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I am primarily interested in meat at this point in the season. I have been seeing almost only does, but a small bucks showed up the other day (with one antler). I was debating the question of meat quality at this point in the late season vs during the rut. I would like to hear your advice/comments.
I would say meat is better any time when not in rut. I have eaten some small bucks and they are tasty. But if I have a choice, a nice fat doe is the way to go.
It will taste great.
The secret to any meat being really good is getting as much time on it in proper temperatures aging. I’ve killed deer in late December and left the hide on while hanging them. And processed those deer in late March. I’ve done the same to deer that I got the hide off the night I hung them. But, was able to process late February or early March. They thaw quicker with no hide. And they were INCREDIBLE. I buy a beef most every year and it’s really good. But, a deer that hangs like that has no equal in taste. And, they will melt in your mouth.
Anyways, that buck would taste yummy eitherway. Trust me on that.
Depends on which one is closer to me!!!
A small buck taste just fine. I wouldn't hesitate.
Whichever one that gives you the best shot. I usually shoot mature mule deer bucks during the rut, which people tell me should taste awful. I hang and age them for 10-12 days and they are delicious.
If it’s legal shoot what you want. I’ve shot bucks and does of all sizes and ages. I leave fawns alone. I field dress them to cool them down as fast as possible, and have always butchered my own. I mark all packages date of kill, buck or doe, and property where shot. That way if I ever ran into some that tasted “different” I would know which deer it was. I have never been able to distinguish between any in 35+ years of hunting. That being said these are all agricultural area whitetails and that could make a difference.
Almost all venison tastes good to me but fawns are kind of blah. Almost without flavor. Wife says the same thing about Sitka Blacktail. Eaten a lot of mature muley and they are great.
If there are a lot of does around, you should shoot one or three of them.
I always supply napkins when eating fawns for that inevitable milk looking moustache.
in a blind taste test you won't have a clue which is which.
Haven't met a plate of venison I didnt like , young ,old fat or skinny.
I put both bucks and doe in the freezer cannot tell them apart when I eat them.
Time of year has nothing to do with the taste of venison. How you handle the deer after harvest has EVERYTHING to do with the taste of venison.
Shot a small button buck in Mississippi, he wasn’t fit to eat. Stunk the house up when we tried to cook it. Cotton balls and pine cones aren’t good food for deer.
Listen to what WVMountaineer says. Age at least 4 weeks with the hide on. Phenomenal in comparison to what we used to do which was quarter and place in ice and water for a few days. Doesn’t matter the age or sex either.
Best tasting deer from my experience are 1.5-2.5 year old bucks. Does have lots of hormones running through them.
I guess everyone's taste buds are different. I've killed a lot of mule deer bucks in and out of the rut. I always treat the meat with great care, and hang/age them for at least a week before processing. The mature bucks I've killed in the rut have always had a distinct "gamey" flavor compared to the ones killed before or after the rut.
Oddly, I've never noticed that with the whitetail bucks I've killed. They've all been great tasting.
Never had a bad tasting deer. August, high rut, whitetail, mulies, sage, bush, agriculture, buck, doe, fawn, yearling, 6 year old all taste great. I am anal from field to fork on cleaning and prep though.
Shoot a big fat doe and then let her age about 5 days at 36-40 degrees. Delicious
I agree a young buck or younger doe will eat the same. I will say though that deer from big ag areas. Like Kansas,Iowa, Nebraska etc definitely eat better than deer from the northeast or even the southeast. I have killed quite a few of rutting bucks in those mid-western states and everyone has tasted way better than anything from here in the northeast! Shawn
I'm with you Adam. I've had mule deer and whitetails from all ages, sexes, and seasons and they all taste the same to me.
I like em all. I have a crock pot just started this morning with some deer steaks cut in bite size pieces. It will be done by suppertime. Deer meat is always tender from the crock pot. I don't use any water at all just condensed mushroom soup with taters, onions, canned corn and plenty of deer meat. All my deer are hung about five days before skinning and butchering. Also all the meat is vacuum sealed.