What is the best age for harvesting deer?

knoxvol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
54
Location
Knoxville, TN
[color:#FFFFFF].[/color]
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.
[color:#FFFFFF].[/color]
 

lpo1981

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
710
Location
Dickson, TN
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.
 

hunter0925

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2013
Messages
2,979
Location
TN, Rhea,
lpo1981 said:
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
 

WestTn Huntin man

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
Messages
13,211
Location
Benton Co.
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.
 

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
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!
 

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
Poser said:
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.
 

Mike Belt

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 1999
Messages
27,376
Location
Lakeland, Tn.
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).
 

woodsman87

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2012
Messages
1,560
Location
south TN
I like grinding most of the big old deer, and cutting up the younger ones. It always made sense to me to do it this way. I use probably 5x more burger than I do anything else anyways.
 

Good time Charlie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 1999
Messages
10,429
Location
On the river
Honestly, If handled just like a young heifer or steer you are good.
I prefer a Doe about a year old .hung up for about 2 days...and field dressed properly.
 

TheLBLman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
34,392
Location
Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN
Good time Charlie said:
I prefer a Doe about a year old .hung up for about 2 days...and field dressed properly.
I prefer to field dress mine first, before I hang them up for about 2 days.

Mike Belt said:
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).

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).
Couldn't have said it any better.
Young or old, big or small, we eat them all.
 

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
redblood said:
it has less to with age and more to do with time of year, body condition and diet IMO
how can you tell a difference when it is cooked to a crisp? :D anything more than medium is over cooked. ;)
 

plinker22

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2005
Messages
13,938
Location
Mountians of East Tennessee
For the time spent processing, I would say at least a 2 1/2 year old. More meat for the time/effort!

Processed correctly, I would say any 4 1/2 year old. Lots more meat for the time/effort.

Welcome to TnDeer. Are you going to be new hunter, or just new to TnDeer?
 

knoxvol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
54
Location
Knoxville, TN
[color:#FFFFFF].[/color]
I'm new to TnDeer. But I've been a hunter since back in the 1960's. My father's family were loggers in Union County until the Great Depression.

Daddy went off to World War II. His family moved to Knox Co. - but they still owned a tract of mountainous land in Union County (Ailor Gap Road).

We used to go small game hunting over in Union County. Daddy's dead now.

I'm getting close to retirement age. I figure I might do a little hunting here when I get the time.
[color:#FFFFFF].[/color]
plinker22 said:
For the time spent processing, I would say at least a 2 1/2 year old. More meat for the time/effort!

Processed correctly, I would say any 4 1/2 year old. Lots more meat for the time/effort.

Welcome to TnDeer. Are you going to be new hunter, or just new to TnDeer?
 

BSK

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 11, 1999
Messages
75,356
Location
Nashville, TN
lpo1981 said:
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.

Exactly. Other than fawns, which are notably more tender, adult deer (male and female) can all be made to have the same consistancy and taste with proper care of the meat as well as proper aging in a controlled environment (cooler).
 

Swole Neck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2011
Messages
103
Location
TN
I liked harvesting them when I was 20. It was a lot easier dragging them out of the woods back then.
 

Latest posts

Top