How Long Do Deer Live? We Found a 15-Year-Old Buck!

By Brodie SwisherJuly 28, 20212 Comments

“How old is he?” 

It’s a common question among deer hunters everywhere. We hear a lot about 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and big, mature 5-year-olds, but how long do deer really live? 

We recently sat down with Brian Murphy of HuntStand to get answers. Check out the video below for a look at what he had to say. 

When Do Most Deer Die?

Despite captive deer living well into their teens and one even recorded at 23-years-old, most wild deer still die relatively young. 

“Most wild deer are still dying at 3-4,” says Murphy. “There’s just so many things fighting against deer in the wild, with weather, disease, predator attacks and other crazy encounters they have. We just don’t see many making it to 6, 7, or 8 years of age.” 

“Does do tend to live longer,” says  Murphy. “They’re not fighting or taking risks like the bucks. It’s a lot like us humans. The females typically live longer than the males.”

The 15-Year-Old Buck

As mentioned in the video above, Murphy says that the oldest buck he’s encountered in the wild was aged at 15 years of age, with an A rating from Matson’s Laboratory. 

The buck was killed by a friend of Murphy on a farm they had been hunting for a long time. After comparing notes in the years prior to harvesting the deer, they came to the conclusion that the buck had to be at least 10-12 years old. He was run down, to say the least, and didn’t appear to be a player in the rutting game. 

How Long Do Deer Live? We Found A 15 Year Old Buck!
The buck was believed to be 12 1/2 years old when this trail came image was taken.

Murphy admits that it was a bittersweet end to a long story when his buddy finally wrapped his tag around the buck. “A lot of things take place over 15 years,” says Murphy. “This buck had surely seen it all.”  

How Long Do Deer Live? We Found A 15 Year Old Buck!
The "Cow Buck" was aged at 15-years-old.

Conclusion

What about you? What’s the oldest buck you’ve ever killed, or seen killed by someone else? 

Comment below and let us know what you’ve seen over the years. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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