Balancing a deer population with the habitat and available food requires harvesting the appropriate number of does. In some areas this may be a lot, a few in others, and even none in isolated cases. Being able to separate them by age in the field allows you to selectively harvest antlerless deer based on whether your goal is to harvest more mature does and reduce the deer herd, or harvest younger does and allow the deer herd to grow.
In this video, Kip Adams shares tips to help you separate adult does from younger does in the field, and even identify whether fawns (deer under 1 year of age) are does or bucks. The 18-deer quiz then allows you to practice what you learned by giving you a few seconds to identify wild deer in live footage from the field.
In each of nine scenarios, with 18 deer in all, Kip then provides his analysis of the deer in the scenario. This is especially pertinent when you have a group of deer in front of you during hunting season. Estimating the sex and age of live antlerless deer is a great skill for hunters and critical for the collection of reliable observation data.
The ability to separate live antlerless deer into two general age groups – fawns and adults – is obtainable for all hunters with a little knowledge and some practice.
The three key characteristics are body size and shape, head size and shape, and animal behavior. “The team at The Bearded Buck gave us full access to their incredible collection of whitetail footage from years of their hunts,” 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.” We are grateful to our partners at The Bearded Buck for their support with this project.
Jerry Tibbott, founder of The Bearded Buck, is a longtime NDA member and supporter, and his team went out of their way to provide their incredible footage, to film Kip’s instruction and to produce this final video.
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