I present you with this trail-camera image of an Alabama buck I hunted for a while last season. Three things jump out and tell you this old boy is at least 6 years old.
*Overall appearance is thick and blocky, with a deep, heavy chest. That is the first thing to look for and the easiest tell, as younger bucks are sleeker.
*You might have heard, “Look for a saggy belly, that’s an old deer.” Yes, and this is proof. A pot-belly does not show up until a buck is at least 5 and more typically 6. It’s one of the most reliable tells of a mature whitetail.
*Short face. And close up in bow range, an old buck’s face looks old and gray.
Now look at the rack, which is okay but nothing special. So what? This is a fully mature wild buck, a true trophy. Unless you’re crazy, you’d be fixing to trip the release or press the trigger.
BTW, I never saw the buck above in daylight, as he was completely nocturnal. Sound familiar?
Great info Mike…
Love to see mature bucks like that on cams gets your blood pumping… Unfortunately your spot on about them being totally nocturnal at that age.
I’ve found that peak rut is your best chance to kill him but not in your conventional way per say.
He’ll do all his moving/chasing at night, latch onto a doe and then lock down with her in the thickest carp you can imagine all day. Might get up move 20-30 yards “All Day” but that won’t help you much if your sitting in a stand 50-100 yards from where he’s locked down.
So my tip is when you do find him in this scenario you need to get right in his bedroom. Sneak in couple hours before daylight and either sit tight on the ground or use a climber if possible. Don’t try to cut lanes or disturb anything, This is going to be a one shot deal up close and personal. He will enter before shooting time so sit tight and hope he walks in front of you. He’ll know something’s up after your first try, call it that sixth sense so know your going to blow him out of that area but it’s your only chance…