Anyone good on aging deer on hoof?


Active Member
I am struggling. We send in teeth and let deerage age all our bucks and every neighbor buck I have a picture of and can get a set of front teeth

In past years I was alway seemed to be 1-2 years younger than what deerage came back with

This year with the mild winter, body weights were up and I guessed one year older than deerage. The three year olds didn't have race horse bodies, more blocky and filled out.

I'd love any advice or best yet pictures pointing out what to look for

I hate making mistakes between 3/4. 5+ and 1-2 year olds I am pretty good. Suck between 5-7 but don't really care because they are obvious shooters


Active Member
I think its damn tough to age on a buck while out in the field, its important to remember all we are doing aging on the hoof is taking a well educated guess, even with pictures it seems a lot of people will give you a range. There are a good amount of factors to take into consideration, such as food and weight as you mentioned, so as long you're within a year or two for aging on the hoof, thats pretty good and anything beyond luck plays a big role. I wouldn't beat myself up too bad over it, you're within a good range where you are, that isn't much more you can do without sending in tissue samples, no one is 100% correct on them consistently from what i've experienced.

This past fall had a wildlife biologist come out and take samples of a dead buck I found to make sure it wasn't CWD, he guessed it to be 5-7, I agreed, he called about a month later with the test results, buck was actually 3 1/2 years old. Not even the pros are solid at this...

Native Hunter

Well-Known Member
Seeing several different bucks on trail camera from year to year has taught me how hard it is to age deer. I have come to the conclusion that you can be fooled quickly on some old bucks - especially during post rut. I've seen some bucks that I know from camera history are 5 year olds, but during post rut they look like 2 year olds..

Deer are also like people in that they have different type frames. A buck that has a slight frame is the hardest to age at any time of the year. A deer that is built like a tank will just look like a smaller, skinnier tank during post rut. The deep chest and shoulder muscles will still give away his age, even though he may look small compared to his pre rut size.

Without trail camera history, it's a shot in the dark on some deer.

Triple C

Well-Known Member
I suck at aging 3.5 and older. Always guess at least a year older than what they actually are. Pretty easy to age up to 2.5. What I find interesting is the difference in the size of the skull of a 3.5 your old and a 5.5 yr old. Got both done in euro mounts side by side and the 3.5 looks like a baby compared to the 5.5 as far as skull size. I'll have to post a pic next time at the farm.


Well-Known Member
Here are some random thoughts regarding aging deer on the hoof. I consider myself very good at aging deer on my properties. This is because I know my deer, have watched the herd for years and know what to expect. I'm above average at best with deer herds I'm unfamiliar with. The best mantra for aging bucks is ' know thy herd'!

Aging deer past about 3 from tooth wear has little value. It will almost always be younger than the deer actually is. Sometimes a lot with older bucks. Using a lab to check teeth is marginally better but still not 100% accurate. we have sent dozens of known age bucks teeth in for aging and the % accuracy varies year to year but never 100%.

Unless I know a specific deer guessing age from about 6 on is next to impossible. You can tell they are very mature but being accurate to a specific year is next to impossible. Does it really matter though ? Interestingly enough some uber old bucks start to take on the look of a much younger deer. I've been fooled by this several times but the tell tale giveaway is the head. Old deer's heads look old regardless of body characteristics. Gotta look close.

There is a significant difference between the summer look, pre rut bucks and post rut bucks. Summer looks can be fooling with middle age bucks especially looking a bit younger than they are. Pre rut bucks are easiest to age as they are in their full glory. The classic body characteristics all work Post rut bucks can be really tricky. Forget looking at typical body features. I go by the head, face, loose skin around throat column , and such more than anything else. You can still be fairly accurate it just takes a much closer look.

For most just being within 3 categories is enough. That is 1-3,4-6 and older. Even that can be modified to your specific goals.

Throw in field judging racks and the exercise gets even more interesting. Again, critical to know your deer. With practice though you can get really good.


Active Member
Very helpful guys

Baker, these were the best pictures I could find knowing the age by tooth.

What do you think the age is?


  • IMG_6702.JPG
    110.6 KB · Views: 0


Active Member
I know. The best I have. Shows up ok on my phone. Sorry

We've got 3 year olds between 70"-132" the last 3 years. All weighed 170-185lb dressed

The 70" (I am guessing never measured it) was a 6ptr that weighed 178lb dressed. I think we made a great decision shooting that one.

I'd really like someone to point out what to look for between 3/4. The cull bucks are our biggest misses. Big bodies, less than 110" we've been shooting.

A 110" 3year old may be worth saving?

Cull bucks are fun because we have more targets but man shooting 3 year old culls may be a mistake


Well-Known Member
I'm with swat. I can tell they are deer. Age??? Need a lot more. Besides I hate trying to age deer from an unknown herd. Candidly the jump from 3 to 4 is one of the easiest to differentiate . Bucks start changing from youngsters to bulls then as a 4 yr old begins blocking up. You just need to see a bunch of them and you can begin to tell. 4 yr olds get a thicker neck, more hock staining, heavier body, blockier head, shorter nose and the rack generally starts show some mass and scale.

I'd forget the word cull. IMO if you are trying to grow better bucks forget shooting any 3 yr old . Forget culling period! Get as many bucks into the older age classes and you will be very happy with the results.
Instead of having the word cull enter your mind, think nutrition!!! Nutrition makes all the age classes better. Impossible to do too much.

If interested I made a video that shows a number of bucks as they age. Most start at 4 though there are a couple of younger ones. I follow them into maturity with one [ a 205 double drop ] reaching 10 yrs old. Pm an address and I'm happy send.{ I'm leaving Friday for a month in New Zealand if I don't respond immediately }