How old is my buck?

Slimpickens

New Member
I shot my first buck yesterday(have harvested 4 does in the past few years previous to this). I’m curious about his age. And if this was a good harvest? I hunt on a small 40 acre farm and have a couple of cams setup. I’ve never seen this buck in person or on cam until yesterday. Shot him from about 120 yards away. His rack is rather small and narrow and his body mass doesn’t seem super thick compared to my google search for deer with racks his size. I’m thinking maybe young deer with “big” rack.
 

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Congrats on your first buck. Field judging deer can be challenging. Yours is clearly 1.5 years-old. Don't focus on the number of point, first focus on rack width. When the rack is wider than the ears, at least in my area, the deer is likely 2.5 years old. Again, in my area, the difference between a 2.5 and 3.5 yo deer is mostly mass (thickness of the antlers). It can be challenging to field judge between 2.5 and 3.5 especially when you need to make a decision quickly. Judging between a 1.5 and 3.5 is pretty easy for most folks to determine, even under field conditions.

Here, we target 3.5 yo and older for our experienced hunters. We let novice hunters shoot any deer. 3.5 yo+ comprises the top 10% of the deer in our area.

Keep in mind that each area is different, so you need to learn the characteristics of deer in your area if you want to field judge and be selective.
 
Thank you everyone for the knowledge. I appreciate it. Ready to get back out this weekend and try again! And excited for future years to come!
 
Thank you everyone for the knowledge. I appreciate it. Ready to get back out this weekend and try again! And excited for future years to come!
You got it be safe , stay up wind, shoot straight, cut clean, and have a nice Christmas 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄 i
 
I concur with the rest, 1.5 year old buck. Whether it’s too young depends entirely on your goals and choices. A 40 acre property is gonna be hard to manage for mature bucks. I have 80 acres at home but have land next to me that nobody hunts that makes mine hunt a litte bigger. I only manage to take a 3.5 year old buck about every other year and I am now two years without one on my place. So, it’s up to you.
 
I would say a 1.5 yr old, but hey man, you got your first buck! Nothing wrong with that at all! Starting out, don't get sucked into the antler vortex that runs rampant now a days. Certainly nothing wrong with holding out for a "trophy", but as a newer hunter just have fun!
 
If he is 1.5 he has genetics not like deer down here in South Alabama. Usually at 1.5 a buck is going to have a spike frame, maybe a brow tine or sticker. For that buck to have a 8 point basket rack at 1.5 you are working with some great genetics. I understand the whole "don't let the rack fool you", but you also take into account the rack as more information to help you age the deer. Some people try to be the "smartest person in the room", but forget to look at the rack as more information and not the end all be all. But to age your deer you would need to be familiar with the genetics from wherever the deer was killed. If that deer was killed down here he would no doubt be 2.5, deer just don't push that much bone their first rack down here. And his body doesn't really change alot from 1.5 to 2.5, at least not down here. Our target age is 4.5, me and the land owners around me try to just shoot the mature bucks so 4.5 is the ideal age range. But according on what your neighbors are doing is going to have a big impact on what you CAN do. The best thing is to try and make contact with them, ask them are you shooting young bucks, then they are going to say what do you think is "young", lol happens every time! But then you will have an idea of what you can and can't let walk. But congratulations on your first buck, you are hooked by now I would guess!?
 
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