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Author Topic: Meat quality of high country deer  (Read 3647 times)

Offline huntnnw

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2022, 10:18:28 PM »
Ive ate it all. Nothing compares to a early September whitetail on alfalfa and orchards. Those same deer dont compare come November.

Offline Okanagan

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2022, 10:32:29 PM »


Steak/chop from a high country mature buck.  His neck was beginning to swell so we assumed he would be a bit tough and maybe strong, and we planned to make hamburger of all.  But we did a test grill of chops from the outer strap that were so tasty and so tender that my wife said to make as much of him into steak as possible. 



Offline rtspring

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2022, 05:34:54 AM »
Best Deer I have ever eaten and I have ate many!  Came from a wheat field out of Dayton.  That thing taste like beef.   As for gamey, never had the “pleasure” of tasting gamey meat.  Cool, Clean, proper care of meat is essential. 

PS, Two points taste the best.
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Offline hal

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2022, 08:47:42 AM »
MEAT CARE: That's all you need to know. Have eaten and harvested deer from all over the country. We gut and skin immediately then hang and wash off then cover with bags to keep bugs away. If warm we quarter and ice down in cooler. Our blinds are all along our access road allowing us to back a truck to the animal. Some butchers have told us to keep the fat on the carcass until its ready to butcher to keep meat from drying out. We do not. We strip all fat as part of the cleaning process.

We have never had to chase an animal any distance and I think this could make some difference in taste.

Offline OutHouse

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2022, 09:21:12 AM »
I've eaten mule deer from every possible habitat you could think of to the tune of probably 100 different animals and my conclusion that the myth of "gamey" venison is 100% poor meat care/preparation. There is no argument I'll accept to the contrary. If your venison is gamey, you didn't handle or cook it properly. Simple as that.

Example I've used before is a hunt from 2018. I shot a high country mule deer in ID living the life on lush mountain forage.  With that tag filled I beat feet for a NV muzzy tag.  Killed a buck there that was living off sage and mahogany.  When I got home I cut the exact steak from each animal. I cooked them medium rare with simple salt, pepper, garlic powder. Nobody in my house (including me) could tell the difference.

Get the skin off the meat and the heat out as soon as possible, keep it clean, and don't over cook and they are all fantastic. I may give the nod to high country deer simple due to how hard you have to work for them  :chuckle:

That's interesting that the taste was the same. I completely agree on "gamey" taste being in poor meat care but I feel like I've definitely had deer that tastes different from other deer. I'm open to it being me being not so much or a distinguished food critic.

Or maybe I've just only ever had one or two in the freezer at a time and always from the same general area so I tell myself "this one came from alfalfa it's milder, this years was up in the mountains it's got more flavor"

I really like hearing people's experience with this, it's super interesting and thera alot I don't know.

Jpmiller and I hunt a similar area and I can say the lowland whitetails are very mild presumably from the farm crops. However, go up the mountain my bro has taken some mule deer and the taste is markedly different in my mind. I think there is a richer taste in a mule deer living primarily up on the mountain versus whitetails down below. Best deer I ever tasted was a mule doe that lived high up on the mountain. And definitely agree on the meat care being the issue. I heard the myth about sage brush bucks being gamy but they tasted the same to me.

Offline Fidelk

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2022, 09:38:37 AM »
I've eaten blacktail that was sliced thin and then ran through a blade tenderizing machine. Great taste.

Offline Okanagan

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2022, 09:52:02 AM »
We take good care of meat, and sometimes a mature old mule deer in the rut has a distinctive taste that is not as good on most people's taste buds.  Both of those statements are true.

The best tasting deer I've ever eaten was a fork horn high country blacktail from the Olympic Penninsula.  It had almost a sweetish hazelnut hint of flavor.  Second best was a 3 year old high country mule deer 4x4 in southern BC.  Two families that ate a LOT of deer meat all said it was the best deer they had ever eaten.  Sometimes a particular deer is just better.

And FWIW, I killed a fat, healthy looking high country mule deer doe that tasted so bad I threw away all of the meat after contacting the game dept. about it.  It was dropped on the spot in snow, gutted well and immediately, hung in 32 F temp overnight then skinned and aged a few days just above freezing.  The bad taste was not care of meat.
     It had some scratches on its hind legs as if it had escaped a predator a week or two earlier, plus a seroma on the front of its chest. Game biologist said to cut away the area around the seroma (a type of bruise) because it would not taste good, though it would not hurt to eat it.  I'd already done that when skinning.  The whole deer tasted AWFUL, and left a bad taste in mouth, even tenderloin cooked with bacon.  It might have done for the seige of Leningrad but it was so bad I took it back to the coyotes. 



« Last Edit: June 23, 2022, 10:03:12 AM by Okanagan »

Online carlyoungs

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2022, 10:10:38 AM »
Best Deer I have ever eaten and I have ate many!  Came from a wheat field out of Dayton.  That thing taste like beef.   As for gamey, never had the “pleasure” of tasting gamey meat.  Cool, Clean, proper care of meat is essential. 

PS, Two points taste the best.
:chuckle:

Offline Jpmiller

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2022, 10:24:32 AM »
I've eaten mule deer from every possible habitat you could think of to the tune of probably 100 different animals and my conclusion that the myth of "gamey" venison is 100% poor meat care/preparation. There is no argument I'll accept to the contrary. If your venison is gamey, you didn't handle or cook it properly. Simple as that.

Example I've used before is a hunt from 2018. I shot a high country mule deer in ID living the life on lush mountain forage.  With that tag filled I beat feet for a NV muzzy tag.  Killed a buck there that was living off sage and mahogany.  When I got home I cut the exact steak from each animal. I cooked them medium rare with simple salt, pepper, garlic powder. Nobody in my house (including me) could tell the difference.

Get the skin off the meat and the heat out as soon as possible, keep it clean, and don't over cook and they are all fantastic. I may give the nod to high country deer simple due to how hard you have to work for them  :chuckle:

That's interesting that the taste was the same. I completely agree on "gamey" taste being in poor meat care but I feel like I've definitely had deer that tastes different from other deer. I'm open to it being me being not so much or a distinguished food critic.

Or maybe I've just only ever had one or two in the freezer at a time and always from the same general area so I tell myself "this one came from alfalfa it's milder, this years was up in the mountains it's got more flavor"

I really like hearing people's experience with this, it's super interesting and thera alot I don't know.

Jpmiller and I hunt a similar area and I can say the lowland whitetails are very mild presumably from the farm crops. However, go up the mountain my bro has taken some mule deer and the taste is markedly different in my mind. I think there is a richer taste in a mule deer living primarily up on the mountain versus whitetails down below. Best deer I ever tasted was a mule doe that lived high up on the mountain. And definitely agree on the meat care being the issue. I heard the myth about sage brush bucks being gamy but they tasted the same to me.

"Similar"  :chuckle:

Offline WAcoueshunter

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2022, 10:29:30 AM »
Thanks all! Gaging if the reward is worth the effort for high buck. Sounds like it clearly is. Now, how do I work this around my early elk hunt...? ;)

I suspect most would say the anticipated quality of the meat is not a reason to do one hunt versus another.  Go on the hunt you want, hard earned meat is good from anywhere, anytime.  High country, farms, sage, desert, early season, rut, late season...all good. 

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2022, 11:04:36 AM »
Anyone ever done the 7-10 day cooler aging process? They discussed it on the Exo podcast a few weeks ago. Seems like it’s worth the effort.

Offline WildcatRanger

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2022, 12:24:02 PM »
Anyone ever done the 7-10 day cooler aging process? They discussed it on the Exo podcast a few weeks ago. Seems like it’s worth the effort.
Looks interesting, I’d like to try it. It is a method of wet aging. Was also talked about on the backcountry hunting podcast. I would like to learn the science behind it.
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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2022, 12:26:13 PM »


Steak/chop from a high country mature buck.  His neck was beginning to swell so we assumed he would be a bit tough and maybe strong, and we planned to make hamburger of all.  But we did a test grill of chops from the outer strap that were so tasty and so tender that my wife said to make as much of him into steak as possible.
That looks amazing, I’ve ate a lot of deer and elk steaks and never seen one cut like that

Online Karl Blanchard

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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2022, 12:28:41 PM »
Anyone ever done the 7-10 day cooler aging process? They discussed it on the Exo podcast a few weeks ago. Seems like it’s worth the effort.
we talking like iced down in a cooler for 7-10 days, because if so I've definitely done that a time or 20  :chuckle:
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Re: Meat quality of high country deer
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2022, 12:36:58 PM »
I've not done a true walk in cooler 7-10 day age, but frequently hang in cold temps, store in cooler, and then age in beer fridge at home for several more days before butchering. I absolutely think it makes a difference. Plenty of people say it does not, but I've had the ability to compare side by side and there was absolutely a difference in my mind. And mouth.
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