How to age a roe deer
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How can I work out the age of a roe deer?
Q: I've found a couple of dead roe deer on the shoot and want to know more about them. How do I age them?
JONNY CROCKETT replies: In roe, the jaw will not be fully developed until they are six months old. For a calf (up to two years old), you will find the following on each side: three incisors (i1, i2 and i3) and a canine at the front (c), and three milk premolars (pm2, pm3 and pm4). The third premolar will show a triple crown.
When you look at the teeth of an adult, you'll find that the triple crown has formed a single tooth and there are now three permanent molars (m1, m2 and m3). This will date the beast to either younger or older than two years old.
After that, you need to look at tooth wear. This is not a precise science as different habitats will hold plants that wear teeth at different rates. This means that you can age up to two years old, then there is a middle period where the teeth look OK and not massively worn, followed by worn teeth indicating an old beast.
In summary, you can age a roe deer to: a) < 2 years old; b) two to seven years old; c) worn teeth indicating >7 years old. These are approximate ages. I hope that helps.
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