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How to Field-Judge Whitetails By Age



The National Deer Association is pleased to announce the premiere of a new educational video project, “Aging Deer in the Field,” produced in partnership with The Bearded Buck. The 31-minute video uses footage of dozens of live, wild whitetail bucks to teach the aging technique, followed by a test using 20 additional bucks.

“The team at The Bearded Buck gave us full access to their incredible collection of whitetail footage from years of their hunts, with bucks of all ages, and then offered to produce the final product,” said NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer and host of the video, Kip Adams. “The result is NDA’s most comprehensive and realistic look at how to age deer in the field.”

Estimating buck age in the field is an important skill for any hunter who wants to increase the number of adult bucks in the woods they hunt and help balance the buck:doe ratio for improved herd health. NDA teaches aging skills in numerous media, including Quality Whitetails magazine, educational posters, live seminars, and the book Observing & Evaluating Whitetails by Dave Richards. But the new “Aging Deer in the Field” video is unique because of the extensive live footage of wild bucks.

“Aging deer in the field is not an exact science,” said Adams. “It’s a personal skill that is improved through practice, experience and follow-through. Fortunately, just like humans, whitetails possess distinct body characteristics by age class, and with a little practice hunters can become proficient at estimating the ages of bucks in the field. This video serves to introduce the topic and highlight the differences for each age class from yearlings to mature animals. The 20-buck quiz then allows viewers to practice what they learned.”

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