How about we uncover the tips to see if your buck is developed or not?
Like humans, while attaining maturity, even the buck undergoes physical and physiological changes. A mature buck is a tough thing to spot, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if your deer is ready for breeding. There are several ways to determine how old your buck is:
The age of a buck can be an important indicator of maturity. Bucks generally mature between 3 and 5 years old. A buck’s body condition will also indicate whether he is physically ready for breeding. In the case of the whitetails within 3 ½ – 4 ½ the buck attains maturity. There are various parameters of growth and maturity such as habitat, diseases, nutrition, etc which affects the holistic development of the animal.
The appearance of the buck changes as they reach maturity, growing larger and developing a more defined antler. A significant change can be noticed in their rump area, belly, neck and chest area. The hair on their antlers also changes in color and texture.
Bucks’ eyes will get larger as they reach their full growth potential, but they don’t get any bigger than this until they are at least two years old. You won’t be able to notice a significant difference until they’re at least one year old.
It is another indicator that a buck may be ready for breeding. When a buck reaches sexual maturity (about three years old), his testicles will start enlarging quickly — especially if he’s been getting plenty of rest and exercise during the breeding season.
Hoof development is another clue to a buck’s age. Does, fawns and young bucks have light coloured hooves. A young buck would have thin, smooth hooves with little wear on them. As a deer ages, hooves become darker and develop ridges or cracks across the top of the hoof.
Another indicator is an annual increase in weight. Bucks usually have a growth spurt between one and two years old when they reach their full growth potential (about 500 pounds). As they approach this weight, their testosterone levels begin to rise, which can cause further increases in muscle mass, fat percentage and bone mass (calcium retention). Once the buck is mature, he’ll lose some muscle mass and gain fat as a sign that he’ll be ready for slaughter pretty soon. A growing whitetail buck needs time to mature before it can be used for breeding or dairy purposes. Fat gain is one of the prominent signs seen in the whitetail buck during their growth phase.
Understanding the anatomy of a mature buck can help breeders determine how many years an animal might have lived. For example – A buck’s neck gets thicker year after year until the neck and head look like one solid mass from the side. Bucks’ antlers grow in proportion to their body size, which increases each year.
The best way to determine a buck’s maturity is to look at the physical changes he has undergone during the year. The age at the first shed and first antler drop are some of the most reliable indicators of maturity.
For example, if you see your buck shedding his antlers in December, then it’s a good bet that he will be mature by January. On the other hand, if you see that he’s still growing his antlers in April, then it could mean that he won’t be mature for another month or two.
Another indicator is an age at which bucks begin to shed their antlers for the first time each year. If you notice your buck shedding his antlers every summer around June 1st through July 15th, then he should be ready for breeding around September 1st through September 15th
Note – Antler shedding shouldn’t be the only criteria to decide the maturity. Because the development of antler depends on the food availability and genetics as well.
If you are a newbie to this field, it is advisable to take expert consultation and suggestions. Hunting a buck is different from raising one on your farm. A veterinarian will help you determine the exact age of the animal. Also, he can guide you if the animal requires any additional supplements or is lacking in growth.