Apr 11, 2007

Age - Part 2

"JoeBoo" was transplanted from 19A to 13B and was aged at 4 years old.

I'm probably not going to post a complete list of the aging data because it's not exactly "my" data - as in, I didn't pay to have any of the aging analysis done and I think David E. Brown (the biologist who I sent the teeth to) may want to use the info for a book he's currently writing about pronghorn (we should have several of our pictures - or client's pictures - in the book!)

The ideal age for a pronghorn, I would presume, would depend on a lot of variables.

If we assume bucks reach their peak horn growth age at 3 years old we would then have to assume that 3 years old is the ideal age (O'Haco's old World Record was aged at 3 years old.) But, if there's no moisture during the buck's 3rd year of growth, then that buck's 4th year may be a better horn growth year.

If you're managing a ranch you'd want the biggest bucks to live the longest so that they could reproduce the longest and spread their genetics. In that case, you may elect to not take the buck during it's largest year in order to ensure large bucks in the future.

Another thing I've noticed - buck's that are in ideal areas are able to maintain giant status for longer periods of time (this should be fairly obvious, but I thought I'd note it anyway.) For example, on The Plateau years ago, bucks would be giant for only one year and then the effects of age (and possibly lack of feed and water) would cause them to regress substantially the next year. In areas like 19A, when the feed and moisture was consistently good (some of this had to do with the ranchers taking care of the cattle) the bucks would maintain a score of over 90 inches for 2 or 3 years fairly regularly.

So, if you find a giant buck, shoot it if you're in a bleak area and you have no chance at returning next year to hunt. If you're in a great area, you may pass and wait for next year (provided it's your ranch or you at least know that the buck will be there next year for you to hunt.)

Also, if it's an area that you scout hard every year and you spot a giant buck that you've never seen before it may be a good idea to pass and let the buck grow! If you've never seen the buck before it's probably only 2 or 3 years old and if the area is good the buck may continue to grow.

Passing on bucks is usually not something we do or recommend very often because of hunting pressure, predators, the fact that we can't forecast the future, etc...

I'll post more info as questions are asked or as it comes to me. :)

Tally Ho!

Apr 9, 2007

Age

I just got the tooth aging report back from our 2006 antelope. There were a few surprising things to me:

We had 4 of the bucks from our ranch near Roy, NM aged and all of them were very young - 2, 2, 3, and 4 years old. This is probably because this was our first year on the ranch and, in the past, this ranch was usually hunted very hard. We took over the lease last season and cut the tags back substantially. Hopefully this will allow the bigger bucks to live longer and have a better chance at passing on their big horn genetics to the future antelope.

We found a good buck in Unit 10 and gave away the location to a friend who drew a Unit 10 tag. The buck wound up scoring 90 5/8 SCI and was aged at ONLY 2 years old! This is very interesting and may be one of only a few bucks to ever break 90 inches as a 2 year old. Makes me kinda mad that we didn't wait another year or two to see just how big this buck could have gotten.

The largest buck we took last year, according to horn mass, weighed in at 462 grams for each horn. This buck scored 96 6/8 SCI and 92 B&C. It was aged at only 3 years old. We have video of the buck from the year before and thought the buck was "only" an 85-86 inch (B&C) buck. That's a lot of growth in one year.

My 87 SCI buck from Wyoming last year was aged at only 2.

On the other end of the spectrum - Jeff Mott's buck from Unit 7 that scored 87 3/8 SCI was aged at 6 years old. This makes perfect sense as the buck's horns were very uneven from side to side and this, as far as we can tell, is a trait relegated mostly to older bucks.

Three of the four Arizona bucks that were submitted for aging came back as very old bucks - 4, 9, 9, and 9 years old. I don't know the scores of these bucks but I'd guess that they were long and thin with short (possibly high) prongs.

On another note - Blake Lanoue of Arizona Outfitters just started up our "Early Photos" thread on AZOD's chat forum for this year and posted a few pictures of a growing buck. I'll be posting pictures to that thread as well as soon as I start my scouting and take some good pictures.

Check it out if you get a chance - and better yet, post some photos!

Tally Ho!