From the Pennsylvania Game Commission
-- Hunters have two questions they want answered when they harvest a deer. The first question-how old is it? The second-how much does it weigh?
Free tools now available on Pennsylvania's Game Commission website can guide hunters to determine the answers.
To help hunters learn how Game Commission biologists determine the age of a white-tailed deer, the agency has posted a link to a seven-minute and 38-second video on its website demonstrating the technique used to identify deer that are six months old, 18 months old and 30 months old or older.
To view the video, go to the Game Commission's website at www.pgc.state.pa.us and click on the "White-Tailed Deer" icon in the center of the homepage and select "Deer Aging" in the "Deer Hunting" section.
"Looking at the teeth is the best method of aging a white-tailed deer," according to Dr. Christopher Rosenberry, deer and elk management section supervisor. "Antler points and amount of gray on the muzzle are not reliable methods of aging deer."
A deer weight estimating chart is posted in its "White-Tailed Deer" section. To find this chart, go to www.pgc.state.pa.us, click on the "White-Tailed Deer" icon in the center of the homepage and select "Deer Weight Chart" in the "Deer Hunting" section. The chart was developed in partnership with the Pennsylvania State University Department of Dairy and Animal Science.
By knowing the girth of the deer's chest which is measured in inches just behind the front legs, the chart can help hunters estimate a deer's live and field dressed weights, as well as the weight of edible boneless meat.
For example, a deer with a girth of 35 inches at the chest would have an estimated live weight of 126 pounds, an estimated field-dressed weight of 99 pounds and yield around 57 pounds of edible venison.
The agency also sells a deer weight tape for 94 cents which includes markings to enable a hunter to estimate these weights in the field. The tape includes a depiction of where to place the tape around a deer's chest, as well as measurements that enables a hunter to convert that measurement in inches into estimated live weight, field-dressed weight and edible boneless meat.
The tape is available for purchase. Scroll down to select "Deer Weight Tape."