Do You Agree Or Disagree?
The white-tailed deer has enabled me to have an incredible career. I’ve hunted and photographed them from Maine to Alberta to Texas. As good as this has been, the highlight of my career has come from raising whitetails to study their behavior and nutritional needs, and being able to photographing them in settings where hunting was not allowed. This has enabled me to see firsthand what can be expected when bucks are allowed to age to maturity.
This gallery shows four New York State bucks I photographed over the course of their lives. None are products of selective breeding, and each represents what I call “real-world bucks” at ages one, two, four, and seven (with seven being the age that I feel most bucks grow their largest antlers).
I didn’t include any bucks I’ve photographed over the years that grossed over the Boone and Crockett minimum of 170 inches, because I don’t believe they are true representatives of what is realistic when it comes to antler growth in the wild. To use a human analogy, a 170-plus buck is equivalent to a 7-foot tall human. The average human male is 5 feet 10 inches in height, so I believe that any white-tailed buck that exceeds 140 inches B&C by age five to seven is a true trophy — any place in North America.
In the majority of cases, it's impossible to know a buck’s antler potential as a yearling...or even at age two, for that matter. By age three, bucks will begin to reveal their potential, but you’ll never know what they can be until they fully mature. At what age is that? Of the near 100 whitetail bucks I’ve raised, the earliest was four, and the oldest nine, with the average being seven years old.
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