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Does anyone know of any good tools for a beginning hunter to get pointed down the path to becoming competent at ageing and scoring on the hoof? I am on a lease that requires trophy bucks to be 6 1/2 or older with a minimum of 150" of horns.

There are a variety of other rules for management/cull bucks that include maximum measurements, and then age and 8 point or less combinations that make a deer a harvest deer.

Obviously, time in the field and video are the two best steps, but does anyone have any general tools that they find valuable at least from a starting point?
 

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I think the 8 point rack is a good way to start practicing.. since you are on a lease with good management practices you probally see a lot of what I call average 8's.. 16'' spread, 10'' g2's, 8'' g3's, average brows, 20'' beams, and average mass of about 25''.. This gives you a mid 120's score.. learn to start using this as a guide and add or subtract what you see.. ie, make him a 10 with 4'' g4's and your a low to mid 130''.. that same buck with 6'' brows and heavier horns get close to 140''.. keep this in mind spread only counts for about 10% of the total score so while a buck has a 19'' spread he is only gonna add 3'' to the total whereas a buck with 12'' 2's 10'' 3's 6'' 4's and long brow tines just added 10'' to your score.. and speaking of brows always take a good look at them because they can kill your score in a hurry.. so just use the basic 8 to start practicing with and you will be calling 140's at the drop of a hat with a little practice... On the age thing, it is hard to mistake a big mature 6yo buck pre-rut and rut, they are just big ol boys.. post rut it can get diffucult because they can loose 50-70lbs so it will take a little more practice.. look at all the info provided above and give this a try..G-Luck..Walker
 

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There are several on the market that can purchased, I don't want to advertise for anyone in particular. They all say about the same thing.

I find it very difficult to tell the difference between 5 and 6 year old animals...even after years of trying. And deer that are even older than that can fool you as well.
 

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I think it is good to watch a detailed video, I think it is better to have someone hunt with you and explain what you ae seeing on particular ranches, this guy paid some good money I am guessing. If protecting the gene pool and age of deer are a question, you spend the time with novice or beginning hunters, I always have and have had more problems with hunters that have hunted fo 20 years and think they know it all. jodybo asked a very reasonable question, he needs to ask the man that accepted his money to sit in the stand with him and help him out, it is very hard for a person that does not raise or manage deer to be put in a 6 1/2 year or 150 pt box--you cats ever watched some of these clowns on the Outdoor Channel? rs
 

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A few years ago my biologist recommended a book to me that has been an invaluable help in aging deer on the hoof.

It's called: Observing and Evaluating Whitetails by Dave Richards & Al Brothers

The book discusses antler development, behavior, aging techniques on the hoof and after harvest, estimating B&C score on the hoof, ect.

Great book!
 

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Al Brothers book is a good one, also try the video Aging and Judging Trophy Whitetails by Kroll and Koerth, you can order it online and it has a video test at the end to see what you have learned. Once you have the basics explained then move to the field with another person with you.
You can get good at it quick if you take it seriously.
 
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