head bobIf you shoot a 4- or 5-year-old deer you’ve tagged an old one, right? Well, that deer would be considered mature, but it could have lived longer, possibly a lot longer.

In captivity, whitetail does have been documented to live 18 to 25 years, and bucks 14 years!

But what about the wild whitetails that we hunt? Well, individual animals live much longer than you think. Recent data from Pennsylvania confirms 3 does to be at least 13.5 years old! One ear-tagged doe showed up on a trail camera; another was shot by a hunter in muzzleloader season; and a third has been spotted in a person’s backyard. Biologists captured, tagged, recorded and released all three back into the wild in 2003.

That a doe could live to 13 or 14 with all the hunting pressure, coyotes, cars and tough winters in Pennsylvania is yet another testament as to how amazing whitetails are!

BTW, just like people, does (both captive and wild) have a longer average lifespan than the bucks.