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Tracking deer thru the years

arm

Leg
How many of you think you're actually picking up the same deer (assuming bucks here, ha) year after year? My early hunting years was jumping around from location to location based on wherever I could get access for that year. Now that I have my own farm and being here consecutive years, there are so many deer with identical rack characteristics that picking up the same deer would be impossible especially after a certain age where the body gets tough to judge. People just guessing its the same deer to make it sound good :p Not to discredit anyones history with a certain deer
 

Ishi

PMA Member
If the buck has unique antlers or body characteristics yes you can. Some will be hard to identify but once he matures you will know if you get pics of him the next year.
 

LYON

PMA Member
I've had lots of young bucks come and get their picture taken throughout the years. Many of those get lost in the shuffle from one year to the next. Almost anytime I get pics of a new buck that is 3.5+, I'll run back through the previous year's pictures to see if I can find him. Sometimes I can because he has certain characteristics, sometimes I can't. I'm sure I've mistaken some over the years but for the most part it's seems pretty cut and dry I'd say. I agree with Ishi though that once they hit 4.5+, it get's pretty easy to find distinguishing characteristics.
 

BJohnson

Well-Known Member
Definitely doable to keep track of the same bucks but sheds are a big part of confirming them once (or if) you kill them. Without a shed, it much more of a guessing game on typical racks vs non-typical racks. The buck I killed last Nov - I hadn't kept track of but once I went through prior year sheds it was uncanny how this buck's rack didn't change - just beefed up and got bigger.

Niner%20-%20L%20shed_zpsnak8sfsc.jpg

Niner%20-%20R%20shed_zpst3p2vrsc.jpg


These are comparables of the 2015 kill (5 yr old) and the sheds from the winter of 2013/fall of 2012 (2 yr old).
 

Daver

PMA Member
You need to clean up your garage Bret! :) :)

I agree with what has been written so far...previous years sheds and pictures can help narrow it down to being 99% sure on most bucks. Also, any oddities in terms of nicks in ears, etc, or throat patches can help make the determination. But mainly, their antlers will change from year to year, but will carry 2 or 3 unique "base" characteristics that follow them every year.
 

soil

Active Member
My area seems pretty easy to follow bucks from year to year. The main thing that makes it easy is age structure. I have one 6 1/2 yr old, one 5 1/2 yr old, and three 4 1/2 yr olds that I know of this year. They are different enough to tell them apart. I can see where It would get tough if you have a large number of bucks in the same age range who survive year to year. But that seems like it would be a good problem to have!
 

skyleralan

PMA Member
How many of you think you're actually picking up the same deer (assuming bucks here, ha) year after year? My early hunting years was jumping around from location to location based on wherever I could get access for that year. Now that I have my own farm and being here consecutive years, there are so many deer with identical rack characteristics that picking up the same deer would be impossible especially after a certain age where the body gets tough to judge. People just guessing its the same deer to make it sound good :p Not to discredit anyones history with a certain deer

To me, it seems like bucks at age 3 start to take on unique characteristics with their antlers. For this reason I never keep any trail cam photos of a young deer unless it already has a special rack or other markings. But once they hit that 3-4yr range I feel pretty confident I can identify a buck from year to year. Prior to that like I said, most do look alike.
 

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