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Category Archives: Deer Hunting

How To Prevent Venison From Tasting Awful

I hear people say all the time that they don’t like the taste of deer. Some people say that just because they know what they’re eating and have a preconceived notion that it won’t be good. Others have legit gripes, mainly due to poor handling by the hunter from the time of the kill up until it was cooked. This often results in gamey, tough meat. Here are some tips to help combat bad-tasting venison.

venison

Hunting in the real world is not like the Outdoor Channel portrays it to be. Hunters make bad shots from time to time and the deer has to be tracked for a while. Shot placement and the stress the animal received while being trailed plays a big role in gamey meat. The faster a deer dies, the sooner it can be field dressed. This will reduce the amount of acid that builds up in the deer’s muscles.

Hunters often fail to get the deer cooled as quickly as possible. The first step it to field dress the animal immediately and wash out the cavity with cool water. Be sure to dry the cavity out, as the water can be a breeding ground for bacteria. If the temperatures outside are in the mid-30s or cooler, it’s okay to let the deer hang. Anything warmer than that, and the deer needs to hang in a walk-in cooler (or be skinned, quartered, and put on ice if you don’t have a walk-in).

A whitetail is not a hard to deer to quarter. Because of how their joints and tissues hold their legs on, a simple pocket knife can have a deer quartered quicker than you might think. Some might use a saw to cut through bone marrow and small pieces of bone, but then you’d need to watch that shavings from the saw don’t get mixed in with the meat. Stick with a sharp knife instead, and your meat will be free of small bone pieces that can contaminate the meat.

Growing up, I can remember how much my dad loved the taste of fat from a good cut of beef. The same does not hold true with deer fat. Simply stated, deer fat tastes awful. It is not red meat, so cut it off before it’s made into steaks or burger. This includes all fat and silver skin.

Every year before deer season begins, we call in an order to the local butcher shop for beef suet. Even though we removed all of the deer fat, we need to add some sort of fat, whether beef or pork, when grinding it. If this is not done, the lean venison will quickly fall apart when making burgers, meat loaves, etc. We add beef fat at a ratio of 3:1 (three pounds venison per pound of fat).

If you have the means, the time, and the knowledge, I recommend processing all your deer yourself. When you take a deer to a meat locker you can’t be sure how the meat is handled — or if it’s even your own deer that you’re getting back. For all you know, you could be getting back someone elses deer, perhaps one that was gut-shot and not properly handled after the shot. If you have to take a deer to a processor, research the facility by talking to other hunters who’ve used it, and also talk with the workers, who will hopefully be honest with you.

Don’t overcook venison. Cooking deer for too long causes it to become chewy and dry. Venison is best cooked to medium rare, but the outside needs to be cooked. To accomplish this, the grill must be hot enough to quickly sear the outside and lock in the flavors and juices. Turn your venison only once. If there are no grill marks on the meat after three minutes or so, the grate is not hot enough.

Freezer-burnt food, whether it is venison or other food, does not taste good. Some people use a vacuum sealer; if you go this route, buy a good one, as a cheap product will not keep the food fresh. When we butcher our deer, we make wrapping the meat a family affair, with all involved. We put one-pound portions of burger in sandwich bags and the steaks and roasts are wrapped with plastic wrap. After covering it with plastic wrap, we wrap it with good freezer paper and tapes. Writing on each package, we identify the cut of meat, who killed it, and the date of the kill.

I hope this advice helps you create a great-tasting meal. A few more final tips: The younger the deer, the better, more tender it will be (even though this might not sit well with trophy hunters). Thaw venison slowly to prevent toughness, then serve it hot and keep the remainder hot to prevent it from getting a waxy taste.

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How To Prevent Venison From Tasting Awful

I hear people say all the time that they don’t like the taste of deer. Some people say that just because they know what they’re eating and have a preconceived notion that it won’t be good. Others have legit gripes, mainly due to poor handling by the hunter from the time of the kill up until it was cooked. This often results in gamey, tough meat. Here are some tips to help combat bad-tasting venison.

venison

Hunting in the real world is not like the Outdoor Channel portrays it to be. Hunters make bad shots from time to time and the deer has to be tracked for a while. Shot placement and the stress the animal received while being trailed plays a big role in gamey meat. The faster a deer dies, the sooner it can be field dressed. This will reduce the amount of acid that builds up in the deer’s muscles.

Hunters often fail to get the deer cooled as quickly as possible. The first step it to field dress the animal immediately and wash out the cavity with cool water. Be sure to dry the cavity out, as the water can be a breeding ground for bacteria. If the temperatures outside are in the mid-30s or cooler, it’s okay to let the deer hang. Anything warmer than that, and the deer needs to hang in a walk-in cooler (or be skinned, quartered, and put on ice if you don’t have a walk-in).

A whitetail is not a hard to deer to quarter. Because of how their joints and tissues hold their legs on, a simple pocket knife can have a deer quartered quicker than you might think. Some might use a saw to cut through bone marrow and small pieces of bone, but then you’d need to watch that shavings from the saw don’t get mixed in with the meat. Stick with a sharp knife instead, and your meat will be free of small bone pieces that can contaminate the meat.

Growing up, I can remember how much my dad loved the taste of fat from a good cut of beef. The same does not hold true with deer fat. Simply stated, deer fat tastes awful. It is not red meat, so cut it off before it’s made into steaks or burger. This includes all fat and silver skin.

Every year before deer season begins, we call in an order to the local butcher shop for beef suet. Even though we removed all of the deer fat, we need to add some sort of fat, whether beef or pork, when grinding it. If this is not done, the lean venison will quickly fall apart when making burgers, meat loaves, etc. We add beef fat at a ratio of 3:1 (three pounds venison per pound of fat).

If you have the means, the time, and the knowledge, I recommend processing all your deer yourself. When you take a deer to a meat locker you can’t be sure how the meat is handled — or if it’s even your own deer that you’re getting back. For all you know, you could be getting back someone elses deer, perhaps one that was gut-shot and not properly handled after the shot. If you have to take a deer to a processor, research the facility by talking to other hunters who’ve used it, and also talk with the workers, who will hopefully be honest with you.

Don’t overcook venison. Cooking deer for too long causes it to become chewy and dry. Venison is best cooked to medium rare, but the outside needs to be cooked. To accomplish this, the grill must be hot enough to quickly sear the outside and lock in the flavors and juices. Turn your venison only once. If there are no grill marks on the meat after three minutes or so, the grate is not hot enough.

Freezer-burnt food, whether it is venison or other food, does not taste good. Some people use a vacuum sealer; if you go this route, buy a good one, as a cheap product will not keep the food fresh. When we butcher our deer, we make wrapping the meat a family affair, with all involved. We put one-pound portions of burger in sandwich bags and the steaks and roasts are wrapped with plastic wrap. After covering it with plastic wrap, we wrap it with good freezer paper and tapes. Writing on each package, we identify the cut of meat, who killed it, and the date of the kill.

I hope this advice helps you create a great-tasting meal. A few more final tips: The younger the deer, the better, more tender it will be (even though this might not sit well with trophy hunters). Thaw venison slowly to prevent toughness, then serve it hot and keep the remainder hot to prevent it from getting a waxy taste.

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Unexplainable Deer Story

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Check Out This Cool Game Cart

Game carts are a great idea if you hunt in remote areas where a deer must be brought out whole. But dragging 150 pounds of venison in the container is a real chore, especially uphill.

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This Car-Go-Cart is a huge help in this department because it attaches to any 2″ trailer hitch receiver and will allow you to transport a deer or other game without having to lift it into the bed of a truck or make a mess of your SUV.

cargocartced893f6-6e87-484c-b6b3-583368469a78222

Additionally, the cart is perfect for camping trips, carrying coolers of ice, storing wood-cutting tools, and a host of other projects. The Car-Go-Cart is available through the QDMA website. Check out this video, which shows how easy it is to set up.

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Prehistoric Deer That Make Modern Deer Look Tiny

If ancient hunters from the ice age were still alive today, they would probably be wondering what shrunk all the deer.

Deer come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and for the most part, prehistoric deer look much like their modern equivalents (moose, whitetail, elk, caribou, musk deer, etc.). One thing that is different however, is the sheer size. In times past, massive deer with antlers that span the width of barns doors roamed across the land, coexisting with saber-toothed tigers and wholly mammoths.

The earliest deer actually came from diminutive animals (Archaeomeryx and Dicrocerus) and barely rose more than a few feet off the ground. Throw in a few million years of evolution though, and you get something much bigger. Here are five of the largest prehistoric species in the deer family.

1. Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus)

Image from I, Atirador on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from I, Atirador on the Wikimedia Commons.

The Irish elk, commonly referred to as giant deer, is one of the largest deer species that ever lived. With well-preserved specimens being found in the peat bogs of Ireland, scientists estimated that these massive creatures stood about 7 feet tall at the shoulders on average, weighed well over 1,600 pounds, and carried the largest antlers of any known deer species. Just a full rack by itself could weigh up to 90 pounds. With all these characteristics, the Irish elk can be seen as a mega-sized version of the modern moose.

Irish elk first surfaced towards the end of the Pleistocene Epoch roughly 100,000 years ago. Specimens found in Siberia show that the species was still present as recent as 7,000 years ago, meaning it was likely a prime game animal for early human hunters. The species was found widely across Europe, Asia, and Africa and it is believed that hunting by humans may have have played a part in their decline. Believe it or not, scientists actually say their large and unwieldy antlers were most to blame for the elk’s eventual extinction.  A decrease in high-quality forage was unable to sustain massive deer with equally massive antlers, and some speculate that the deer failed to grow smaller to adjust.

You can get a sense of how big Irish elk were compared to humans in the video below:

Species of the Megaloceros genus are all honorable mentions on this list due to their size, and uniqueness of their antlers. Below is an artist’s depiction of them.

Image from Apokryltaros on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from Apokryltaros on the Wikimedia Commons. From left to right are M. savini, M. cazioti, M. obscurus, M. pachyosteus, M. giganteus, and M. verticornis.

2. Stag-moose (Cervalces scotti)

Image from dantheman9758 on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from dantheman9758 on the Wikimedia Commons.

Imagine a large modern moose with the head of a deer and you would have some picture of what the stag-moose looked like. This creature from the Pleistocene epoch lived alongside other megafauna such as giant beavers, woodland musk ox, and the dreaded dire wolf. Stag-moose can grow up to 1,500 pounds and reached 8 foot at the shoulder. Unfortunately, its large size did not help it any when the ice age ended, and competition between large-bodied animals lead to a mass extinction event in North America. Eventually, the stag-moose was replaced by the now iconic plains bison.

Experts say that the animal’s downfall may be due to its inability to adapt to warming temperatures. The stag-moose was hyper-adapted to ice and snow, with razor sharp hooves designed to break ice and a thick coat to survive frigid temperatures. Due to its large size, the stag-moose was more than capable of fighting of predators such as ancient brown bears, wolves, and the American cave lion. It is believed that the stag-moose was also a popular target for early human hunters.

3. Bush-antlered deer (Eucladoceros dicaranios pictured)

Image from Ghedoghedo on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from Ghedoghedo on the Wikimedia Commons.

These large deer may not be the heaviest on this list, but they certainly have some of the most interesting antlers. The Eucladoceros genus was nicknamed the “bush-antlered deer” because of the unique shape of their racks. Their comb-like antlers can split into twelve tines per pedicle and were up to six feet wide. It is believed that due to the shape of the antlers, they were used mostly for presentation than any actual fighting.

Species within the genus could be found across Europe and Asia and date back to the Early Pleistocene.

4. Broad-fronted moose (Cervalces latifrons)

Image from Ghedoghedo on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from Ghedoghedo on the Wikimedia Commons.

This is it, the be-all, end-all of large deer. The broad-fronted moose is the largest deer to have ever existed—probably—and was so large, it weighed twice that of the Irish elk. If you’ve been keeping track, that puts this massive animal at well over 3,000 pounds! It was also surprisingly fast for its size since its long limbs allow for a gait known as “silt-locomotion,” which allows it to run quickly through snow or bogs.

The animal lived in the colder parts of Europe and Asia during the end of the Pleistocene epoch and eventually crossed over into North America where it evolved into the stag-moose. Experts are still uncertain whether ones that stayed in Europe eventually developed into modern moose, or died out entirely after the end of the ice age.

5. Broad-antlered deer (Libracles gallicus pictured)

Image from Stanton F. Fink on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from Stanton F. Fink on the Wikimedia Commons.

One of the earliest deer on this list, the Libracles genus lived during the Pliocene period starting 2.5 million years ago. These deer was not especially large, but had the largest antlers proportional to their body size, rivaling that of the great Irish elk. Despite being only slightly large that modern deer, the species of the Libracles genus sport antlers over two meters wide. Not surprisingly, some scientists suspect that this genus is the early ancestor of the Meglaoceros.
By:  Daniel Xu

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YES, I’M STUPID!

by M.R. James

I’VE SAID IT BEFORE and I’ll say it again. If you hunt from a treestand without wearing a safety harness, you might as well wear a great big sign that reads “Yes, I’m stupid!” Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Only this morning I read another news account of a bowhunter found dead at the base of his tree stand. And while he reportedly had a safety harness with him, it was in his pocket. So what happened? No one will ever know the details of why and how he died. But he’s dead and that’s a damn shame.

Somehow I can’t help but believe that like some folks now reading these words, the guy believed it could never ever happen to him.  But it could and did.

He was wrong. Dead wrong! And so are you if you think you’re bulletproof.

Treestands can be a deer hunters best friend and worst enemy. Hunting from trees is the most consistently successful method to tag game, but each year falls injure and kill hunters.

STATISTICS SAY ODDS ARE one-third of bow hunters are destined to take a tumble while climbing into, out of, or while in elevated stands. Think about that. Can you name anyone who’s fallen? I sure can and so can most of the veteran bow hunters I know. It can happen to anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.

Believe it!

Wearing a safety harness is mandatory when hunting from elevated stands. It’s also smart to wear a climber’s strap or safety line when climbing into and out of stands.

A friend of mine, who was with me when I arrowed my first Montana bull elk, died of a broken neck years later while hunting bears from a tree stand. No one knows why and how he fell, but somehow he did and he’s dead.

Another friend fell while hanging a stand. He survived but suffered severe injuries – and still walks with a bad limp. Another guy I know is paralyzed and “lives” in a wheelchair because he’ll never walk again. And even though I wasn’t hunting at the time, I once lost my balance and jumped backwards from an eight-foot stepladder while trimming tree limbs, cold cocking myself when I banged my head on the ground. This list of accidental falls could go on and on. Sadly, it does.

SO HOW DO WE STAY SAFE? We begin by recognizing the fact each and every one of us is vulnerable and we must never climb without wearing a fall restraint safety harness. Ever! If we won’t do it for ourselves, we should do it for family and friends who would have to attend our funeral, visit us in the hospital, or feed, dress, and to tend us because we’re paralyzed and we can’t do it for ourselves.

When hunting alone, we also make sure a hunting buddy or family member knows exactly where we’ll be and when we expect to be home. We slip a cell phone and a whistle into our pocket or pack in case we fall and can’t walk to get help. And we take pains to be safe each and every time we climb a tree, especially in cold, wet, or icy weather. We not only wear a safety harness but add a lineman’s climbing strap or treestand lifeline for use when climbing up and down to and from a stand. We never climb while holding our bow or other hunting gear, raising and lowering hunting tackle with a haul line. We always keep three of four contact points (hands and feet) with the ladder or steps when climbing into or out of stands. And once in the tree stand, we immediately buckle ourselves in and do not unbuckle until just before climbing down. This is the most dangerous time frame we face while hunting from elevated stands.

Here’s a hunter’s-eye view of a couple of feeding does. Knowing you’re securely buckled in allows you to focus on making the shot, not fretting about falling.

Finally, prior to using our hang-on or climbing stands, steps, and ladders, we inspect them for any sign or wear or damage. We check support cables and tighten bolts and screws, if necessary, and double check all straps.

BACK WHEN I RAN BOW HUNTER MAGAZINE, I repeatedly included little reminders designed to make readers think of safety. One of my favorites was, “Bow hunting Safety Is No Accident!”

It was true then and it’s true today.

But the bottom line is we are the ones responsible for keeping ourselves safe. We are the ones who must recognize the need to be proactive in doing whatever is necessary to avoid injury or death. We are the only ones who must admit that a life-changing or life-ending accident could happen to us.

Because doing anything less is downright stupid!

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How To Prevent Venison From Tasting Awful

I hear people say all the time that they don’t like the taste of deer. Some people say that just because they know what they’re eating and have a preconceived notion that it won’t be good. Others have legit gripes, mainly due to poor handling by the hunter from the time of the kill up until it was cooked. This often results in gamey, tough meat. Here are some tips to help combat bad-tasting venison.

venison

Hunting in the real world is not like the Outdoor Channel portrays it to be. Hunters make bad shots from time to time and the deer has to be tracked for a while. Shot placement and the stress the animal received while being trailed plays a big role in gamey meat. The faster a deer dies, the sooner it can be field dressed. This will reduce the amount of acid that builds up in the deer’s muscles.

Hunters often fail to get the deer cooled as quickly as possible. The first step it to field dress the animal immediately and wash out the cavity with cool water. Be sure to dry the cavity out, as the water can be a breeding ground for bacteria. If the temperatures outside are in the mid-30s or cooler, it’s okay to let the deer hang. Anything warmer than that, and the deer needs to hang in a walk-in cooler (or be skinned, quartered, and put on ice if you don’t have a walk-in).

A whitetail is not a hard to deer to quarter. Because of how their joints and tissues hold their legs on, a simple pocket knife can have a deer quartered quicker than you might think. Some might use a saw to cut through bone marrow and small pieces of bone, but then you’d need to watch that shavings from the saw don’t get mixed in with the meat. Stick with a sharp knife instead, and your meat will be free of small bone pieces that can contaminate the meat.

Growing up, I can remember how much my dad loved the taste of fat from a good cut of beef. The same does not hold true with deer fat. Simply stated, deer fat tastes awful. It is not red meat, so cut it off before it’s made into steaks or burger. This includes all fat and silver skin.

Every year before deer season begins, we call in an order to the local butcher shop for beef suet. Even though we removed all of the deer fat, we need to add some sort of fat, whether beef or pork, when grinding it. If this is not done, the lean venison will quickly fall apart when making burgers, meat loaves, etc. We add beef fat at a ratio of 3:1 (three pounds venison per pound of fat).

If you have the means, the time, and the knowledge, I recommend processing all your deer yourself. When you take a deer to a meat locker you can’t be sure how the meat is handled — or if it’s even your own deer that you’re getting back. For all you know, you could be getting back someone elses deer, perhaps one that was gut-shot and not properly handled after the shot. If you have to take a deer to a processor, research the facility by talking to other hunters who’ve used it, and also talk with the workers, who will hopefully be honest with you.

Don’t overcook venison. Cooking deer for too long causes it to become chewy and dry. Venison is best cooked to medium rare, but the outside needs to be cooked. To accomplish this, the grill must be hot enough to quickly sear the outside and lock in the flavors and juices. Turn your venison only once. If there are no grill marks on the meat after three minutes or so, the grate is not hot enough.

Freezer-burnt food, whether it is venison or other food, does not taste good. Some people use a vacuum sealer; if you go this route, buy a good one, as a cheap product will not keep the food fresh. When we butcher our deer, we make wrapping the meat a family affair, with all involved. We put one-pound portions of burger in sandwich bags and the steaks and roasts are wrapped with plastic wrap. After covering it with plastic wrap, we wrap it with good freezer paper and tapes. Writing on each package, we identify the cut of meat, who killed it, and the date of the kill.

I hope this advice helps you create a great-tasting meal. A few more final tips: The younger the deer, the better, more tender it will be (even though this might not sit well with trophy hunters). Thaw venison slowly to prevent toughness, then serve it hot and keep the remainder hot to prevent it from getting a waxy taste.

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