Do you know how to age a deer after you harvest it? Watch these videos and you will become an expert!
The ability to age deer on your hunting property is essential for deer management. It enables you to compare body weight and antler size to other harvested deer within the same age class.
It can also serve as a cross reference for hoof age estimates prior to harvest.
In these two videos, QDMA CEO and wildlife biologist Brian Murphy demonstrates how to age whitetail deer using the tooth replacement and tooth wear techniques.
Then see what you learned and test your skills by taking the quiz.
The tooth replacement technique only indicates whether the deer is a fawn, a 1.5-year-old, or a 2.5-year-old. Once you establish the deer is in the 2.5 years or older category, you can use the tooth wear technique.
Keep in mind deer are born in the spring and harvested in the fall. This is the reason why a deer’s age is given in half-year increments.
The tooth wear technique is a little more complex than the tooth replacement technique. It involves distinguishing the width of dentin in relation to the enamel, starting with the fourth tooth, or first molar.
Most biologists only age deer up to 6.5 years using the tooth replacement and wear techniques.
Unfortunately, a deer’s diet can cause these methods to be less accurate. For example, supplemental feeding with protein pellets can cause their teeth to wear a little slower than deer relying strictly on native browse.
This is something to keep in mind if you provide supplemental feed. The only way to ever be 100 percent of a deer’s age is to know exactly when the particular deer was born.
Now test your skills by taking the quiz!