By David Draper
Recently, a Wild Chef reader e-mailed me with a good question, and I’d like to ask for your help answering it. Chris killed an old buck during last fall’s rut and he found the meat to be “not really appetizing.” This is a story you hear from deer hunters quite a bit, though I’ve rarely experienced “gamey” game meat.
During Nebraska’s rifle season last fall I killed the buck in the photo and two does, which all had a musky odor when I cleaned them. The meat smelled strong, too, but the flavor wasn’t horrible—just different. And the first deer I ever killed came back from the processor virtually inedible (for which I blame the processor). Other than that, every deer I’ve tagged, whether it be whitetail or mule deer, rutting buck or young doe (with the exception of yearling fawns, which taste like veal), have pretty much all tasted great.