Tight Spot Quivers
whitetail vs mule deer?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Fran 22-Aug-09
jay.s 22-Aug-09
Zbone 22-Aug-09
StickFlicker 22-Aug-09
Fran 22-Aug-09
tonyo6302 22-Aug-09
The Old Sarge 22-Aug-09
Rooselk 22-Aug-09
StickFlicker 22-Aug-09
Buckfvr 23-Aug-09
Ron 23-Aug-09
Buckfvr 23-Aug-09
Ron 23-Aug-09
Buckfvr 23-Aug-09
sea level 23-Aug-09
Sunstroke'd 23-Aug-09
Ron 24-Aug-09
Owl 24-Aug-09
Buckfvr 24-Aug-09
wildwilderness 24-Aug-09
notags 24-Aug-09
Ron 25-Aug-09
DL 25-Aug-09
glacier 25-Aug-09
wannabelkhntr 25-Aug-09
Elkman 03-Nov-19
LKH 03-Nov-19
IdyllwildArcher 03-Nov-19
Ambush 03-Nov-19
Jaquomo 03-Nov-19
Ambush 04-Nov-19
Grey Ghost 04-Nov-19
GF 04-Nov-19
Treeline 04-Nov-19
TrapperKayak 04-Nov-19
Paul@thefort 04-Nov-19
TrapperKayak 04-Nov-19
TrapperKayak 04-Nov-19
Jaquomo 04-Nov-19
Rocky D 04-Nov-19
cnelk 04-Nov-19
Bake 04-Nov-19
Cazador 04-Nov-19
Cazador 04-Nov-19
Brotsky 04-Nov-19
PECO 04-Nov-19
Stoneman 04-Nov-19
Grey Ghost 04-Nov-19
TrapperKayak 04-Nov-19
Grey Ghost 05-Nov-19
TrapperKayak 05-Nov-19
Genesis 05-Nov-19
N-idaho 05-Nov-19
BOHNTR 05-Nov-19
ELKMAN 05-Nov-19
rallison 05-Nov-19
LKH 05-Nov-19
APauls 05-Nov-19
Grey Ghost 05-Nov-19
cnelk 05-Nov-19
cnelk 05-Nov-19
cnelk 05-Nov-19
cnelk 05-Nov-19
TrapperKayak 05-Nov-19
Grey Ghost 05-Nov-19
cnelk 05-Nov-19
Copperhead 05-Nov-19
From: Fran
22-Aug-09
I love whitail meat but never ate mule deer . Was wondering if it is as good?

From: jay.s
22-Aug-09
never ate whitail but i would think a deer eating corn & beans all summer would taste better than a sagebrush muley,that being said i love blacktail & muledeer meat. jay

From: Zbone
22-Aug-09
Venison is venison...

From: StickFlicker
22-Aug-09
I would say it is likely much more important on what they were eating, than to which of the two species it is, everything else being equal.

22-Aug-09
Personally I think it has more to do with how the meat is cared for after the kill than either the species or their diet. If the fat is white it should be good,, Yellow fat,, well you decided

From: Fran
22-Aug-09
Thanks guys you bring up a good point about diet. I thought it might have a different flavor. Guess one of these days I'll have to go muley hunting and find out for myself.

From: tonyo6302
22-Aug-09
Well, I have been lucky enough to live places from coast to coast, and lucky enough to kill whitetail, blacktail, and mule deer.

It all tastes pretty much the same.

However, the best tasting venison to me, came off of public land in North Carolina. Whatever the deer were eating in the Croatan National Forest, made them taste a tad sweeter than any other, to me.

I never did figure out what it was they were eating that caused that.

Tony

22-Aug-09
I can definately tell a difference in taste between whitetail and mule deer. At least the ones I've eaten. But both are good and I wouldn't want to have to choose at the exclusion of the other.

The Odl Sarge

From: Rooselk
22-Aug-09
Although I've had whitetail more than a few times, I've primarily eaten mulies and blacktail. I tend to agree with Jay S on this. That said, the best venison I've ever eaten came from a blacktail.

From: StickFlicker
22-Aug-09
Here in AZ where we have Desert Mule Deer and Mule Deer that live in the forest, I can tell you that the desert variety is consistently more mild in my opinion, as is Coues deer that also lives in high "desert" P/J country. I think it is the diet the deer eat in the desert more so than anything (assuming care of the meat is equal).

From: Buckfvr
23-Aug-09
I have taken mulie, white-tail, and black-tail here in Wa., and even though they can taste a bit different, the only exception would be the stronger taste of a sage brush mulie. A black-tail that gorges himself on berries in the late summer and early fall can be particularly delicious. Where I live now, its a white-tail show, and they seem to be pretty mild, overall great eating. R

From: Ron
23-Aug-09
I've eaten both and I could never tell any difference and doubt many people can. As far as diet goes it is only an old wives tale about mulies eating sage. They will feed in the sage but I assure you it is the plant live among the sage that they eat not the sage alone.

From: Buckfvr
23-Aug-09
You better bone up on your wives tales......you are dead wrong. Mule deer browse on sage, spring, and winter. ALways have, always will. R

From: Ron
23-Aug-09
Well I hope our mullies in Kansas don't starve, because most of our state doesn't even have sage.

From: Buckfvr
23-Aug-09
Obviously if it isnt there, they dont eat it, rather if its available as with many of the items they browse, then they will browse on it. Kansas doesnt set the table for all the mulies in the west. R

From: sea level
23-Aug-09
We have muleys and sage i haven`t really seen then gorgeing on it. A big old ruttin whitetail you can eat . i have shot a couple big muleys that you can`t get enough garlic in the sausage to eat it.

From: Sunstroke'd
23-Aug-09
I haven't had the opportunity to eat mule deer. I usually hunt the coues whitetail. And we can only kill 1 deer a yr. I do find it amusing that many locals will call the desert mule deer, "carp deer". I'm solely hunting carp deer this yr, maybe I can find out for myself.

From: Ron
24-Aug-09
Buckfvr, I started hunting mullies back in 1969, we didn't have much of a deer herd here in Kansas so we had to got to CO. to bow hunt. Even back then the argument over deer and sage went on. We only made it up to CO. during hunting season so we were by no means an authority on mule deer. We saw the bigger bucks in the sage each evening and we too thought they were eating it until we started watching them. What they were eating was the plant life under and around the sage. It must have been in the late 70s when CO had a real bad winter and they lost a large portion of the deer. The lost was because the deer were coming down from the mountains and trying to stay alive bu eating hay the ranchers were feeding their cattle. If a diet of sage could have kept them alive I'm sure they could have fed off of that but they didn't instead they hit the hay and died.

From: Owl
24-Aug-09
Best venison I've had is canned mule deer. Killed in Alberta.

From: Buckfvr
24-Aug-09
google Mule deer forage, go to the wikipedia link, scroll down and click on forage, and note sage is listed as winter forage. Do they gorge on it ? Not that I have noticed, can they survive on it? no....it has some toxic values. Do they BROWSE on it? YES I have personally seen them eat new growth in the spring, and eat leaves in fall and winter. A bite here, a bite there....nothing like they do in alfalfa or wheat, or wild berries, apples or other fruits. My point was/is.....they do browse on it. R

24-Aug-09
I have shot many of both.(mule deer, blacktail, coues, and whitetail)

Whitetail taste better! Ask my WIFE! she won't eat mule deer!

of course it always depends on the animal, younger taste better, how it was killed, cleaned butchered and if it was rutting.

From: notags
24-Aug-09
I think diet has a HUGE impact on how they taste. I killed two whitetails in Iowa that were eating turnips alfalfa, corn etc. Incredible! Best venison I have ever had. I have a mature Coues whitetail from the desert, and a young muley from the mountains currently in the freezer...the Coues is far superior to the muley. The meat was handled the same way and cooled down quickly. Totaly different diets.

25-Aug-09
I've eaten corn and alfalfa fed whitetails and whitetails from the northwoods that have never seen a farm crop in their life.

The most tender and probably one of the best tasting whitetails I ever shot was a 233 pound (dressed) 9 year old 10 point buck that lived in the dense remote bush of Ontario, Canada... eh.

Never tasted mule deer.

From: Ron
25-Aug-09
All I can say is that after 40 years of hunting and eating them I sure could never taste any difference between them. I have shot more mullies than white tail both from Western Kansas and CO. than white tail but way too many to have kept count.

I think by the most part too many people expect deer to taste like beef and cook it like they cook beef. The best advise I have is to marry a woman that knows how to cook deer. The best way however to cook deer is over an open camp fire with a lot of freinds joining in.

Years ago when I was in the service I was stationed in NFLD. My neighbor was a guide and had access to all the moose meat we could eat. Beef was expensive so after two years of eating nothing but moose we had trouble getting use to beef again when I got home. I had never noticed it before but beef actually has a milky taste. If you want to served deer and have it taste like beef soak it in milk over night.

From: DL
25-Aug-09
A rutting mulie, not good.

From: glacier
25-Aug-09
I live in an area with both mulies and whitetails. THe species makes very little difference in flavor. Their habitat (food) and stage of rut make way more difference in the eating experience. I've shot mulies out of riverbottom alfalfa and barley fields that taste great and I've shot whitetails that were living up in the sagebrush and pines that had to be made into sausage to be edible.

25-Aug-09
Fran, I can shoot both mulies and whitetail where I live here in western KS. I am not an expert, but IMO, if I was to hand you 2 bowls of chili one made with WT ground and one made with mulie ground. I don't think you'd be able to tell much difference if any. If I was to grill you kabobs, one with WT and one with mulie meat, I don't think you'd be able to tell much of a difference.

Personally, I notice the greatest difference in the smell of the ground meat frying and the prep of the steaks vs the final product.

From: Elkman
03-Nov-19
Venison is not venison! I've taken many whitetail and many mule deer. Contrary to what I've seen written here, they are not the same! Whitetail can have a "gamey" taste. Mule deer does not. I live in South West Colorado and the mule deer often taste as good as elk meat (surprise!). I took an 10 year old rutting mule deer that weighed 322 pounds two years ago and it tasted as good as elk. At the same time, mule deer that eat sage brush taste terrible! Just like eating bear, it depends on what THEY eat.

From: LKH
03-Nov-19
Was guiding out of Douglas. We had 5 clients and they were on 5 day hunts. By the 4th day they all took good trophies. None wanted the meat since they had heard mule deer didn't taste good.

I took all the backstraps and loins. On the 5th day as they were watching tv in the lodge I asked the cook if I could have the kitchen. Cooked all 5 loins and sent them to the hunters and other guides. Every bit disappeared and my client "Denny" told his partner "John" that next year they were taking meat back.

Wife and I ate backstrap all winter.

03-Nov-19
10 year old thread.

My experience is that mule deer do not taste as good as white tail, but the desert mule deer taste better and Coues deer are better than them all. Black tails from Kodiak are absolutely delicious. I think it's as good as elk. I've served it to a few Eskimos who have only ever eaten caribou and moose and they raved about it as they do elk.

My kids ask me to shoot more elk/mountain goats and less deer.

From: Ambush
03-Nov-19
^^^^ Yup. Whitetail bucks (here anyway) definitely tastes better than mule deer bucks. But the Sitka from the coastal islands are far, far better than either. Must be the food which is green and lush nearly year round and possibly the kelp on the beaches. Four of us ate an entire yearling buck on one, three day trip, breakfast, lunch and supper.

From: Jaquomo
03-Nov-19
Totally agree with Elkman. I hunt mule deer and whitetails in the same place. They eat the same forage - river bottom browse, winter wheat, millet. I only shoot mature bucks during the rut. I'll take mule deer any day over whitetail meat, hands-down.

From: Ambush
04-Nov-19
Jaq, it's little wonder your Lady had such a big smile on her face. Knowing she could eat that delicious cow elk instead of your rut buck!

I like most all game meat and even rutty mule deer if the hide is off pronto and carcass cooled fast. But some of them have a smell as soon as they hit the pan.

From: Grey Ghost
04-Nov-19
Holy thread from the dead....!!

I've killed plenty of both species. I've never had a bad piece of whitetail, but I've killed rutted up mulies that my wife and I couldn't eat...even chili made from the burger tasted rutty.

Matt

From: GF
04-Nov-19
I’d MUCH rather eat Mule Deer, because that would mean I had gotten to HUNT Mule Deer.

Besides... they don’t seem to eat a lot of sage in the summer. Maybe by late rifle there’s a biggger shift.

From: Treeline
04-Nov-19
Hard to believe how some of these old ones pop back up!

I think Ike’s kids like that Mt Goat because of all the tenderizing he did to it in the field;-)

Have had late season mule deer that was excellent. Cook up elk and mule deer for company and the mule deer disappeared before the elk!

Have had lots of deer meat over the years - Coues, desert mule deer, Texas whitetail, Kansas whitetail, mule deer from all over, Kodiak blacktail... Very few bad ones.

From: TrapperKayak
04-Nov-19
I used to shoot mulies in the NF south of Bozeman. They were consistently some of the best tasting deer I ever ate, including the bigger bucks. Not sure what they were eating but it was not sage, and they tasted delicious.

From: Paul@thefort
04-Nov-19

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I will take Coues WT deer meat over any another deer species.

From: TrapperKayak
04-Nov-19
Worst tasting deer I ever ate was a mulie doe that was fresh (didn't know it had a fawn with it or I wouldn't have shot it). Shot it in the foothills of the Bridgers on the Bozeman side. It was almost inedible. And yes deer that eat sage do have sagy taste depending on how much they eat. Just as a comparison, I shot a sage grouse once and it was just like eating a sagebush.

From: TrapperKayak
04-Nov-19
IMO, NO deer meat even comes close to a good dry cow elk harvest. Deer is good to fall back on in the event of not killing an elk.

From: Jaquomo
04-Nov-19
Mulies that feed on bitterbrush - purshia tridentata - in NW Colorado definitely seem to have a tainted taste. But the pronghorn buck I shot this year was in heavy bitterbrush country and might be the best wild game meat I've ever had.

From: Rocky D
04-Nov-19
I prefer big woods whitetail that eat nature’s bounty compared to corn fed ad soybeans.

That said coues deer have been great and surprisingly a desert mule deer was superb.

From: cnelk
04-Nov-19
Is there a difference in taste between WT & MD? Sure. Just like elk doesnt taste like moose, and antelope doesnt taste like deer.

Thats one of the reasons I hunt different species. Variety in taste

From: Bake
04-Nov-19
I’ve only killed one mulie. An early season buck from NE Arizona. He was pretty dang good. I thought he was better than a whitetail.

From: Cazador
04-Nov-19
I'm convinced deer only tastes "Great" when you don't have an elk in the freezer. That's what I tell a friend of mine anyways.

From: Cazador
04-Nov-19

From: Brotsky
04-Nov-19
I prefer mule deer to whitetail, but then again I prefer pronghorn to both so maybe I have a preference for sage/grass feeders. Elk is superior to both but I'm a crappy elk hunter so I have to eat what I can kill, or at least what Kia can kill anyway.

From: PECO
04-Nov-19
I enjoy the mule deer out here in Colorado. The whitetail deer I have killed and eaten off of the wife's family farm near Lansing Michigan were better eating. They feast on corn, soy beans, clover, alfalpha, food plots, etc.

From: Stoneman
04-Nov-19
Having eaten more deer than elk, that maybe true. However, you are what you eat. Plains mule deer are some of the best. Same with a good corn fed whitetail. Deer are primarily browsers. It just depends on what they are browsing on. Crops like corn, wheat, oats, alfalfa, etc are hard to beat for a deer's main diet.

From: Grey Ghost
04-Nov-19
The taste quality of the mulies in my area seems to depend on what time in the season they are shot. Every early season buck I've killed was fine. The big boys I've killed around Thanksgiving were awful. The meat smelled and tasted like a tarsal gland.

Matt

From: TrapperKayak
04-Nov-19
'The meat smelled and tasted like a tarsal gland.' Trick to that is to cut off the entire tarsal glands as soon as you get to your kill, without touching anything else with that knife or your hands in the process. Don't leave any of the tainted hair from that gland on the legs. Dispose of immediately, and wash everything that touched it immediately. This I am convinced significantly reduces the gamey, glandular taste in a rutting deer's meat esp. if hung in the cold for a week, even with hide on. That's my experience and I swear by it. I've shot a lot of Nov. mulie bucks and none of them ever tasted like tarsal glands, or anything else 'gamey' when I did that. I learned to remove them after leaving them on a whitetail once.. it works. They were delicious.

From: Grey Ghost
05-Nov-19
I always remove the tarsal glands first. Doesn't seem to matter with these bucks.

Matt

From: TrapperKayak
05-Nov-19
I know the first antelope I shot was almost inedible with 'rut' smell/taste. Nothing I could do to get rid of that horrible taste. I ate it all anyway. Shot three more after that that were delicious, but still had that slight 'goat' taste that I remembered from the first one. The deer were all fine except that one doe. So probably just a matter of luck for me.

From: Genesis
05-Nov-19
Lou mirrors my experience perfectly.Ive only killed a half dozen mulie,all from NW Colorado and all rank.The locals told me the same after deer three I became a follower of the principle.Last two I had processed and beef mixed in and loved up with the guys favorite spices..........only slightly less rank

From: N-idaho
05-Nov-19
Half the mule deer I’ve shot were rank tasting the other half couldn’t tell the difference from whitetail.

From: BOHNTR
05-Nov-19
Mule deer are turned into jerky.....the entire carcass!

When I’m blessed with a whitey, steaks and burger are anticipated. Of course the whitetails I’ve taken have lived near crops.

From: ELKMAN
05-Nov-19
In my opinion an early bow killed dry yearling whitetail is BY FAR the best meat on the N. American continent. (Killed and handled properly of course) Mule deer is a fine meat, but a VERY distant second, third, or fourth...

From: rallison
05-Nov-19
Being from Wisconsin most of my venison has been home grown. I'm in south-central state and hunt mixed terrain...about an equal mix of forrest & farmland. If the deer is cared for properly, it's good...if NOT, it can be pretty rank. Any venison I've had from northern tamarack swampland was fit for sausage only!

I've also taken several Wyoming high country mulies, and the same can be said...take care and it's good. My last one I shot after 3 days of snow, on my last hunting day. I boned him out gutless, packed the meat in cheesecloth game bags, and tossed them in the snow. After breaking our camp, we packed meat in coolers for the 1000 mile drive home. That was the best venison I've ever had...mulie or whitetail.

But...yeah...it all pales in comparison to elk!

From: LKH
05-Nov-19
I've eaten a lot of mule and WT deer in the last half century and never cut a tarsal gland off. Never had any tainted taste.

I'd like someone to provide a good method for the tarsal gland smell and taste to travel throughout the meat when the animal is dead and has zero blood movement.

I think cutting the tarsal gland off is right up there with cutting a deer's throat after it's dead.

From: APauls
05-Nov-19
My preference for the deer species after shooting and eating several of each is Moose>elk>mulie>whitetail. So basically, bigger is better lol.

From: Grey Ghost
05-Nov-19
Well, Im not making up my experiences, nor am I a biologist. All I know is, I grew up killing Mulies in September thru mid-October. I never had a bad piece of meat from those critters. It wasn't until I started killing dominant Muley bucks in the rut that I experienced the nasty rutty tasting meat.

Matt

From: cnelk
05-Nov-19

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
I killed this buck Saturday. Processed him yesterday. Had some steaks last night. Yum yum. This buck probably never ate any sage as he lived his life in the timber along with the elk.

From: cnelk
05-Nov-19

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: cnelk
05-Nov-19

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: cnelk
05-Nov-19

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: TrapperKayak
05-Nov-19
Yeah, probably right, I've considered that myself, no blood flow to distribute tarsal stink in the meat...but there is far less chance of me inadvertently touching it and then some of the meat while handling the buck if its not on the leg. I just know it seems to work for me, because two years ago I didn't cut them off a doe I shot, and it was a very gamey tasting. I had two does hanging at the same time, and the other one I had cut them off. that onw tasted way better than the one I didn't. So I figured it was a sensible conclusion, that and the quality of all the others I cut them off of, compared to ones I didn't. But I see your point. I'll keep doing it. Sometimes I save them and hang them near scrapes too. I had a small buck come sniff at one once, no big ones though. I have tied them to my boots in the past too. anyway back to the original subject, I generally think both species of deer are good with a few exceptions. A corn fed yearling doe WT is hard to beat when it comes to deer.

From: Grey Ghost
05-Nov-19
Cnelk,

Looks like perfectly cooked venison to me. You must have used a sues vide...(smirk).

;-)

Matt

From: cnelk
05-Nov-19
^^^ No sous vide this time. Just good ol cast iron

From: Copperhead
05-Nov-19
I'll take Mule deer over Whitetail any day. I hunt Mulies in central Wyoming and have killed Whitetail from north to south Missouri and SE Kansas. I haven't found anyone yet that would eat the crop fed Whitetails liver but have had many people who don't like liver eat Mule deer liver and actually enjoyed it.

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