One of the most popular features of NDA’s Quality Whitetails magazine is “Age This!” We select trail-camera photos of bucks supplied by our members and submit them to a panel of five wildlife biologists who are experienced at estimating the ages of deer on the hoof. Magazine readers then get to see the panel’s age estimates and explanations for why they chose a particular age.
Keeping the magazine supplied with good images for “Age This!” is not easy because we’re picky! We only choose images that are ideal for estimating age, because hunters shouldn’t base age estimates on sketchy photos!
We need photos of bucks that are:
• Standing relatively still.
• Head up.
• Well lighted by the sun or camera flash, and not blurry.
• Pictured with the entire body contained in the image frame.
• Photographed in the pre-rut or rut (not in summer or late winter)
Examples of photos that are likely to be used in “Age This!”
Examples of Photos We Can’t Use
We especially need young bucks!
Hunters are usually proudest of big, mature bucks they have photographed, so we get plenty of those. Your chances of having a photo included in “Age This!” are actually better if you send us yearling or 2.5-year-old bucks. But please send any photos you have that meet the criteria above, regardless of what age you think the buck is.
To submit your photos, Do this:
• Get ready to send us an e-mail with the photo attached (You are welcome to send multiple photos of the same buck if you have them).
• Attach the full-size, original jpeg image from your trail-camera.
• Include the following information in your e-mail:
1. First and Last Name
3. State (and county or general region of that state) where buck was photographed.
4. Date of photo (if it’s not indicated on the image).
5. Approximate date of the rut peak at this location.
6. Brief and general description of the buck’s habitat (acreage you manage, years under QDM, land and cover types by approximate percentage, habitat improvements, etc.)
DON’T Do this:
• Don’t send “screenshots” of the image as seen on your computer or smartphone.
• Don’t allow your e-mail program to compress or reduce the file size. Send the full-size original.
• Don’t crop or edit the image. Send us the original file from your SD card.
• Don’t send images without the information above included.
We’ll respond and let you know we received your submission, then it will go into the pool for consideration. If your photo meets all of the qualities we listed above, it’s very likely we will use it at some point. Depending on several selection factors, your photo may be used immediately, months later, or not at all. Only the images we select for use in the magazine will be sent to the panelists for review. Others may be used in our regular e-newsletter where recipients take a poll on their age estimate for your buck. However we use your image, if it is published, you will be given photo credit by name.
Thanks for sharing your best aging photos and helping us teach more hunters how to estimate buck age on the hoof! And if you don’t already receive Quality Whitetails and would like to start reading every installment of “Age This!”, then join NDA today!