Age is an important measure of the trophy when it comes to whitetails. In some parts of the country, a nice 1 ½- or 2 ½-year-old buck might out-score this very mature one I shot during the 2012 season.
However, score alone is not the only determining factor of a real trophy when considering the skill and experience a deer must acquire to survive 5, 6, 7 or more years. Matching wits with one of these old warhorses is a much greater challenge than tagging a less cautious, younger buck, even if he does sport a larger rack.
Learn to age deer on the hoof and in the field. You might be surprised that some of the oldest bucks are the ones with the least impressive racks and the wariest of habits. Not only is it a smart management practice to remove these from your herd, but it is also an accomplishment as a hunter to put your tag on one.
by Brenda Valentine