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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here it is..... Last year I hunted the Rubies in nevada, shot a young buck. We had him quartered in about 40 min, then deboned for our long hike out. Back at the truck I put it on dry ice cause we still had another tag to fill. Got home took him to a processor and had it made into hamburger.... wildest, nastiest deer I've ever ate.
This year I was able to get a control doe tag for Grantsville, shot a doe gutted and took into same processor the next day.... best deer I've ever had.
I know habitat and vegetation can have something to do with the taste of venison, but I cant imagine this extreme?
I'm curious on thoughts or experiences?
 

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I've processed a lot of deer and there are ones that just have a different smell about them. I'm sure they must of had a wild taste also, what causes it? Feed, habitat, rut, I really don't know. My dad always told me the more you make them run the stronger they will taste?
 

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This is my thoughts. I honestly think it depends on the weapon and how it died. I have hunted almost exclusively with a bow for the last 15 years. In that time I have killed a big 4 point buck almost every year. I have killed them at different times of year from beginning of archery season to the end of November. I have never had a gamey tasting deer shot with a bow. I process my own and they taste as good as beef no lie. I also shot a bear with my bow. It maybe the best tasting meat I've ever had.

I have shot several cow elk with a rifle and I've shot a few deer with a rifle. I've had really bad elk and really bad deer that have all been shot with a rifle. I take care of them the same way.

My thoughts are a rifle kills with shock. A bow kills by hemorrhage. My bow kills have less blood in them. I honestly think this could be the reason for poor taste. My daughter recently shot a few mallard ducks and one coot. I brined them for three days. Brining removes most of the blood. The coot and mallards were very good.

I also think when you take a deer or elk to the game processor you don't always get your animal back. Sad to say but imho there are alot of hunters that don't properly take care of the animals they harvest. This could be a reason for bad tasting game.
 

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Here are my 2 bits on that question. I process my own meat and can't say I've ever had any truly "bad" venison, but there are a couple things that seem to be important to insure a tasty product.

1. IMO, it is vital, when doing venison, that all of the fat be trimmed off before packaging the cuts or grinding into burger or sausage. Deer fat has a lot of the gaminess that is often found objectionable. You mentioned that all the meat was ground into burger. Perhaps, the butcher left all of the deer fat in the meat when it was ground the first time and trimmed it properly the second time. It will make a huge difference.

2. Cooling right after the kill seems to make a big difference as well. Many times, there are circumstances out of our control that affect how this can be done, but a quick, complete cooling right after the kill and a day or two of aging seem to yield the very best results for me. If it is really hot when the deer is killed I will skin it once we get the deer to camp to better facilitate cooling.
 

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I'm really not sure - typically the better tasting game I've had has been younger animals. The best venison I've had was a whitetail doe I shot last November with my muzzleloader. Processed her myself and made sure to get all the silver skin and fat off that I could. I'm pretty sure it has to do with all the acorns around also. I also tried some backstrap from a buck that was killed with a bow and it was very good as well.

I shot a super old cow elk years ago - her ivories were worn and had large cavities in them. I thought that elk was great.

swbuckmaster is probably on to something about bleeding animals out - I'm convinced there are probably multiple factors that figure in to how an animal will taste once processed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well for the deer last year, when ever I quarter an animal at the site of the kill I remove any blood shot meat. I'm not sure it matters what type weapon is used. Back when the muzzleloader hunt was in Nov I shot a big rutting buck, no problems with that meat. I'm leaning towards the meat getting tainted at the processor or whats your thoughts on freezing meat before processing? I was told it wasn't a big deal? I have a cwmu tag I'm hoping to fill soon, I have till Nov 10th on that one. Be interested to see what happens in comparison. Again in all my years of hunting I've never had something taste so bad....
 

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The thing is about the archery deer, they're generally killed in an area that provides a better diet. You probably shot all your archery deer in forest settings, not in sagebrush flats.

The other thing is how you kill it, adrenaline and exertion play huge roles. An animal that has been stressed and then also run to exhaustion will be be much lower in quality because the adrenaline affects flavor while the lactic acid released from the extreme exhaustion of the muscles can cause the meat to turn mushy like a bruise.

One new thing I learned recently is that if you freeze meat right in the middle of rigor mortis it will stay that tough permanently. Was that nasty deer's meat frozen solid by the dry ice within the first 24 hours of death?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No, we was around 8500' hung for a day and a half. Deboned and put on ice when we got back... nevada high country is very arid, few pines, junipers, mountain mahogany and sage. Not the green grass and pines and aspen like utah. Even the smell while cooking was very strong. I've
wondered about this for the last year. Thought I'd throw it out there and see what everyone thought. Great input, I appreciate the responses.
 

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The biggest key to good tasting meat (in my experience) is getting it cooled off asap. This is a bit of a double edged sword, because if you are boning it out in the backcountry, the meet now has lots of exposed surface for contamination (the second key). You cut all those chunks off and throw them in a game bag or sac, and now the dirt and stuff is able to work faster on ruining the meat.

If you can keep it clean while getting it cool quickly. Your meat will turn out best.

For a deer, I usually don't bone out the hind quarters, but if it is warm, I will skin them out. That keeps it the cleanest while still letting it cool. If it is snowy, that is best because it keeps things clean and cools them off.
 

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The thing is about the archery deer, they're generally killed in an area that provides a better diet. You probably shot all your archery deer in forest settings, not in sagebrush flats.
the deer I've killed have been killed in different places at different times of the year. Some were up high, some in the scrub oak. The last one was killed living in juniper trees and tasted like beef. So i'm not convinced sage deer will taste different.
 

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1. IMO, it is vital, when doing venison, that all of the fat be trimmed off before packaging the cuts or grinding into burger or sausage. Deer fat has a lot of the gaminess that is often found objectionable. You mentioned that all the meat was ground into burger. Perhaps, the butcher left all of the deer fat in the meat when it was ground the first time and trimmed it properly the second time. It will make a huge difference.
I think your correct about the fat. I always cut off every bit of fat I find on a deer and elk. It seems to hold a good chunk of the gamey flavor. I however rendered all my bear fat down and used it to cook pretty much anything without a gamey taste. Not sure if it would work for deer though.
 

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The fat or "tallow" is where the gaminess comes from.

I've heard people around here think antelope tastes too gamey, I had some this weekend that was outstanding.
 

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Properly cared for Antelope is one of the mildest "wild game" meats out there, family favorite at our house. Never had a bad one... really never had a bad anything though, we go out of our way to make sure they are treated / processed properly.


-DallanC
 

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I think your correct about the fat. I always cut off every bit of fat I find on a deer and elk. It seems to hold a good chunk of the gamey flavor. I however rendered all my bear fat down and used it to cook pretty much anything without a gamey taste. Not sure if it would work for deer though.
I rendered some fat from my cow elk this year, no gamey flavor from that.
 

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Did you remove the glands from the hind quarters and shoulders. Also trim all the fat(tallow) that you can. Remove most of the shock area from the meat where the bullet when thru the muscles. Remove any stomach or gut debris from animal and wash with plenty of water. remove any meat contaminated and discolored by gut content. Care and preparation of the meat before you give it to a game processer is important as is proper cooling and refrigeration. I have also found that diet that the animals are feeding on makes a great difference in the taste of the product also.
 

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Did you remove the glands from the hind quarters and shoulders. Also trim all the fat(tallow) that you can. Remove most of the shock area from the meat where the bullet when thru the muscles. Remove any stomach or gut debris from animal and wash with plenty of water. remove any meat contaminated and discolored by gut content. Care and preparation of the meat before you give it to a game processer is important as is proper cooling and refrigeration. I have also found that diet that the animals are feeding on makes a great difference in the taste of the product also.
Lots of great notes here; big one though is if you are taking your animals to a processor, be careful of any who only give you back meat in weight (it may not be yours at all). I for one will always process my own meat.
 

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If it don't taste great medium rare off the grill, I just season it different, smoke it, grind it, stuff it, and then eat it with cheese and crackers......sometimes while Steelhead fishing.-----SS
 
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