Discussion in 'Judging Trophies' started by Buff, Mar 1, 2009.
How does a bull wear down it’s horns?
Or a mandatory 10 point deduction for a soft boss!
I may have missed it, but read no mention of boss wear. As a matter of fact, the old bulls pictured have rugged bosses. I am no expert in judging buffalo but can relate an experience. We were in the Zambesi Valley just after the war, and were in a location known as the 'Tunza Track.' We drove right up on a solitary bull who showed every indication of being blind. His boss was smooth and he measured 44 inches. The animal was covered with muliple scars and he was both battered and poor. We all agreed that he was ancient. My friend and I flipped a coin and my friend shot it. We would have measured his molars had we known that they are excellent indicators of age.
On the other hand, I've lived on a large Texas' ranch over 25 years and, despite everything I've learned, I still make serious mistakes in the aging of whitetail deer. Tooth wear measurements are basically worthless. I'll give you an example. The animal was a mature whitetail buck with good antlers. He scored in at about 140 inches. The average weight of a mature whitetail buck in my part of the country is 130-155 lbs, live weight. This guy weighed 225 and all without supplemental feeding. I examined his teeth using F W standards. The buck was an impossible 1.5-2.5 year old. Conversely, I've seen a few quite small 'young' bucks, with small antlers, that [using tooth wear] age over 6.5 years old. You can't win 'em all.
Also [personal opinion], I believe it difficult to shoot the genetics out of a herd. Yes, it could be done if you took thousands of years to achieve it but, given the relatively short time people have been hunting big horns, I doubt there is much danger. What does happen is that the biggest bulls get shot first, leaving bulls that are [generally speaking] smaller horned and younger. Keep pressure on the herd and you wind up with small horned bulls, most of which are relatively young. Yes, there will be a few old bulls among them with small horns, too, which could contribute to small horn genetics way down the road. Maybe.
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