Utah Bull’s Age

elkhunterUT

Very Active Member
Messages
1,352
Just got my 2020 tooth age data back from the DWR on my Utah LE bull. I figured he was an old bull, but was surprised by just how old:

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bonepicker

Very Active Member
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1,129
Both are great bulls! It is wild to think that those guys made it through their primes without getting killed! Still good bulls by the end, wonder what their peak year looked like?
 

twopointdn

Member
Messages
74
It always amazes me at the age that some bulls can get on public lands in Utah. They must be very wise to make it through all the hunting pressure. I killed a bull on public land in 2014 on a any bull general muzzleloader tag that lab tooth aged at 12 years old. My two thoughts that I always think about is how he lived that long in a high pressured general unit on public land and the other thought I ponder about is what he would have been like in his prime. I will never know either but I was certainly happy to be the one that got to harvest him, in his prime or not. This is a topic that has always intrigued me.
 
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Elkslayer2015

Active Member
Messages
324
Those are great bulls congratulations..

But I’m not a fan of the tooth age data I think there is something going on with the DWR I know it can be really accurate if done right
but my buddies brothers bull came back at 12 years and there was no way it was 12 he was a really small bull and the body was the size of a rag horn the ivorys where still pointed not even Worn down he might of been 4 maybe 5 I don’t know if the teeth got mixed up or what.

anyways congratulations those are both outstanding bull.
 

johnnycake

Active Member
Messages
129
Those are great bulls congratulations..

But I’m not a fan of the tooth age data I think there is something going on with the DWR I know it can be really accurate if done right
but my buddies brothers bull came back at 12 years and there was no way it was 12 he was a really small bull and the body was the size of a rag horn the ivorys where still pointed not even Worn down he might of been 4 maybe 5 I don’t know if the teeth got mixed up or what.

anyways congratulations those are both outstanding bull.
One thing you can always do is to send a tooth to Matson labs on your own for $70. Then you can compare, and if there's a difference I am sure DWR would love to know so they can improve.
 

hawkbill

Very Active Member
Messages
1,306
Very cool Bulls, and I agree it’s amazing that they can survive that long. I watched a Big Bull on the winter range a couple of years ago, he was killed by wolves, I picked up his head and could not believe how worn down his Ivorys were. Showed the fish and game and they thought between 13 and 15 years old. The amazing thing there was not a chip in the antlers, I wonder at what age these bulls quit breeding. Are they hanging in some thicket getting fat while the rut is going on
 

elkhunterUT

Very Active Member
Messages
1,352
Very cool Bulls, and I agree it’s amazing that they can survive that long. I watched a Big Bull on the winter range a couple of years ago, he was killed by wolves, I picked up his head and could not believe how worn down his Ivorys were. Showed the fish and game and they thought between 13 and 15 years old. The amazing thing there was not a chip in the antlers, I wonder at what age these bulls quit breeding. Are they hanging in some thicket getting fat while the rut is going on
I do think some of the older bulls do stop rutting, or at least fighting, and just take cows when the opportunity is right. Having said that, my bull had 35+ cows and was chasing other bulls off constantly so he didn’t appear to be slowing down any😂

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BrowningRage

Long Time Member
Messages
3,326
I am happy for you on your hunt... Congrats.

That said, managing LE units for age classes where a bull can age to 13 at the expense of opportunity for sportsmen is exactly what I don't like about Utah's 'wildlife management'. I have to believe that if the tag numbers were 50% higher, this bull wouldn't have made it to 13. Probably killed by 6. And maybe he wouldn't have been as impressive, but 50% more sportsmen would have had opportunity to hunt LE elk... I believe this for most LE units, deer and elk.
 

elkhunterUT

Very Active Member
Messages
1,352
I am happy for you on your hunt... Congrats.

That said, managing LE units for age classes where a bull can age to 13 at the expense of opportunity for sportsmen is exactly what I don't like about Utah's 'wildlife management'. I have to believe that if the tag numbers were 50% higher, this bull wouldn't have made it to 13. Probably killed by 6. And maybe he wouldn't have been as impressive, but 50% more sportsmen would have had opportunity to hunt LE elk... I believe this for most LE units, deer and elk.
I don't disagree with what you are saying. The problem is that Utah shouldn't be managing LE elk units by age objective at all. It should be managed by bull to cow ratio or other metrics that would allow for more precise herd management. This unit I killed this bull on is a great example of where age objective is flawed. In 2019, there were 2-3 bulls killed that were under 3 years old. This obviously dropped the average age of bull killed significantly on a unit where there aren't a lot of tags issued to begin with. This resulted in no additional permits being added in 2020 (may have even been a decrease in tags) even though there were plenty of surplus mature bulls to be harvested on the unit. Age objectives are not a great biological way to manage elk - it is nothing more than "special interest" groups (SFW...cough cough) pushing for ultra conservative management to protect their "money maker".
 

Elkslayer1125

Active Member
Messages
128
I don't disagree with what you are saying. The problem is that Utah shouldn't be managing LE elk units by age objective at all. It should be managed by bull to cow ratio or other metrics that would allow for more precise herd management. This unit I killed this bull on is a great example of where age objective is flawed. In 2019, there were 2-3 bulls killed that were under 3 years old. This obviously dropped the average age of bull killed significantly on a unit where there aren't a lot of tags issued to begin with. This resulted in no additional permits being added in 2020 (may have even been a decrease in tags) even though there were plenty of surplus mature bulls to be harvested on the unit. Age objectives are not a great biological way to manage elk - it is nothing more than "special interest" groups (SFW...cough cough) pushing for ultra conservative management to protect their "money maker".
I 100% agree with this.
 

cosmic_cowboy

Active Member
Messages
954
A good friend of mine was a guide on the Baca Ranch in NM. It's now the Valles Caldera National Preserve. They would age (send a tooth in) on every Elk killed, the oldest Bull was 13, most were between 4 and 6 years old. But the oldest Cow was 28 years old !
 

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