Deer Management
In order to better manage the deer on our property, rules and guidelines have been set suggesting what you should shoot and what you should not shoot. The bucks on our property will fall into one of the three categories: Cull Bucks, Potential Bucks, and Shooter / Trophy Bucks.  


The determination of cull bucks will be made by the lease managers. Each club member and guest is encouraged to carry a digital camera with them at all times. If you see a buck that you believe to be a cull buck, you should take a picture so it can be reviewed at camp to see whether or not it is actually a cull buck.  


Cull Bucks
These are the bucks that obviously need to be taken out of the herd. Most of these bucks are at least 2.5 years old and have some sort of deformity in their racks. Pictures of some of the current cull bucks on the property can be found in the photo album. 


Potential Bucks
These bucks are mostly younger in age and either have decent racks, or racks that are not deformed. The majority of these bucks are 1.5 to 3.5, and sometimes 4.5 years old. Even a spike that is only 1.5 years old is considered a Potential Buck. A 2.5, 3.5 or even a 4.5 year old buck that has a fairly decent rack still has room to grow larger in the following year(s). These are the bucks that we DO NOT shoot. It's very important that everyone can identify these bucks in the field. By leaving these bucks alone, we have a greater chance of producing more shooter/trophy bucks in the following years. Pictures of some of the potential bucks on our property can be found in the photo album. 


Mature / Trophy Bucks
These bucks should be VERY easily determined when you see them. If you have to wonder if it's a mature buck, then you should not shoot! Pictures of some of the shooter / trophy bucks on our property can be seen in the photo album.   


Estimating Age

The information below is to help you estimate the age of a buck while out in the field.


 


General Aging


No single factor can be used to conclusively judge the age of a deer in the field. The picture to the left illustrates the main indicators that should be evaluated overall to get a good estimate for a buck. The individual indicators will often vary a little from region to region.

Fawn



On the head, the nubs are the most obvious clue. The ears will appear long, and the nose will appear short. The body will be smaller than the adult doe's, but is bigger than a doe fawn. The legs look long and skinny, and the gait is usually frisky, often frolicking. The tarsal glands will be small and snow white.

1.5 Years



At this age, a buck looks like a doe with antlers. There will usually be a slight dip in the back. They have a thin neck, no defined brisket, white tarsal glands, and the belly line has a distinct up turn near the hams. This gives it a greyhound racing dog sort of look. The legs still look very long, and the gait is still pretty frisky.

2.5 Years



At two and a half, the animal starts bulking up a tad. The neck will be bigger than a doe or yearling buck, but not by very much. The legs still look fairly long. The face looks long and the skin will be tight. Eyes are near perfectly round. Slightly developed brisket. The belly has somewhat of an up turn near the hams. The tarsal glands may have some color to it. The rump appears squared off.

3.5 Years



Three and a half year old bucks are usually very lean, muscular, and act ready for action. They may make rubs and scrapes if no bigger bucks are present. The nose lengthens and broadens. The head will look as long as it's going to look for the remainder of their life. Eyes are still very round. The brisket is noticeable, but not pronounced. Legs look proportionate to the body now. The belly line is flat, with just a little up turn at the rear. The tarsal gland will be dark in rut. Rump starts looking more rounded at times and squared off at times, depending on stance. Back line is flat.

4.5 Years



If fed well, a four and a half year old buck really starts looking like a buck. The giveaways now are the back and belly lines, as well as the head. On level ground, the back will have a slight dip only, and the belly will not hand below the chest line. The head skin will not look tight or loose, and the eyes aren't quite round anymore. When one of these bucks walk, they still pick their feet up pretty good, and the front knees won't look bent in when the deer is walking toward you. Rump is getting pretty round, and tarsal glands will be black when near or in rut. Non-typical points may start to show up now.

5.5 Years



Now, the eye will obviously not be round anymore, it starts looking squinty. The brisket is obvious where it joins the neck. The belly hangs even with the chest or starts to hang below a bit. They start walking a bit knock-kneed. They seem more deliberate in their actions. Skin on the head starts looking a bit loose. Often have non-typical points.

6.5 Years



When a six year old walks out, it's usually pretty obvious who's the boss is. All other deer pay attention. He is on top of his game and knows it. Actions are very deliberate, like a big bull swaggering in. The front knees bend in to handle the weight of the neck and rack. The belly and back sags from years of fighting gravity. When relaxed, the ears tend to drop down a bit for the same reason. The rump is well rounded. The brisket is obvious. Eyes are squinted; almost mean looking. With good nutrition, all non-typical points in his genes will pop out now.