The Secret to Big Bucks: Age

Do You Agree Or Disagree?

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

1 | The Spike: Age 1

This buck was born on a 3,000-acre estate in the heart of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, where no hunting was allowed.

Typical of this region of the country, the buck managed to grow only spike antlers as a yearling.

 

2 | The Spike: Age 2

Even at age two, his potential for great antlers was poor.

 

3 | The Spike: Age 4

However, thanks to a spike in nutrition, the buck blossomed at age four when his antlers grossed 164 inches. 

4 | The Spike: Age 7

His largest antlers occurred at age 6, topping out at 169 inches gross. At age 7, shown here, his antlers scored 167 gross.

5 | Mr. Average: Age 1

Born in western New York State, this buck is typical of what New York yearlings sport for antlers. 

6 | Mr. Average: Age 2

 By age two, his antlers grossed 110 inches, also quite average for this region of the country.  

7 | Mr. Average: Age 4

Two years later, at age four, he had turned into a classic 10-point, scoring 149 inches gross.

 

 

8 | Mr. Average: Age 7

When this buck hit seven, he grew his largest antlers, grossing 162 iches B&C. What set this buck apart from the others in this gallery is his body size. He not only had nearly perfect antlers but his live body weight was impressive also.

9 | Forked Horn: Age 1

This New York State buck was not very impressive as a yearling. He was slight of body, with four-point antlers. 

10 | Forked Horn: Age 2

At age two, his body began to fill out, but his antler size didn’t lead one to believe that he’d be a brute once he reached maturity. 

11 | Forked Horn: Age 4

By the time he reached 4½ years of age, he was very similar to Mr. Average in that his antlers were very symmetrical, scoring 148 inches gross. 

 

12 | Forked Horn: Age 7

At age seven, he grew his largest set of antlers. They scored 164 inches gross B&C, with a live body weight in the 250-pound range.

13 | Scraggly: Age 1

Many feel that a multi-pointed yearling buck has the best potential of becoming a Boone and Crockett-class animal by age seven. True, some do, but never assume this to be the case. 

Over the course of my career, I’ve seen many scraggly-racked yearlings have incredible antlers by age 6 or 7. You just never know what is hidden in their DNA. I’ve included this New York State buck to illustrate my point.

As a yearling, this buck had a very nice 7-point rack. 

14 | Scraggly: Age 2

At age two, he grew into a nearly perfect 8-pointer, giving the impression that he was going to be special. 

15 | Scraggly: Age 4

Two years later, at age four, he grew the largest antlers he would ever grow, scoring 137-inch gross. From that point on, his antlers decreased in size. 

16 | Scraggly: Age 7

At age seven, when most bucks grow their largest antlers, he was an 8-point, scoring 134-inch gross B&C.

Editor's Note: This was originally publish on June 29, 2015.

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