Identifying bucks


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anyone have any good tricks to id bucks from one year to the next?

Obviously physical markings are easy. I always seem to look at the brows, G2's, interesting points and antler tips for clues

Wondering if anyone has some different practices
No, I look at about the same things. I had a 6 year old to come back for a visit last winter that had been gone since he was 3 years old. He was extremely easy to ID. He was still a very tall and narrow racked deer with the same little kicker at the same place.

He actually hadn't put on a great deal in 3 years. Now he is gone again. Hoping to get another visit from him this fall as a 7 year old. Not a high scoring deer, but I would consider any 7 year old a treasure.

Date is correct on this pic:

This was last winter. I zoomed in a little to get a closer look and cut off the date:

You are holding out too much, let's see this stud. I haven't set my Cam's out yet. I know I have at least 6 4 plus out there from last year's sheds pics.
I have a lot of trouble identifying bucks from one year to the next. Most of our deer never get bigger than an 8 pt - no matter how old. A lot of deer actually start loosing some antler after 4.5 years. The deer we want to kill are the freaks - the ones above and beyond the average. A lot of our 4.5 yr old deer wont score 125. All that said - we have a number of deer that are 8 pt, 15 to 16" spread that score 115 to 125 - and that makes it difficult to distinguish one deer from another - let alone if one returns from the previous year.
It's not easy. Sure, there are racks that have characteristics that don't change much from year to year, but sometimes antler traits change significantly.
Here's 2 sheds from the same Iowa buck that we nicknamed "Turkey foot" because of how the G3 grew from the beam at the base of the G2. We figured we would easily be able to identify that buck if we saw him during our upcoming fall hunt because of that G3. When we returned that next fall I did see and film him, but I had no idea it was the same buck because that G3 moved farther out the beam. We ended up finding the next year's shed so we could really compare them. There's no doubt that these sheds are from the same buck (2015 and 2016). So a rack characteristic is not always proof in identifying a buck.
fullsizeoutput_36ec.jpeg fullsizeoutput_36ee.jpeg

Here he is on the hoof.
Iowa big 9. 1.jpg

Looking at body characteristics, although harder to do, is a piece of the ID puzzle. We humans do the same thing every day when we recognize other people or even dogs. I know someone who breeds golden retrievers. When you pull into the driveway, there are at least a dozen running up to greet you. All golden retrievers look alike, right? Wrong. Each one looks different and no 2 deer are exactly alike, either. Each has different facial features or colorizations. Single, double or triple throat patches. Big ears, little ears. Short tail, long tails. Every deer has some unique characterization.

I'm not going as far to say I can identify each deer of my local herd, but there are some that I can easily ID by body characteristics.
One old doe that I call "The Boss" has a mane, but lots of the deer here sport a mane. Manes are common here. But The Boss' mane is a different length than other deer's manes. She also has a very unique walk. Her head is always held lower and she's always calm and laid back. She reminds me more of livestock than wildlife when I see her moving around. I've watched her for at least 6 years. I wonder how old she is.

Here's "The Boss"...

Here's a different doe. It would be easy to misidentify her as The Boss because of the mane, but this mane is different than The Boss' mane.

We have another old doe that I call "Bug-eye". Her eyes are farther set apart and bulge-out a little bit. Her face is quite distinct (at least to me anyway. My wife can't see the difference). But Bug-eye has another body trait. Her tail is shorter than any other deer here. She can be facing straight away and when I see that tail, I know it's her...when she turns and I see her face, her identity is confirmed.

There seems to often be differences in the color markings where the leg hair meets the hoof. Patterns of white hair just above the hoof are sometimes very noticeable on some deer.

My point is that every deer is different. Learning to notice subtle differences in does will help to see how bucks also are unique without having to see their antlers.

Too many of us just see "a deer" when we look at one. We don't stop to look at tiny details, but they are there. We just have to stop staring at the body or the rack and start looking at the little things.
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Cool post Tap

Although I don't have many bucks on the farm yet the 4+ year olds I can't figure out which ones they are. I had the best carryover after gun season of 3+ year olds I ever had and have yet to id one from last year

It's a fun game. Can't wait for my next chip pull
Cool post Tap

Although I don't have many bucks on the farm yet the 4+ year olds I can't figure out which ones they are. I had the best carryover after gun season of 3+ year olds I ever had and have yet to id one from last year

It's a fun game. Can't wait for my next chip pull

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
Most of the primary points have been hit such as specific body characteristics..split ears, spots, wounds, leg coloration etc. Some bucks are easier to follow than others. However the main thing I look at is the overall frame shape.# of points change such as an 8 to 10 then maybe back to 9 then 12 or whatever , nontypical points come and go and shift sides, drop tines may pop out one yr never to be seen again or shift sides but the overall frame shape tends to stay recognizable. Width may shift a bit with age but narrow racks don't become wide racks [ rarely ] and racks that get wide are usually recognizable from early on. Also once a buck with certain characteristics is located because he generally is going to live in the same place that helps keep up with him. { Tougher I know for small land holdings } A middle age or older buck rarely just shows up. Odds are he's been around for years. Trail cameras make it easier to put puzzle together.

Tap also makes an excellent point. take time to actually look a deer over closely. They all have unique characteristics. By really looking closely at them much is learned. It doesn't take a long look

I'm off traveling for a week but will try to put together a photo montage when I return following a few bucks to show. Also I made a video couple of years ago that follows a number of bucks for several years, one starting at 1 yr old up to 5 or 6 [ I forget ]. Last year at 7 he was well over 200" yet overall rack looked much like his one yr rack. I knew he would be a superstar then . Nice eye candy on the video. Happy to send to anyone interested just pm me an address .
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If I can get this to work here is a buck from last yr then a pic just recently. Its on my neighbors farm and I've never seen the deer . He thinks its the deer at 4 to 5. I tend to think 3-4. You can see the frame staying the same though he makes a nice jump.IMG_0101.JPG
Here he is this yr , one year later. The short nontypical point on his base has changed sides but the overall frame the same. He did add a bunch of points. I think a jump like this is more typical from 3-4 though a big jump could happen any year once in maturity. I've seen nice jumps from 9-10. IMG_4382.PNG