Age & Life Span
of the Whitetail Deer
The average life span of a whitetail is between three and four years. However, they have been known to live up to 19 years. The age of mature deer can be determined by a trained person examining the teeth in the lower jaw for replacement and wear. The molars of whitetail's wear down as they age. The teeth of deer may be completely worn out by seven years of age. A more accurate way of aging deer is to stain a thin section of tooth and then examine it under a microscope. Each year, a new ring appears between the layers of cementum in the root portion of the deer's tooth. The researcher simply counts these dark annual rings to determine the animals age.
The age of deer 12 months and younger is easier to pin down. At six months, a deer's first molar is fully erupted and at nine months, its second molar has appeared. Among year old deer, the third molar is usually partially erupted.
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