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From state to state can the quality of deer meat be drastic in taste and texture?
I live and hunt in WNY farm country, decent soil, good deer herd, healthy, and definitely abundant. All the deer I have harvested are within 2 miles of my home, usually a clean no stress shot on most of them... meat usually tastes good depending on age and gender of course.
I recently had a chance to sample a deer shot and processed in Michigan... back-strap butterflies and burger nothing added. For the life of me I have never cooked and tasted a better piece of Venison in 48 yrs of eating "speed beef"... butterflies were like Filet Mignon and the burger... well lets just say if someone cooked it and served it to me I would not believe it was deer meat.
I'm in south central Wisconsin, with a mix of agriculture and natural mast and browse. The venison is great! Travel a few hours north, and the tamarack swamp deer...not so much! The best venison I've ever had was from high country Wyoming mulies. When possible, we skin them "gutless", wrap in cheesecloth, and toss in the snow to cool right away. Packed in coolers for the 1000 mile drive home, and no worries. I dunno, but there's something about sagebrush that makes great eats.
I live in WI and have shot deer in the ag country in the central part of the state and in the big timber/swamp country in the far north. I can't say I have ever been able to tell the difference between location, age, or sex.
I've eaten venison from all over Wisconsin, also Iowa, Missouri and Kansas. But the best tasting venison I ever had came from a big old buck from the remote bush of Ontario Canada that ate nothing but browse his entire life.
Mostly has to do with how it dies and how well you take care of it. I will say though that corn and soybeen fed deer of the mid-west from Ohio to Kansas eat great. Shawn
By and large, I have found that if I want "good venison" shoot young deer. The second key is to get them cool ASAP. I don't believe in "hanging" them in the garage for a few days. If you don't have a place with controlled temperature all you are doing is encouraging rot.
The final point is look at what they are eating. Mountain bucks or does that eat mostly acorns and browse are going to taste a lot harsher than ones that love on clover and corn.
If you want "good venison" shoot a mature buck. They taste better when looking at their rack on the wall as you are eating! In all seriousness I don't think I noticed that much difference in age. I think the deer's diet and if meat was properly taking care of has the biggest impact. Also I think it comes down to personal taste and/or what you are use to. For example I believe there is no better meat than pronghorn. A lot of folks think it is not fit for a dog.
I guess I'm lucky. Live and eat deer from Southern Michigan ag country. I do my best for clean kills and to process them right. Venison has been excellent eating for the most part. No experience with white tails from anywhere else. Going to do my best at herd control this fall, I ran out of venison way too early this year.
I believe it to be a personal preference as I believe sage fed mule deer are the worst tasting animals on the planet. They even stink when cooking them. Kill one 3 miles down the drainage on alfalfa and it's unbelievable though.
I've eaten deer from northern and central MN, northern and sounthern MI, IA and MO. They've mostly all been great. The worst were always mature bucks in rut. The best were deer from IA.
Yes on the mature bucks. Fawns are just about tasteless and it's been a couple decades since I ate any.
When I moved to New Mexico I was surprised to hear many people say that they like to eat elk but can't stand deer. I assumed NM mule deer tasted bad because of this. After over 30 years in NM I can't for the life of me understand why they think mule deer taste bad.
My family has shot them in August, September, October, November and January. I've still not had a bad one. Midwest whitetails, good. Mexico coues' deer, good, Alaska blacktails, good. Colorado and New Mexico mule deer, all good.
I don't agree that younger deer taste better. I also don't agree that cow elk taste better than old rutting bulls. Rutting caribou, that's a whole different animal. They can be really bad.
Montana mountain mulie from the Hyalite Canyon...nothing tastes better (except elk).
I can't claim to have a wide range of experience, but the best deer I ever ate was a Northern White Mts Mule deer killed in August in Arizona. Man that deer was good!
I have easily had meat of off over 100 deer I harvested. Young does are better old bucks worse - generally speaking. It is rare I have a piece that compares to moo cow. Tender = young, always. Occasionally I have a random deer that tastes good - for no apparent reason.
Note it depends on how hungry you are. I swear mnt house spaghetti is gourmet fine dinning when I am hungry and getting back to camp a hour after dark backpacked in. Back home it tastes like ketchup, undercooked noodles - bad. Seriously.
I've had Whitetails from Il., Ia., Ws., La., Ms., all ages & Mountain Mule Deer from Co. Never had a bad one. Elk from the high country. Never a bad one.. I had one animal that I could not eat (two actually, 1 a Red Sheep & 1 A Corsican. I gave them to the Ranch hands). Goat & Sheep not for me.
nothing better than a deer that hasn't seen its first winter. Yet some don't care for the pale milky look.
I've only eaten deer from western NY.
I've shot younger bucks, does, and a yearling. Never noticed a taste difference. The only thing that was maybe noticeable is that the yearling may have been a bit more tender/ "delicate" to taste. But still smelled like raw deer meat all the same.
Also these were "swamp deer" Flooded, marshy, wooded wet bird refugee area. They all tasted great. And they didn't hang any longer than it took the butcher in his garage to process and get to mine.
Never had one with bad ‘flavor’ to the venison. The tenderness varies dramatically. The really young ones are often the most tender. But even older deer, as long as you don’t freeze the meat prematurely, can be tender too. The toughest wild meat I ever ate was a young moose that we butchered immediately, then hung overnight in 10 degree temperatures and it froze solid. Every cut we tried later was super tough to chew.
I grilled beef ribeyes for the family over the 4th of July. We all loved it, but my 14 year old said he liked my grilled venison better. He loves venison steaks done medium on the grill that have been marinated in Montreal Steak Seasoning. I got to admit, I love it too as does the whole family. To be fair, I didn't do anything to the ribeyes before grilling.