I have deer hunting on my mind, but first....

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I've been harvesting eastern Oregon mule deer from the same general area for the last 20 years. I find that it is very similar to the best lamb cuts available. Since there is no doe harvest in my area I have harvested only bucks. The meat has been uniformly mild, sweet, and tender.

The area is comprised of some BLM land, mostly steep canyons, and high desert flat lands populated by cattle ranches, wheat and alfalfa fields, lava flows, and scrub juniper. The deer feed mostly on wheat and alfalfa, along with some native forage.

I don't see why you would be negative about harvesting bucks.
As good as lamb?
Man not for me.
But I think lamb is the best meat out there.
 

thorborg

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My opine, Like a lot of animals, flavor is heavily dependent on what its eating. Some of the dry sage areas can produce some heavy flavors I don't care for. Younger and fat is better than lean or old. A nice, well fed, fat forked horn or three point might be my preference to does. Any opportunity to hang it in a cool spot for a week is a real plus for any meat.

But, if you are adding beef tallow, then adding spices to turn it into; "tacos, pasta sauce and stroganoff", there won't be much venison flavor poking through. What gets ground up on mine, I prefer to use ground lamb scraps as the fat.
 
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The axis deer they are selling me has this claim from their site:

"This venison comes from truly wild and free-roaming South Texas Antelope, Axis Deer, and Fallow Deer. All animals are field harvested using a mobile processing unit. These species produce venison that is extremely lean and of the highest quality."

I ordered the wild axis venison they had listed. I think wild axis is supposed to have similar likeness to whitetail.
I'll probably get some grief for this, but nothing you can order culled from a drive up mobile unit is "truly" wild and free. "free range" at best, but know they feed or graze those deer on a secured enclosed ranch for harvest.
 
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The axis deer they are selling me has this claim from their site:

"This venison comes from truly wild and free-roaming South Texas Antelope, Axis Deer, and Fallow Deer. All animals are field harvested using a mobile processing unit. These species produce venison that is extremely lean and of the highest quality."


I ordered the wild axis venison they had listed. I think wild axis is supposed to have similar likeness to whitetail.
Thats great, theyre free range, but these texas game ranches, those critters are filling their bellies on commercial feed. Fact. Not just wild browse. And even if they were eating just wild browse, the deer in idaho will still taste different. Theyre not eating texas vegetation. The fact is a wild whitetail or muley in idaho will not taste the same as an axis deer from texas nibbling on wild texas vegetation between trips to the feeder. What youre ordering is really fundamentally different from wild game. But hey, youre the expert, whatever.
 

joken

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I have to try out venison to see if I even like it. If I find out I do like it, then it will be only meat does for me. No bucks, no trophies for me, none of that jazz.

So, any day now, my ground axis venison will be coming from a wild game ranch in Texas to my doorstep packed in dry ice. A big money boondoggle:
$13/pound for the meat, 5 pounds, damn near $30 for the shipping alone plus the tax.

It's less than 5% fat so I bought some spendy beef tallow to add to it.

Fatworks Premium 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised Beef Tallow, Artisanally Rendered, WHOLE30 Approved, KETO, PALEO, 14 oz.

$18.00 a 14 oz jar. The rendered tallow is mild tasting and smells not bad at all.

I don't yet have a meat grinder so I will add an ounce of tallow to the skillet to brown the meat. Then the meat will used for tacos, pasta sauce and stroganoff.
I might also stir in an ounce of melted tallow then grill some deer patties. :rolleyes:
Find someone that raises Boer Goats. They were bred for meat and the meat is delicious. It very lean and has less fat and more protein than chicken. Thank me later.
 
OP
J
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But first.... understand something as well - from the time you shoot it till the time you serve it is probably the most important thing...
It sounds like kill it, tag it, hang it up on a gambrel, gut the deer, flush it out with water, ice up the body cavity, game bag it and haul behind to the processor. The colder weather for deer hunting the better.
 

RVTECH

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It sounds like kill it, tag it, hang it up on a gambrel, gut the deer, flush it out with water, ice up the body cavity, game bag it and haul behind to the processor.
This is a very simplified and loose description of some things that take place and it is a little more involved.
I am going to assume you have never done this before.
 
OP
J
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Thats great, theyre free range, but these texas game ranches, those critters are filling their bellies on commercial feed. Fact. Not just wild browse. And even if they were eating just wild browse, the deer in idaho will still taste different. Theyre not eating texas vegetation. The fact is a wild whitetail or muley in idaho will not taste the same as an axis deer from texas nibbling on wild texas vegetation between trips to the feeder. What youre ordering is really fundamentally different from wild game. But hey, youre the expert, whatever.
So a natively-shot BWM or Access private property Idaho whitetail doe even might not taste as yummy as a Tx ranch deer? It's all about the yummy factor to me. Oh, I have had venison before. 5 years ago my older brother shot one in Trinity County, Nor Cal. Zone B-2. Coastal/blacktail. Muley relative. Buck, forked horn. Ran 1/2 mile after it was shot. Tough as shoe leather, tasted/smelled like acorns and even had them in its belly. Do Idaho deer eat acorns? CA deer in crappy zones are known to taste like crap. So when I said I wanted to try venison, I meant I wanted to try non-CA deer that I know will not have fed on acorns. At $13/pound, they better not have meat they sold to me that reeks of acorn! My shipment should arrive any hour now.
 
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Yep - then step #2 is to get it back to camp.

Say you have hiked a ways from your vehicle or camp, encountered the deer, shot it at lets say 200 yards and there are no roads close to the deer you have some packing to do.
Depends on how far you are from camp, and how hot it is. The next step is to skin it.
Once the deer is down every step is a progression towards cooling the meat and keeping them temperature in a downward trend to at least fridge temp...
 
OP
J
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Depends on how far you are from camp, and how hot it is. The next step is to skin it.
Once the deer is down every step is a progression towards cooling the meat and keeping them temperature in a downward trend to at least fridge temp...
It sounds like November in the PNW is the best time to deer hunt. Just before the snow flies. Snow can make hunts downright miserable. Very cool weather to better keep killed game as it's being moved. How did Indians safeguard their game against spoilage?
 

Andy54Hawken

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  • Army
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How did Indians safeguard their game against spoilage?
Meat was mostly eaten right away.

To preserve meat ...
Salting when salt was available from traders...or much more commonly done , meat was dried and or smoked , to make jerky.

Much meat was not used by both Indian and White hunters , when game was plentiful....
Many , many period accounts , tell of both , Indian and White hunters , only taking the choice cuts or parts of the animal , when times were good.
That said...
There is much truth to the old idea that the whole animal was used...
I am not saying that wasn't the case....Just pointing that it was not always the practice.

Nor I am saying that either were at fault here....or wrong in their actions...
Just saying that certain things were done at times...that may be done differently today , viewed differently or go against commonly held notions....
Andy
 
OP
J
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I was raised to take bucks, my dad wasn't a doe hunter. His reasoning was does make deer, 1 buck can breed a lot of does. We like to watch them around the property also, I know when I have a good population we're going to get some decent bucks coming in to breed them.

I have access to a commercial grinder and fresh, clean beef tallow. We like to run 15% fat for burgers, 7% for everything else (deer and elk). I grew up eating thinly pounded out, floured, overcooked game. I think that was just the way my dad's family always did it and I actually enjoyed it. We always processed the meat into steaks and roasts. Years ago I stopped cutting steaks, I started searing the heck out of a chunk, roast it to 130ish, make a sauce out of the juices while it rests, slice the meat and serve w/a berry, cream, or wine sauce. My daughter got us a sous vide cooker about a year ago and I can't get enough of that thing! I don't think I've cooked a piece of meat (any meat) any other way since I got it. It's a game changer. I have a 23K btu burner on my gas stove, 20-30 seconds in a cast iron skillet and bam, done. Or hit it on the grill as hot as it can get. Some mighty fine eatin'! It's all about the sear/char at that point.
By that logic, many male human infants should be culled out. Still, game agencies may require so many does to be culled out. Bucks might be under a lot of pressure for hunters to get wall-mounted trophies in some jurisdictions. You can't have too many does having fawns or their will be deer overpopulation issues. No disrespect to your father but I doubt he was a wildlife biologist.
 

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