The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Outdoors

November 16, 2011

How to tell a deer's age and weight

HARRISBURG — Two things many hunters want to know about almost any deer they take are its age and weight.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission, through its website. is offering some free tools to guide hunters in determining their deer’s age and weight.

To help hunters learn how game commission biologists determine the age of a white-tailed deer, the agency has posted a link to a seven-minute and 38-second video on its “YouTube” account demonstrating the technique used to identify deer that are six months old, 18 months old and 30 months old or older.

“Looking at the teeth is the best method of aging a white-tailed deer,” said Christopher Rosenberry, game commission deer and elk management section supervisor. “Antler points and amount of gray on the muzzle are not reliable methods of aging deer.”

In partnership with the Pennsylvania State University Department of Dairy and Animal Science, the game commission also posted a deer weight estimating chart in its “White-Tailed Deer” section. Select “Deer Weight Chart” in the “Deer Hunting” section.

By knowing the girth of the deer’s chest, which is measured in inches just behind the front legs, the chart will help hunters estimate a deer’s live weight and field dressed weight, as well as the weight of edible boneless meat. For example, a deer with a girth of 35 inches at the chest would have an estimated live weight of 126 pounds, an estimated field-dressed weight of 99 pounds and yield around 57 pounds of edible venison.

The agency also sells a deer weight tape, for 94 cents, which includes markings to enable a hunter to estimate these weights in the field. The tape includes a depiction of where to place the tape around a deer’s chest, as well as measurements that enable a hunter to convert that measurement in inches into estimated live weight, field-dressed weight and edible boneless meat.

It is available here.

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