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  1. #1
    Sidewinder
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    Adrenaline and meat

    Anyone noticed a difference between the meat of an animal that has seen and reacted to you, as in a jumped deer, when shot and is full of adrenaline versus the meat of an animal that has been shot while unaware that anything was going on, like a deer dropped in its tracks while eating or killed while bedded down?

    I've never thought to pay attention but I think I will in the future.

    out
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  2. #2
    Wrangler
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    Adrenaline and meat

    I believe that adrenaline does affect the taste of meat. A deer that's just spooked probably doesn't have enough adrenaline in its system to make a big difference--you might notice a slight change in flavor, but not much. A deer that's been shot at and missed or maybe hit but not mortally wounded will have maximum adrenaline pumping through it's entire body--and will have a distinct 'gamey' flavor.

    This may apply to some degree with all game animals, but with whitetails I think that the difference in flavor can be quite dramatic.

  3. #3
    Deadeye
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    Adrenaline and meat

    Not that it's conclusive, but I have put both types of deer in the freezer. using the exact same recipes, I definitely noticed the one that ran a ways off before bleeding out tasted gamier. The rest of the meat had to get marinated for a long time to get better, but it seems like the marinade dryed the meat out a little. Does marinade dry out meat, or was it my imagination?
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  4. #4
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    Adrenaline and meat

    Given the low numbers of animals that we all actually harvest and eat and in comparing year to year, I would say that for me, the age of the animal and condition weigh in just as importantly if not more so than an adrenaline burst at the end. I have hand-picked my eating does the last few years while bow hunting, and even though one ran 50 yards and pawed running in place before she died, (briefly), was the best venison I have ever had. There is no substitute for well fed and young and tender!

  5. #5
    Sidewinder
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    Adrenaline and meat

    Dr A...when shooting does, don't forget to add "dry" to that list "well fed, young and dry"

    Shoot a doe thats still "wet" as in producing milk and your dog will be getting some venison steaks. found that one out the hard way.

    I agree about young deer. One year we didn't have much to get us through the winter and come last day I still hadn't filled my tag (either sex), my dad said to shoot any deer I saw that day as we needed the meat. Shot a yearling. Only saw two yearlings and took the larger of the two. Lung shot to waste little or no meat and by golly, best tasting venison ever. "deer veal" is what we called it. :-)
    No matter where I'm at I just have to find out what's over the next hill.

  6. #6
    Wrangler
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    Adrenaline and meat

    Quote Originally Posted by abrogado
    Shoot a doe thats still "wet" as in producing milk and your dog will be getting some venison steaks. found that one out the hard way.
    Now someone tells me. I shot a doe a few years ago at my father-in-law's place in WV. It didn't look like she was still actively nursing a fawn, but when I cut her open there was definitely some milk still in her udders. Some of the worst venison I've ever tasted.

    I don't know how you could avoid it, though. I took one of the larger, if not the largest, doe in the group. I'd prefer not to shoot yearlings, though I won't argue their tastiness. I guess that if you're planning to harvest a doe, try to wait until later in the season.

  7. #7
    Marlin Marksman
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    Adrenaline and meat

    I'm skeptical. I doubt whether a doe is lactating (giving milk) or running a bit before expiring makes all that much difference. I suspect that it is far more important what the animal had been eating, and how the meat was handled in the skinning/gutting/butchering process.

    I don't doubt the observations of the earlier posters was correct. They ate some less than choice meat, no doubt.

    What caused the meat to be that way is the question. Packing plants don't treat lactating cows any differently, as far as I know, so I doubt that is a factor. Also, the fear factor of being at a strange place(slaughter house), the noise, presence of strange animals, would likely cause elevated adrenaline levels in cattle. I have never noticed a different taste in farm slaughtered to store bought meat. Maybe its an unsound assumption to assume that what is the case for domestic cattle and their meat would apply to game. Maybe. I still suspect that diet and meat handling is the primary cause of strong tasting meat

  8. #8
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    Adrenaline and meat

    You are right Norm. I like corn fed deer. Most guests that eat my venison never even know its wild meat.

  9. #9
    Distinguished Master
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    Adrenaline and meat

    Well boy's I have to tell you a Whitetail Deer filled thru the ears with adrenalin dripping out of it's nose tastes a whole lot better than a mello old dumb Mule deer standing broadside with know worries or adrenalin if they have it?

    New to Idaho somewhat are Whitetails and I grew up on Mulies and I have not had a bad Whitetail yet.Kinda like Lay's Potatoe's chips....Can't have just one....I'd rather have five Whitetails than one normal Elk....


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  10. #10
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    Adrenaline and meat

    I'v taken a couple does still making milk & never noticed a difference, the same with deer that were scared but I never had one run any real distance so that might matter. I think the age & diet are probably the biggest issues regarding how venison tastes. When we go upstate NY we split the meat between myself, my uncle & his brother. We generally just butcher the deer & wrap it up only marking it steak or stew or roast except we keep the tenderloins from our own deer. The only time I noticed a real difference from one package to another wass one year my uncle shot a real old buck way past his prime. That was some rank, tough, dry meat lemme tell you. You could tell immediately once it thawed that it was a bad one & they both said the same thing. Reason I say I'm sure it was his is we fried up some backstrap while butchering it after it hung a few days & even that was real gamey. Very distinct unpleasent flavor & aroma. At the camp we thought the nastiness might be from mouse crap or something falling in the pan as this camp isnt used the rest of the year & we often find suprises so even tho we wash the cooking stuff before we use it we figured something had to have gotten in there.

    Made darn good chilli tho. Put in enuff spices & cook it long enuff & it becomes edible.
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