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arrowflipper's picture
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Is one better eating than the other

I recently posted a forum topic on which deer, the muley or whitetail, you'd rather hunt.  I am enjoying the responses a great deal.  Here's another question that goes hand in hand with that one...... is one of the two deer better eating than the other.

I've heard people say that whitetail is better eating because it doesn't eat sage.  I've eaten a bunch of both and frankly......... 

exbiologist's picture
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I don't think so

I've eaten a lot of deer, including protein fed fawns.  I'm sensitive to the sagey flavor of antelope, but I don't tend to notice it in deer.  Heck, the 10 year old buck I shot in the sage this year tastes just fine.  I find the age of the animal to have more affect on the quality of the meat than its diet nowadays.  But it's all very subjective.  Or maybe I don't find that old buck objectionable because I eat so much antelope now.  Who knows?

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Just the opposite in my humble opinion! I

Just the opposite in my humble opinion Arrowfipper! 

I would much rather eat mule deer BECAUSE they eat the sage.  I don’t want any old gamey old white tail that lives on bark if I can get a sage eating muley.  I'm sure it depends on the deer, how it is harvested, how the animal is treated after it is down, the quality of field dressing and butchering and storage and cooking along with the animal’s diet and gender and age – all of these affect the flavor of the meat – probably more so even than whether it’s a mule deer or white tail deer.  I've never had black tail so I can’t speak to that.  That’s my two cents worth of rant on this topic anyway!

So Arrow-flipper – you’ve had more of all of them than I have - what do YOU think?

buffybr's picture
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I like to eat them both

I like to eat them both, but let's see...a muley on a sage brush diet or a whitey on an alfafa diet.  Mmmmm???

Actually I like elk better and bighorn sheep the best, only it's many, many years between sheep tags.

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I agree that in general the

I agree that in general the most important thing is how the meat was taken care of. Many people tell me that antelope is terrible yet it has always been my favorite. Now I rarely get to eat whitetail but I remember when I was a kid and first moved to Colorado from Upper Michigan that I enjoyed eating mule deer much more than the acorn eating whitetails I grew up hunting. But again I felt the same way with the whitetail I killed in Texas this last year as it seemed much less gamey and more tender than I've been used to.

I think there are just too many variables in the care of the meat, the age of the deer, and what they have been eating to just flat out say that one is better than the other. Besides that if properly prepared they are all great.

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YUM!!!   I love to eat wild

YUM!!!   I love to eat wild game as much as i do to hunt them.   Deer is my chose, but elk is a close 2nd.   Antelope is ok but you have to tend to it quickly after they are down because of the time of year you hunt them.   Javelina is a tuff one to eat but, it was not done right with field dressed.  No one told me about the gland on there back.  gross!!!  Oryx is amazing to eat and hunt.

buffybr's picture
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Wild meat

I agree 100% that the taste of wild meat greatly depends on how it is cared for.  I don't like a strong wild taste.  The primary source of the meat that I eat is wild game.  I also process all of my game meat myself.

First, I strive for a quick, clean kill.  An animal that has been chased for miles and has been shot multiple times is off to a bad start in the taste department.

Next, I field dress it where it falls.  The quicker you open it up, the quicker the carcass will begin to cool.  And if a shot hit too far back and put a hole in any of the organs that contain objectionable fluids, I want to remove those organs as quick as possible to reduce the flow of those fluids into the edible meat.  If I don't to save the cape for mounting, I will open the neck all the way and remove the windpipe.  I will then try to drag the animal into as much shade as possible, and roll the animal with the open cavity down to help with the fluid drainage. 

As soon as I get the animal back to camp I will hang it in the shade.  Putting the animal in a breathable game bag or liberal sprinkling of black pepper will help keep flies from getting to the carcass.  Washing the inside of the cavity with clean water or snow will help to cool it quicker and to make it cleaner, but it must be hung to throughly drain.  I leave the hide on to help keep the meat clean and to eliminate the crust that forms on exposed meat.  I quarter large animals like elk and moose before I hang them as that helps in the cooling and makes the pieces easier to manage.

Last year it was very warm when I was pronghorn hunting, so after I hung my buck overnight to drain and cool, I boned out all of the meat, put it in large zip lock bags, and put them in a cooler with ice. 

I usually like to hang my animals for 7-10 days to age or help tenderize especially older animals before I process the meat.  This time is dependant on the weather.  If it's too hot, the meat can spoil, and if it's too cold, it will freeze.

When I cut up my animals, I am very meticulous about removing all fat, bloodshot meat, bones, and the ligaments and tendons that attach the muscles to the bones.  The cleaner the meat is the better the taste will be.  Even the meat that I grind into burger has literaly no white in it.  I do add 10% clean beef fat to my burger, and double grind it.

Properly cared for, wild game meat is some of the best eating there is!

 

arrowflipper's picture
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very much alike

Sounds like we do things very much alike.  I agree with everything you said.  I can't imagine taking my wild game to someone else to process.  When I open a package of my game meat, I KNOW what I'm getting and I know it's as good as it can get.  We love wild game but it's because I take care of it properly from the field dressing to the table.  Thanks for a great reply.  af

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I had that exact fear when

I had that exact fear when moving out here 15 years ago.  I had heard that the mule deer would taste like sage, due to them consuming that.

Well, I got a nice doe a couple years later, and I can tell you, she tasted no different than the whitetails I had shot before, especially when cooked up with butter and onions.

And, to the contrary, I have actually had whitetail that came from the cedar swamps of northern Maine that actually had some funk to them.  I guess the taste is different with each individual animal, not necessarily the deer species.

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I haven't ate any mule deer.

I haven't ate any mule deer. But, I can definitely say I would choose whitetail over beef. I agree the care of the animal and processing is the #1 reason why your meat may taste great or sub par. 

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