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Take the guessing out

 

of Whitetail 

Deer Aging!

Accurate Whitetail Deer Aging isn’t just our job its our passion!

 

Take the guessing out

of Whitetail Deer Aging!

Accurate Whitetail Deer Aging isn’t just our job its our passion!

1 Order Kit

Choose the kit with your desired turn around time.

2 COLLECT SAMPLES

We will mail you the kit you will use to send in the teeth.

3 CHECK YOUR STATUS

Log into your customer portal at anytime to check the status of your samples.

 

 

What makes us the #1 choice for Whitetail Deer aging?

We Make accuracy our top Priority

We are committed to providing the most accurate results possible for your whitetail deer and other game mammals. We have taken several steps to improve our accuracy and we constantly work on ways to make our service even better. One way we have increased our accuracy is by implementing a barcode system. From the time you tooth comes into the lab until the time its on a slide it has a barcode at every step. This ensures no samples are ever switched at any step.

Another way we have improved our accuracy is by listening to our customers. Since there is a known failure rate for this type of testing all of our slides, tissue blocks and back up teeth are kept on file for easy re-checking of our results. If any of our customers thinks that the results of their age is off by more than one year a second look can be easily requested right from the customer portal and by the following Friday the analysis will be complete. This ensures that our results ( lines on a slide)  line up with what you are seeing in the field! This simple re-check system really sets us apart as the top provider of Cementum annuli analysis.

To read more about accuracy CLICK HERE

We have customer portals

By offering an easy to use customer portal our customers can keep track of all things related to their teeth. From the time the kit ships out to the time its finished its all tracked in your portal! No more calling to see if we received it or wondering when its due. Its all right there! The customer portal also features a leader board where you can see the top ages of various game across the US! Its very fun to click around and see the top ages for various years and states. Lastly, data tracking is available in the portal by being able to easily export sample data for analysis. We also provide a small “whitetail report” for each customer showing the average age whitetail from the US and compare your average age whitetail as well as your oldest whitetail for a given year.

All of these features make using our service simple, reliable and FUN!

We are advancing research!

We have several of our own ongoing research projects going and are participating in other related research which makes us an industry leader in conservation.

Currently we have the following projects underway:

  1. we are working to develop nutritional profile comparisons using the teeth of the game we receive. By comparing the quality of the tooth to the statistics of the deer and the nutrition they are receiving, we are working to determine the ideal food/supplement regimen for body growth, antler mass and overall bone health.
  2. We are working to build the largest digital archive of known age samples in the world. We are constantly seeking known age samples of all species across the globe to build a repository of slides for better comparison and accuracy.
  3. We are exploring other methods to age game animals using DNA analysis. With this breakthrough methodology we hope to provide alternate methods for aging as well as age verification for improved accuracy.
  4. We regularly participate in wildlife studies from all across the globe!

 

We are operated by a leading diagnostic lab

DeerAge is operated by a well known veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Our parent company provides slide prep services for all the top universities in the country including but not limited to Harvard, Yale, Rutgers, UC Davis, U of M and many more! We also provide valuable diagnosis to veterinarians across the country. You can rest assured that your sample is being treated with the same care with which every cancer sample is being treated and is in the hands of highly trained professionals.

We offer Loyalty points

Our ordering system automatically sends you discount coupons for purchases. You earn discounts for each kit you purchase and free merchandise! Who doesn’t love free stuff?! The more you age the more you earn!

Quality Analysis & Priority Service

We provide forensic deer aging of whitetail deer and other mammals using the cementum annuli method. The only reliable way for aging whitetail deer when deer age is required to be accurate and verifiable.

AS FEATURED

IN

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Deer and Deer Hunter Magazine
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What is Cementum Annuli aging?

The basis for cementum annuli aging is the cyclic nature of cementum deposits on the roots of mammals’ teeth each year, which results in a pattern of “rings” in the tooth, like those formed in the wood of trees. A darkly staining ring, or “annulus”, is formed during winter on most all whitetail deer and other mammals. Abundant, lightly staining cementum is formed during the growth seasons of spring and summer.

To obtain the most accurate age for your whitetail deer and other game, the teeth are put through several chemical processes and then sectioned thinner than paper using advanced histological techniques. We have tirelessly perfected our techniques and staining protocol to ensure we have dark lines every time making determining the age that much easier. We then digitally scan the teeth using high throughput quality optical scanner to count the cementum annuli rings microscopically. One of the features that sets us apart is our high tech laboratory where we deploy the newest laboratory technology to ensure accuracy.

See the image below as a demonstration.

How does cementum-annuli compare to that of eruption-wear?
The molar wear technique of aging ungulates compares the tooth wear of known age animals to the tooth wear of harvested animals. The theory is that you should be able to determine age by finding a match, wear wise, with a known age specimen. I think the cold hard facts show that this is just guesswork, especially for deer 2 ½ years or older. Simply spoken, molar wear does not work if you want an accurate age of the animal you harvested. It is a myth that is still taught to wildlife biologists in college today, even though only one study done in 1949 purported to have scientific evidence it actually worked. Ever study done since then has been unable to verify its accuracy.

The cementum-annuli (cross-sectioning teeth) method of aging deer, elk and other wild animals is much different. It first requires decalcifying the central lower incisors (sometimes the M1 molar or other tooth) and then cutting cross-sections of the root tips to a thinness measured in microns. The slice of tooth is then placed on a slide and a special dye is added to enhance viewing. It is placed under a microscope. Lines within the tooth’s diameter are readily visible and can be counted much like the rings of growth on a tree, indicating a deer’s age.

How effective are each of the methods for aging Deer? (Cementum Annuli and eruption-wear) Replacement/Eruption and Molar Wear Aging)
In a study done by Kenneth L. Hamlin et al. of the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks ( Journal of Wildlife Management 64(2):441-449) accuracy rates of cementum annuli were 97.3% for elk through age 14, 92.6% for mule deer through age 14, and 85.1% for white-tailed deer through 9 years old.

Tooth eruption or tooth replacement is a highly reliable way to age mammals until they have all their permanent teeth. In whitetails you can accurately place deer as 6 months old, 18 months old, or 2 ½ or older using this easily learned technique.

This is probably a good time to bring up one of the most popular and prevalent myths of how to age game mammals, molar wear aging. This technique suggests that we should be able to determine the age of a mammal by looking at the wear on the molars. Sort of like determining the age of your tires by tread wear. In the same study by Hamlin referred to above; the accuracy of molar wear aging was 62.3% for mule deer, 42.9% for whitetails, and 50% for elk in the 3-4 year classes, 16% for elk 5 years old. They ultimately concluded that “The accuracy provided by the cementum annuli method is necessary to determine whether various physical and population parameters change significantly with age of the animal.” So what is the source of this popular myth of molar wear aging? In 1949 Wildlife Biologist C.W. Severinghaus published a study “Tooth Development and Wear as a Criteria of Age in White-tailed Deer” Journal of Wildlife Management 13:195-215. In this study he suggested two methods of aging; Eruption or tooth replacement aging and Molar wear aging. Subsequent studies since 1949 have supported his eruption aging results, but no study has been able to validate his hypothesis concerning molar wear aging. In fact in addition to the Hamlin study cited above here are some more comments by wildlife biologists in recent years:

….this widely used technique (molar wear) is very inaccurate for classifying adult deer…. (Ken Gee, Wildlife Biologist, Noble Foundation Wildlife Unit 1996 study)
We believe age-specific information and conclusions drawn….using the tooth-wear aging technique to “determine” ages of adult white-tail deer are unfounded…Review of all other published data sets using known-age deer supports this conclusion.(Wildlife Society Bulletin 2002, 30(2):387-393 Ken Gee et al.)
Ages assigned by … wear criteria were not reliable….. (Kenneth Hamlin et al. 2000 Journal of Wildlife Management 64(2):441-449)
….we conclude that tooth replacement and wear should be used for deer <2-1/2 years old, while cementum annuli should be used for deer >3-1/2 years old. (Mickey W. Hellickson, Ph.D. King Ranch Chief Wildlife Biologist 2007)
Curiously this molar wear aging is still part of the course curriculum taught to current wildlife biology students. That is probably a key reason that the myth continues.

In conclusion, if someone wants to really know the age of mature trophy game mammals, the only choice is cementum annu

Are you still accepting the pre-paid kits previously purchased?

We are currently accepting them and they just need to be sent to the new address which is 2814 Brooks St. #114 Missoula, MT 59801.

If you sent teeth to the former Texas address the mail forwarding ended in June 2018 and the teeth will be returned to you by the United States Postal service. Just re-send them to the new address and we apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you.

Can you tell me the age if I have only one of the incisors?
Yes. We ask for the second incisor as backup, in case something happens to the first incisor during processing. Also, If there is a significant difference between what we see under the microscope and the other data you have provided (including estimated age), we process the second incisor, this time taking 4 slices for analysis. We then give you the results based on what we see on these slides. So, if you only have one incisor, send it to us and we should be able to the age for you.
How do I package the teeth?

Place your order online and we will send you an envelope with instructions on how to package the teeth. In the mean time if you have already extracted them place them in a PAPER envelope and no plastic with a bit of salt to remove the moisture. We cant stress enough how plastic is not recommended. It accelerates the decomposition process and causes bacteria to grow. Allowing the sample to dry in a paper envelope allows for a dry stink free sample. Your postal worker will thank you and so will we!

My tooth broke off when extracting what should I do?

If you accidentally broke a tooth on extraction the best course of action is to saw off the whole front mandible and send the entire front row of teeth. An extra $5 will be automatically charged to your card at check in and we can ensure we get the roots we need. To read more about how to extract and prepare the teeth for shipping click here.

Where do I send the teeth?

When you place your order online a kit will be mailed to you with a return envelope. You can then ship via whatever carrier you wish and we recommend using tracking! 

Then ship within the US to:

Wildlife Analytical Laboratories
5840 Expressway Ste 1B
Missoula, MT 59808

From Canada Please see our Canadian Shipping regulations first by clicking here

Outside the US and Canada please visit the International shipping information page by Clicking HERE

Why do you ask me to provide the estimated age of the trophy? I thought I was sending those teeth to you for you to tell me that!
We are committed to giving you the most accurate information regarding the age of your trophy that we can. We long ago decided that the best way to do that was to use all the data we receive about each specimen to help us in that determination. We intend to be and believe we are the “CSI” of the game mammal aging world. One piece of that information is your estimate-which comes from your observation of the live mammal, trail cameras, etc. If there is a significant difference between what we see under the microscope and the other data you have provided (including estimated age), we process the second incisor, this time taking 4 slices for analysis. We then give you the results based on what we see on these slides.
Is there a discount for multiple sets of teeth?

We offer commercial accounts for large volume clients such as taxidermists, Ranchers, Outfitters and Researchers. Please contact us at customerservice@deerage.com to see if you qualify for a commercial account. There is no base line volume discount.

Why do people care how old their harvested deer (or other mammal) is?
Mostly asked by our non hunter friends. We like to refer to three different reasons as:
1) Respect/Honor; 2) Harvest Criteria; and 3) Scientific Management Data

What we mean by Respect/Honor is that for many hunters/wildlife stewards knowing everything possible about the life and condition of the harvested animal is just one more way to have the taking of the animal’s life be respectful and appreciative. The accurate age is one element of this knowledge.

Harvest Criteria refers to learning how to accurately age the animal prior to harvest and then verifying that decision after the fact. One way we know to communicate this is by way of an analogy. If you were a master gardener and your passion was growing tomatoes you might have as an objective raising the largest, most beautiful tomatoes you could. In addition to genetics and nutrition (soil, fertilizer and water) you would want to learn the right time to pick or harvest these tomatoes. You wouldn’t want to pick them too early or too late. Experience of picking too early & too late, over time, would allow you to do a better job at maximizing your goal—having the largest, most beautiful tomatoes you could. Whitetail deer hunters and managers have goals for bucks that are very similar to these master gardeners. They want to have the bucks they harvest achieve their maximum potential. In a whitetail that usually occurs when they are 5-6 years old. They want feedback on the deer that they harvest about how good their judgment was this time, so that they can learn and improve their skills at judging age before they squeeze the trigger or let loose of the arrow.

Scientific Management Data refers to the need to know the age of harvested mammals so as to collect data that enables correlation between habitat and the health of the mammals in that habitat. Body weight vs. age is a critical indicator over time of changes in habitat conditions either good or bad.

How to Age Harvested Game Mammals – by Henry Chidgey

Henry Chidgey founded Wildlife Analytical Laboratories in 2004 with the goal of ensuring every hunter can get an accurate age on their whitetail deer while receiving exceptional customer service. He put together this guide on how to age your animals after harvest.

Click here for pdf file on “How to Age Harvested Game Mammals”

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