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Age Determination from Teeth

  • Date Submitted: 09/12/2011 11:16 AM
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How To Tell The Age Of Deer
Published on: Apr. 9, 2010
Dental Age Characters Of White-tailed Deer
(Check side of lower molar tooth row)

Deer are aged by examining the teeth of the lower jaw. This is the only accurate field method. Size, color, and antler development may give clues as to general age (young or old), but they are not accurate indicators of age. Fawns can be recognized as long as they retain their spotted coats (3 to 4 months of age), but in November they have gray coats like older deer.
The charts on this page show condition of deer teeth during the November hunting season. Considerable knowledge of the life history of deer is needed to age them at other times of the year.
At birth, fawns have only the front teeth (incisors). Cheek teeth appear during the first month of life. The premolars (the first three cheek teeth) come in first, and additional teeth come in behind them. These first premolars are temporary "baby teeth", and are shed when the deer is about 1 1/2 years old. Thus deer are aged by number of teeth or tooth replacement until they are 19 months old. Older deer are aged by the amount of wear on the cheek teeth.
To use the charts showing dental age characters, you must have a clear view of the cheek teeth on at least one side of the lower jaw. The mouth must be opened as far as possible. A tire tool or other type of pry bar is usually needed. Cutting the cheek muscles provides a clear view of the cheek teeth after the mouth is opened. If the cheek muscles cannot be cut, as on a trophy buck, a flashlight will help in seeing the cheek teeth.

COUNT THE CHEEK TEETH. Fawns have less than six teeth. MOST FAWNS IN NOVEMBER HAVE FOUR CHEEK TEETH, because they were born in June and are five months old. They fall, therefore, into the four-seven months age class. Fawns less than four months will have only three cheek teeth, and fawns over seven months will have five cheek teeth.


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