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Texas Whitetail Deer

White-tail deer are the most abundant large game species in North America; the whitetail population is largest in Texas, where an estimated three to four million of the deer reside. The deer's coat is a reddish-brown in the spring and summer and turns to a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. The deer can be recognized by the characteristic white underside to its tail, which it shows as a signal of alarm by raising the tail during escape.

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Bucks range ion weight from 130 to 220 lbs, but in rare cases there have been bucks with a recorded weight of 350 lbs! The females, or does, range from 90 to 200 lbs. The Whitetail Bucks also shed their antlers annually. As the antlers begin to grow in late spring they are covered with a highly vascular tissue known as velvet. The antlers can be typical, meaning symmetrical with points growing upward, or they can be atypical with points growing in any direction and lacking symmetry.

Whitetail Deer move most often and for the greatest distances during spring and fall. In late spring, does may travel in search of fawning sites, although adult females move less than other deer. Greater travels are made by yearlings, on their own for the first time. Travel increases in fall after the harvest, as deer leave croplands and begin mating activities. Whitetails have developed keen senses to help them avoid predation. They depend on scent, particularly in thick cover, but also have excellent hearing and sight.

Whitetail meat makes a great meal. Venison is high in protein, yet roughly half the fat when compared to a similar cut of beef.

Field Aging Whitetail Bucks

There are some basic body "shapes" that help identify a buck's age, but you kind of have to "read between the body size." In essence, you have to ignore the over-all body size and look for specific characteristics.

Just remember that body shape is going to change dramatically from the late summer and opening of bow season to November/December (rut). Even older bucks look "scrawny" in late summer. There is also a difference in a buck's body shape and size in different regions of North America. For example a Texas Whitetail buck compared to a Canadian buck of the same age looks much smaller and dainty.

Yearling Bucks
Yearling bucks still have the look of a large doe with antlers, usually 2-3 points on each side for 1 1/2 year bucks and small nubs on the 1/2 year old Button Bucks.

2 1/2 Year old Buck
2 1/2-year-old bucks are more muscular in chest, but not as much more in hams than a yearling, but they will have a large neck near the rut. In fact, the easiest way to identify a yearling from a 2 1/2 is the neck. If it has a big thick neck, it is not a yearling. They will usually have 3 to 5 points on each side. The antlers will usually be small to medium in size.

3 1/2 Year old Buck
3 1/2-year-old bucks look very much like thoroughbred race-horses. Very trim waist, but shoulders and hams are very muscular. They will usually have 4 to 6 points on each side. This is a mature buck and will usually have medium to large antlers.

4 1/2 Year old Buck
4 1/2-year-old bucks are really at the peak of their game. Muscular in hams and shoulders, but belly is starting to get big, with some sag. The neck of a 4 1/2 is so large it kind of blends straight into the chest with little definition between the two, as in no distinct line between the end of the neck and the beginning of the chest.

5 1/2 Year old Bucks and older
5 1/2+ year-old bucks have a lot of belly sag and the back starts to become swayed. Neck is huge with no definition between neck and chest.

Field Aging Information gathered from