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#3182431 - 03/03/13 06:10 PM What is the best age for harvesting deer?
DSL_Connector
Spike


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 53
Loc: Knoxville, TN

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Question. If you were going to use a deer for food what is the best age/size to hunt?

Question. If the buck or doe is too old does the meat have a wild taste?

When I was a child we used to raise one or two heads of beef per year for slaughter. We would take the calf to the slaughter house at about nine months to one year old.

We would always put the calf in a barn stall keep it there about two or three weeks before slaughter. If you don't keep the calf pinned up for a few weeks the beef has a wild taste.

This thread here on TnDeer in the Quality Deer Management forum has pictures of different age bucks:

Field-judging buck age examples

I have eaten venison before. It's been years ago. I can't remember much about what it tasted like.
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#3182440 - 03/03/13 06:20 PM Re: What is the best age for harvesting deer? [Re: DSL_Connector]
lpo1981
6 Point


Registered: 01/20/12
Posts: 609
Loc: Dickson, TN

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My personal opinion on venison is that its all in the way it's prepared and cooked.. I've eaten older bucks, younger bucks, does and yearlings.. Just all in how st prepared and cooked in my opinion.
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#3182537 - 03/03/13 07:42 PM Re: What is the best age for harvesting deer? [Re: lpo1981]
timberjack86
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Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 7863
Loc: Grundy county

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Button bucks
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#3182542 - 03/03/13 07:47 PM Re: What is the best age for harvesting deer? [Re: timberjack86]
cecil30-30
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Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 14130
Loc: Morgan Co

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generally speaking,the more spots,the better eating.. \:D
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#3182546 - 03/03/13 07:52 PM Re: What is the best age for harvesting deer? [Re: lpo1981]
hunter0925
8 Point


Registered: 01/21/13
Posts: 1092
Loc: TN, Rhea,

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 Originally Posted By: lpo1981
My personal opinion on venison is that its all in the way it's prepared and cooked.. I've eaten older bucks, younger bucks, does and yearlings.. Just all in how st prepared and cooked in my opinion.


Agreed
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#3182559 - 03/03/13 08:03 PM Re: What is the best age for harvesting deer? [Re: cecil30-30]
WestTn Huntin'man
16 Point


Registered: 11/19/06
Posts: 11963
Loc: Benton Co.

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You will be getting a lot of different opinions on this one.Personally I try to shoot 2.5 or 3.5 year old deer for the freezer. No doubt a smaller deer is is more tender,but not hardly worth the trouble.
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#3182578 - 03/03/13 08:15 PM Re: What is the best age for harvesting deer? [Re: DSL_Connector]
catman529
spiderboy
16 Point


Registered: 11/10/10
Posts: 16169
Loc: Franklin TN

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I killed deer from 0.5 to 5.5 years old last season and they all taste like deer to me. The fawns are more tender but less meat. my philosophy is that if you want to shoot it and its legal then shoot it. If you want to let it grow then let it grow.

Oh and welcome to the site!
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#3182613 - 03/03/13 08:51 PM Re: What is the best age for harvesting deer? [Re: catman529]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 12648
Loc: Tennessee

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1.5 to 2.5 year olds tend to produce the most tender meat, however I have yet to meet a deer that wasn't tasty. Low and slow cooking will make break even the toughest muscles down to delicious roasts and stews. I have cooked mature buck shanks (toughest muscle on a deer) down to the consistency almost equivalent to brisket.
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#3182651 - 03/03/13 09:34 PM Re: What is the best age for harvesting deer? [Re: Poser]
catman529
spiderboy
16 Point


Registered: 11/10/10
Posts: 16169
Loc: Franklin TN

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 Originally Posted By: Poser
1.5 to 2.5 year olds tend to produce the most tender meat, however I have yet to meet a deer that wasn't tasty. Low and slow cooking will make break even the toughest muscles down to delicious roasts and stews. I have cooked mature buck shanks (toughest muscle on a deer) down to the consistency almost equivalent to brisket.
you are forgetting the fawns they are the most tender \:D


Another note - letting the meat sit in a cold fridge (mid 30s) will make better meat. I have had tenderloins straight from a yearling buck that was killed the same day. They were good, but tougher than I expected. The meat that sat in the fridge and aged several days was more tender, cut and cooked the same way.
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Haven't been this excited about deer season

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#3182790 - 03/04/13 07:38 AM Re: What is the best age for harvesting deer? [Re: catman529]
Mike Belt
TnDeer Old Timer
16 Point


Registered: 03/26/99
Posts: 17785
Loc: Lakeland, Tn.

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I suppose a young deer eats better than an older deer but I really can't tell the difference most of the time. How you handle the deer after the shot has alot to do with the resulting taste as does the shot placement (quick killing the deer versus wounding). I also believe that possibly a buck killed in a more relaxed state probably eats better than a buck that's been running a doe/s for the last several hours.

For the most part, you'll not notice any difference in any deer you kill and eat as long as you cook it right (don't overcook).
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