal was to protect every buck under 2-1/2 you might use 100" in east TN, and have to use 120" in west TN. If it were in ETD's backyard it might be 140"!!

Please don't misunderstand what I am saying. I personally don't care what a hunter harvests as long as it is legal. Anyone who matches wits with a Whitetail and wins should take satisfaction in the accomplishment. I also am not a "trophy hunter" per say even though I have, as most of you do, a personal standard I try to adhere to.

QDM is not for everyone and it can not be practiced on a state level. But if you have an oppertunity to particpate in a QDM program I believe it will enrich your hunting experience. It's not about killing big bucks, it's all about creating and maintaning a healthy deer herd.
 

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I totally agree with you buckshot but the problem is unless the Deer is dead it's all a guessing game whether it's antler scoring or weight estimates or age , they're only guesses and most often the guesses are way off.

Yes, when a hunter enters a club and agrees to the rules he must abide by them but the club that imposes the rules are only setting those sort of rules out of greed because and I'll say it again even the rule setters dont know the age, score or weight of the deer until it's dead,, therefore their only motive is money but if the hunters keep joining those clubs with those ridicuous rules then they only get what they bargained for.
 

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Doe reduction and antler point restriction has made a big difference in PA where I hunt. This was a state effort that has paid off for those seeking larger racks and heathlier herd. PA had too many deer for food availability and bucks only needed 3" of antler to be legal. Both of these conditions led to severe antler development reduction and reduced weight. Now things have improved to the point that true trophys are possible. Buckshot, I wonder how many hunters even try to field judge legal bucks prior to shooting. Personally I'm a tag filler with a legal mature buck as my goal. I try to find the best buck in our core hunting area and go after him.
 

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Bruce that's just not the case. You can accurately estimate the antler size, maybe not the exact age but within a year, but I think you are missing the bigger point that I am trying to make. Which is there are things that can be done to develop a deer herd and protecting the younger bucks is a big part of it, just like increasing the doe harvest is part of it.

Most of the clubs I know are not for profit so greed is not part of the equation and it's not fair to a lot of people who are doing a lot of good for the sport to say it is greed.
 

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Doe reduction and antler point restriction has made a big difference in PA where I hunt. This was a state effort that has paid off for those seeking larger racks and heathlier herd. PA had too many deer for food availability and bucks only needed 3" of antler to be legal. Both of these conditions led to severe antler development reduction and reduced weight. Now things have improved to the point that true trophys are possible. Buckshot, I wonder how many hunters even try to field judge legal bucks prior to shooting. Personally I'm a tag filler with a legal mature buck as my goal. I try to find the best buck in our core hunting area and go after him.
I remember reading about Pa a couple of years ago and if I remember right the real battle was to change the hunter's bias against shooting does and small bucks. Like everywhere else it used to be taboo to shoot a doe and because the legislature set's the rules the rules almost didn't get changed.

That's the way I remember it anyway, I'm glad to hear things are going in the right direction.
 

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Bruce I will ad that I agree with you about the for profit groups, I put them in the same class as the high fence opperations, which is about as low as you can go in my opinion.

It is probably different up there than it is in TN because I do not know of any for $ clubs. Probably because in the grand scheme of thing we don't produce the antler size some of the other states do. You won't see many ads for outfitters from TN.:)
 

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I am not fond of any hunting clubs that are for profit. I was merely talking about my own personal land that we try to manage. By paying attention to our herd we have taken steps to make herd stronger.

By allowing you bigger, stronger bucks to breed more does, you will most likely have bigger bucks in a few years. However, you have to realize that bigger, stronger bucks don't always make bucks when they breed....they often produce does. And a doe with big, strong genetics is more likely to pass those on to its fawns. This is only increasingly better for the strength and health of your herd.

I personally believe that Tennesse has a lot of potential for making big bucks. I just don't believe there are many people who try and grow them here. I have seen many bucks that were or were at least close to B & C and more than several that would classify as P & Y come from my property or at least the area. All it takes is the right food, the right amount, and hunters who don't shoot at everything they see. I understand hunting to fill a freezer, but if you do that.....just shoot a few does.

I am not a trophy hunter but anyone who frequents decent woods knows that small 1-2 yr old bucks are a dime a dozen. The true thrill ( at least for me) is growing and trying to out smart the wise 3-4 yr old monster. I don't hunt for the size of the rack but often, when you are trying to hunt the smartest and most skilled deer, it often turns out you are hunting a monster.
 
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