Figure 2. The major tooth parts used in determining a deer’s age are shown in this illustration.

Teeth 1,2,3 – Pre-Molars: The rather narrow jaw teeth in front of the molars adapted to cutting food.

Teeth 4,5,6 – Molars: The large jaw teeth adapted for grinding food.

A- Infundibulum: The funnel-shaped depression in the center crown of tooth between crests. Exterior surfaces will be stained dark.

B- Dentine: The softer inner core of the tooth, much darker in color than the enamel.

C- Enamel: The hard, white outer coat of a tooth.

D- Lingual Crests: Tooth ridges running from front to back adjacent to the tongue.

E- Cusps: The points or projections on the surface of a tooth

F- Gum line: Point to which flesh of the gum cover a tooth. Food stains are deposited above the gum.

Each time an animal is aged, follow the progression in the picture key from the youngest to oldest. Read each descriptive characteristic and see if it applies. Soon the process will become automatic. Technical terms are used to describe exactly where they apply are pictured in Figure 2.

Do not try to randomly match the lower jaws with pictures. That approach will cause problems because of the multiple criteria which are necessary to recognize, each age class must be considered. A systematic approach is much easier to learn and less subject to error.

Deer are aged in 1-year groups beginning with1/2 year. Fawns usually born in May and June and their age group is ½ year old during their first hunting season. In subsequent hunting seasons, deer will be 1 ½ (yearlings), 2 ½, 3 ½ , etc., years of age.