Aging a Whitetail

 Determining a deer’s age is usually done by counting the teeth and noting the amount of wear on its teeth. Whitetail will have twenty eight teeth. Deer replace their “baby teeth” with permanent teeth at a relatively set rate. If all baby teeth have been replaced the deer is at least 2 1/2yr old. After that the only way to determine age is by gauging teeth wear and after about 5 1/2 years even this might become unreliable. A few whitetail deer fact age identifiers are:

  • The fawn is born with eight incisors and canine teeth.
  • After about a week four premolars come in.
  • By a month of age the last pair of premolars is already in place these baby premolars have three cusps (crowns).
  • At three months first set of molars come in.
  • The second set at six months.
  • The third and last of the three cusped molars come in at nine months.
  • By eighteen months the rear premolar is replaced by a permanent two cusped premolar.
  • By 2 1/2 years the deer has all its permanent teeth.

From 2 1/2yr to 5 1/2yr can be estimated fairly accurately by an expert from wear on the teeth.  A more accurate method, counting annual rings inside a deer’s tooth, requires splitting and polishing the tooth cross section.