Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

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Denisboyko22
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Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby Denisboyko22 » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:04 pm

I was walking through a public park today in milwaukee and found 2 mature doe that looked like they died of age and was starting to wonder about public hunting land and if anyone has ever found a perfect mature buck spot or found a buck that died of old age because no other hunter or predator could kill him? This is a question probably for the older hunters but just something I was starting to question because if you could find one of those spots where they die from old age then that would be crazy on public :lol:


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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby dan » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:42 pm

Denisboyko22 wrote:I was walking through a public park today in milwaukee and found 2 mature doe that looked like they died of age and was starting to wonder about public hunting land and if anyone has ever found a perfect mature buck spot or found a buck that died of old age because no other hunter or predator could kill him? This is a question probably for the older hunters but just something I was starting to question because if you could find one of those spots where they die from old age then that would be crazy on public :lol:

I think death of actual "old age" is pretty rare anywhere... In the swamps I hunt, I have seen bucks I know of live to be 9 years old... Probably some made it longer. But in there old age something other than "old age" gets them... They get to old to fight off coyotes, or wolves and get killed and eaten in the winter, disease sets in and they die of that, or they are not as sharp and a car or hunters gets them... I would say most that get old and die, do so at the end of winter when its brutal, and have already lost there horns.... I have found several old bucks dead in bedding areas that still had there racks, but mostly assumed they were wounded during hunting season and died later.
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby EllieTheChubb » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:57 pm

dan wrote:
Denisboyko22 wrote:I was walking through a public park today in milwaukee and found 2 mature doe that looked like they died of age and was starting to wonder about public hunting land and if anyone has ever found a perfect mature buck spot or found a buck that died of old age because no other hunter or predator could kill him? This is a question probably for the older hunters but just something I was starting to question because if you could find one of those spots where they die from old age then that would be crazy on public :lol:

I think death of actual "old age" is pretty rare anywhere... In the swamps I hunt, I have seen bucks I know of live to be 9 years old... Probably some made it longer. But in there old age something other than "old age" gets them... They get to old to fight off coyotes, or wolves and get killed and eaten in the winter, disease sets in and they die of that, or they are not as sharp and a car or hunters gets them... I would say most that get old and die, do so at the end of winter when its brutal, and have already lost there horns.... I have found several old bucks dead in bedding areas that still had there racks, but mostly assumed they were wounded during hunting season and died later.



I think you hit the nail on the head.
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby Hawthorne » Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:06 pm

I just found an old skull on public that had more teeth wear than any buck I’ve killed in Michigan. All it had was his Pedicles. So probably died in winter. Must of been 8+ years old. I’m glad I picked it up and looked at the teeth. It gave me more confidence to hunt that area
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby Dewey » Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:28 pm

I have found a lot of dead deer over the years but it appeared all of them have died from other causes other than old age. I have no doubt there are some that do especially in huge marshes or swamps in areas where people can’t easily get to. Always hear about big ole’ bucks that just disappear over the years and never seen again.

I found this shed from a buck I had history with and saw numerous times over the years. Guessing when this shed was found in October 2018 he was likely 6 years old. It measures 70” with a good portion of the main beam and what looks like another point chewed off plus the antler tips. He's likely a 170" gross buck.

Image

Never seen that buck again and nobody else in the area has either so guessing he died of old age because I no doubt would have heard if somebody locally killed him. If he’s still alive he’s gonna be 8-9 years old now. Pretty unlikely he’s still alive but not impossible I guess. I know his core area well and never came across his bones. The marsh probably swallowed them up already. Doesn’t take long for a dead deer to disappear.
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby PK_ » Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:29 am

Like Dan said deer don’t die of old age like people do, per say. They die from a bad winter, starvation, injury, predation, whatever... something eventually gets them.

However there are lots of places like what you are thinking of on public land, where a buck can go and die and no human will find his remains. Those are exactly the areas you are trying to find.

When you start finding big dead heads, heads that any other hunter would have picked up (laws on this are different everywhere) then you know you are getting into the right areas for sure.
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby Denisboyko22 » Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:36 am

PK_ wrote:Like Dan said deer don’t die of old age like people do, per say. They die from a bad winter, starvation, injury, predation, whatever... something eventually gets them.

However there are lots of places like what you are thinking of on public land, where a buck can go and die and no human will find his remains. Those are exactly the areas you are trying to find.

When you start finding big dead heads, heads that any other hunter would have picked up (laws on this are different everywhere) then you know you are getting into the right areas for sure.

Yeah I've found alot of dead deer bodies through out the years but none seemed to be old mature deer. It's hard to get to any spots here in central wisconsin where Noone has touched , all the good spots I found are just overlooked
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby Wannabelikedan » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:53 pm

I agree it’s a pretty rare thing to find truly old bucks dead but I think a lot of folks misinterpret them for younger and even poor genetic specimens when they do turn up. Really old “downhill” bucks tend to have some pretty dinky and/or funky racks. Even examining remains can be extremely difficult to judge what the former state of the animal was before it died. You would have to a PhD in whitetail forensics IMHO.
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby raisins » Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:17 pm

EllieTheChubb wrote:
dan wrote:
Denisboyko22 wrote:I was walking through a public park today in milwaukee and found 2 mature doe that looked like they died of age and was starting to wonder about public hunting land and if anyone has ever found a perfect mature buck spot or found a buck that died of old age because no other hunter or predator could kill him? This is a question probably for the older hunters but just something I was starting to question because if you could find one of those spots where they die from old age then that would be crazy on public :lol:

I think death of actual "old age" is pretty rare anywhere... In the swamps I hunt, I have seen bucks I know of live to be 9 years old... Probably some made it longer. But in there old age something other than "old age" gets them... They get to old to fight off coyotes, or wolves and get killed and eaten in the winter, disease sets in and they die of that, or they are not as sharp and a car or hunters gets them... I would say most that get old and die, do so at the end of winter when its brutal, and have already lost there horns.... I have found several old bucks dead in bedding areas that still had there racks, but mostly assumed they were wounded during hunting season and died later.



I think you hit the nail on the head.


Hear, hear.

I find a skeleton with fur around it (deer that died a while ago) almost every day that I scout a new piece and travel 6 miles or more. Most are does and I don't look very closely, but I assume most were injured by hunters and never found. I would estimate there is a deer carcass every 40 acres on WV public land given how often I find them.

I walked 3 hours today scouting and found 2 does that had been picked clean. The biggest dead head I've found was a 6 point, partly because mature bucks in my area are rare to begin with.
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby raisins » Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:22 pm

Wannabelikedan wrote:I agree it’s a pretty rare thing to find truly old bucks dead but I think a lot of folks misinterpret them for younger and even poor genetic specimens when they do turn up. Really old “downhill” bucks tend to have some pretty dinky and/or funky racks. Even examining remains can be extremely difficult to judge what the former state of the animal was before it died. You would have to a PhD in whitetail forensics IMHO.


My first rifle kill was a "spike" that was actually a very old buck that had both his antlers broke off. You could chip his remaining antlers away with your thumb nail.
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby The Silence » Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:49 am

Reading your question Denisboyko22, reminded me of a great blog I read and saved called "Photo Gallery: From Buttons to Booner" by Charles Alsheimer. I know that it doesn't address the part of your question about finding these old bucks on public land but I still wanted to post it:

(1)) As a tribute to the late Charles Alsheimer who we lost a little over 2 years ago. I wept when I heard the sad news. His photographic journey with the whitetail deer over the years, is truly amazing.

(2) And as a tribute to the whitetail itself, who we all have marveled at, as we get to spend time outdoors.

Here is the link to the blog about a single buck that Charlie was able to follow throughout the entirety of it's life until it's death as 12.5 year old. As Charlie mentions at the beginning of the blog, the buck was born on an wilderness estate of 3,000 acres in the heart of New York's Adirondack Mountains where no hunting was allowed. https://www.realtree.com/deer-hunting/g ... -to-booner
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Re: Finding Mature bucks dying of old age on public??

Unread postby Swamp_donkey » Thu Mar 12, 2020 3:21 pm

Thought that this was a very interesting question. I have on one occasion found an old buck that had appeared to have literally died of old age. While this was on private land it was within 50 feet of a neighbour's backyard 6ft high wooden fence and not far from a quiet neighborhood road frequented by dog walkers.

The buck was a clean skeleton when a friend and I discovered it while shed hunting in the spring. It had definitely been there for the year or possibly longer. The antlers were shed and the entire skeleton was arranged as if the deer had bedded down, died and had not been disturbed until we happened upon it.

Upon my friend picking up the skull, we noticed what looked like tiny pebbles fall out. Turns out its what was left of the molars. Essentially the bases of the roots were all that was left. There were no obvious signs of injury or broken bones anyway.

I did find a nice fresh, matched set of sheds near by as well, I kept those and my buddy kept the skull. I believe the rest is still there.

I'm curious how many of you pick up sheds near peoples back yards or other spots where they seem to be living crazy close to humans? None of the 'backyard' sheds I have picked up appeared to have been related to baiting and most of the fences are at least 6ft high. Some appeared to be bedding related or transitioning through an area but basically stay as close as possible to suburban back yards.


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