One of the most important skills for any deer manager involved in a Quality Deer Management (QDM) program is the ability to age deer after harvest.
Without knowing the deer’s age it is unfair to compare deer by body weight and antler size. It is also important to know the age structure of your deer herd to know where your program is and where it is going to set realistic goals and expectations.
The most commonly used technique to age deer after harvest is the tooth replacement and wear technique. As the name implies, this technique involves two processes – tooth replacement, simply the replacement of teeth over time as with humans, and tooth wear, the erosion of teeth over time.
In part one of our jawbone aging series, QDMA CEO and wildlife biologist Brian Murphy examines tooth replacement to classify deer ages into three groups – fawns, yearling (1.5 year old deer) and adult deer (2.5 or older).
In part two of the series, Brian demonstrates how the tooth wear technique can be used to age deer into the older age classes.
The final installment in the three-part series allows viewers to apply what they’ve learned with a jawbone aging quiz.