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AndyM

? on basket racks

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I shot a 8 point basket rack deer on Saturday. Big body, starting to go gray in places. My question is, Why don't the antlers get bigger than what they did? I shot the same size deer 3 years ago and we estimated it at 4 years old. Is this in genetics or not the right nutrition for larger racks? People at work tell me to let them walk so the rack grows larger, but the racks are staying the same size. There are larger racked deer in the area but these basket racks are much more abundent. Thanks

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My guess would be that you are way over-estimating the age of your deer. All deer have different potential for antler size and nutrition and other factors also play a part, but very few deer will still be only "basket" racks when they are 3 1/2 or 4 1/2 years old. Some graying does not necessarily mean the deer is old. You can tell better by looking at its teeth. Also a 2 1/2 year old deer will seem very big when you have to drag it out, especially when you compare it to does, fawns, and 1 1/2 year old bucks.

I would also guess that those few larger racked deer in the area are the ones that actually are 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years old. This is the same as most areas. Since there are more 1-2 year old bucks than 3+ year old bucks, there are more basket racks than trophies.

With that said, if your happy with the buck you shot, tell the guys at work to kiss your @#$ if they give you grief about it.

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I think people would be surprised how old deer really are in a lot of cases.

Without age, nothing will grow bigger racks.

Andy,

did you weigh this deer? You state its a big body.

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I will look at the teeth and weigh it tomorrow, before I start butchering it. I will post them when I find out. I'll post pics when I get them as well.

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Andy,

I already posted, but after looking through the results thread I saw many others stating something similar, "Small horns and a big body, must be bad genetics." If most of these people put their deer in the back of their truck and pulled into a registration station next to a guy that had shot a trophy buck, they would be quite suprised. I'll guaranty that 95% of the time that trophy buck will be huge in body size compared to their buck. That is why it is easy to call a fork horn a big bodied deer when it is hanging next to a fawn and a yearling doe, but not so easy when it is hanging next to a 3 1/2 year old trophy.

Congrats on your buck though. All I saw was fawns and does.

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I was going to point out the exact same thing fetzer. I have seen several posts recently about "old bucks with small racks".

In the end, if the hunter is happy, thats all the counts really.

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I also agree that if the hunter is happy with what he has harvested, that is all that matters. It does drive me absolutely crazy when people think they are helping the genetics of the deer when they shoot basket racks. I would guess that 98% of "basket racks" are 1 and a half and MAYBE two and a half years of age. I also have a buddy that shot a very obvious 1 and a half year old buck that did have a little grey on his head and stated it was a "very old buck with bad genetics." Genetics are soooo overrated around here it is ridiculous. If you let ANY buck get to even 3 and a half years old around here you have a very nice buck that has a big set of antlers. There are so few that get to that age. Now if you are happy with a basket racked buck that is just fine with me, but I hate it when that same guy complains that "there aren't any big bucks around here because of bad genetics."

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Ya I would bet its not old too. Its amazing how much bigger a buck's body is than any doe, even a 1 1/2 year old buck looks big on the hoof if its only been yearilngs you've been seeing, but put them next to a 3 1/2 year old buck and they'll be runts.

Obviously none of us have seen the buck yet so we are only guessing, but I'm going with youth instead of food or genetics...

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After reading these posts I myself am anxious to see the age of the deer. If you all are right and it is only at most 2 1/2 yrs old then I will be talking to quite a few people and ask them to pass on these deer. I would love to take more like I took a couple years ago. I know some will and some won't pass on this size deer but some is better than none.

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I think if most hunters started believing that almost all basket racks are very young bucks and started passing on them you would see a surprising number of bigger(antlered and bodied) bucks in as short a time as the next year.

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I was bowhunting friday night and a nice buck came out of the woods, I didn't have a shot at it because it was on my right and th was a limb in the way so I couldn't draw on anything to my right. Anyhow, he was a great looking deer, probably a real trophy by most people's standards, I know that I was very willing to shoot at it if the shot presented itself. Anyhow, I thought it was the big one that I had been seeing but after further thought, realized that it just couldn't be the deer I was after. It was confirmed about 45 minutes later when the bigger buck appeared in the same spot, (still no shot). Let me tell you, he made the first buck look small, not just rack size, but body size too. He literally looked like an angus trotting away from me. I was amazed at the difference in body size in bucks between probably a 3 year old deer and a 5-6 year old deer. Put the big guy next to your biggest doe and she will still look small. There is lots of variation in size, but I too would be willing to say your deer was only a couple of years old.

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I think if most hunters started believing that almost all basket racks are very young bucks and started passing on them you would see a surprising number of bigger(antlered and bodied) bucks in as short a time as the next year.

You couldn't be more right. Compare trail cam pics of a 2.5 y/o to when he is 3.5, it's amazing how much growth they can put on during that "puberty" stage. If that 3.5 is given the chance to live and he makes it to 4.5 or 5.5, MN would have some decent big buck hunting in a few years but let's not hash over the QDM debate again. grin

Hows about a picture of the deer in question?

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there is a science to aging a deer by the teeth. tell by number of teeth, molars more than anything, and the amount of wear on the sharp ridges of the molars. the more wear, the more teeth, the more years the deer has been around

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I'm pretty sure by 2 1/2 years old... a deer will have a full set of teeth. After that, checking for wear on the cusps and overall signs of aging is about all one can do other than to send in a cross-sectional.

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Quote:
Now if you are happy with a basket racked buck that is just fine with me, but I hate it when that same guy complains that "there aren't any big bucks around here because of bad genetics."

very true, its annoying. crazy

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Aging your deer, here is a short little how to. at least to age them between a Fawn(this years), yearling (1 1/2 yrs), or adult (2 1/2 yrs). The way to do this is to look at the 3rd molar back on the jaw bone, you will have to cut the cheek back a little bit to get a look at it..If the tooth has 3 cusps (points on the tooth) and they are sharp and "pointy" = You have a FAWN....If the that 3rd molar still has 3 cusps but that tooth is worn down a lot, sometimes almost flush with the gum line = you have a YEARLING.......If that third molar has 2 cusps = You have a 2 1/2 year old deer or older....Hope this makes sense, Im sure if a guy wanted to you could google tooth wear and replacment and you could get some pics- good luck

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Deer are like people..... some are are old and gray, some but few are young and gray, MANY are young and FAT, Most are old and fat. Nothing is for sure, but they all have their own personalities and body characteristics. I know WAY too many people overestimate the age of their deer. Big body, gray face, with a small, pencil-thin rack is a 1 1/2 year old buck 95% of the time! You can look to see if the deer is a 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 by checking if the 3rd premolar is a tricuspid or bicuspid.... but beyond that its very debatable!

Weve found many, many sheds from a 9 1/2 year old buck that we eventually found dead. For fun I brought the jaw to the DNR.... they aged him at 3 1/2! Ive lost all confidence in the "tooth wear" aging since then. It just varies too much.

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In most cases, you can at least get a ballpark age with teeth.

Not scientific, no. But at least an idea.

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I first found his sheds in 1996 He was 2 1/2 at a minimum then, I think 3 1/2. I then found him dead in the winter of 2003.

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For a general estimate I go by a combination weight/rack. Most 3.5 year old bucks (where I hunt in So MN) should dress out around 200 lbs. give or take.

For a really old deer I look at the face, but not the color. Old bucks begin to develop the Roman nose. Basically the nose becomes more full and goes up between the eyes and nose. A younger deer will slope down. I don't think they get a roman nose until they are about 6.5 years old.

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I first found his sheds in 1996 He was 2 1/2 at a minimum then, I think 3 1/2. I then found him dead in the winter of 2003.

How can you be 100% sure that the deer you found dead in 2003 is the same deer you found sheds off of in 1996?

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