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While venison is a term that refers to the meat of any deer species, the taste differs from one species to another. You can cut the meat into steaks, roasts, chops, and grind, but the taste is what matters in the outcome of any recipe that includes venison.
The taste usually depends on age, sex, season, among other factors. This article covers the best tasting deer species.
A List of the Best Tasting Deer Species
Most hunters adore this deer species due to its incredibly tasting venison. Also, it is probably the most beautiful deer species. It is reddish-brown with some white spots scattered all over its body and has a dark stripe running along its backbone from neck to the tail’s tip.
The males from this species are distinct from their brow tined antlers and can weigh up to 250 pounds. On the other hand, females usually weigh up to 150 pounds. Their diet depends on the season though it usually comprises grasses, live oak, mushrooms, acorns, and sumac.
The axis deer is one of the best tasting deer because it is mild and extremely tender. Also, it contains about 0.2 percent fat, which makes one of the leanest types of meat.
This is probably the most popular deer species, so what does elk taste like? Many hunters adore it due to its little or no gamey taste. The taste is somehow similar to that of beef, but with a bit of a gamey taste. Despite tasting like beef, it is leaner but a bit higher in cholesterol. Apart from the flavorful and mild gamey taste, you’ll love the coarse texture of this venison.
The elk is one of the largest mammals indigenous to North America and Eastern parts of Asia. You will find it in the forest habitats and have vast diet sources, including grasses, tree leaves, herbs, and tree bark.
They are popular due to their huge antlers; they alone can weigh up to 40 pounds. Elks boast high survivability as they adapt to the climate and environment. However, they are still susceptible to infectious diseases.
The male weighs 40 percent more weight than the females, weighing up to 1200 pounds.
These deer species are distributed all over the world. Their prevalence in North America dates as back as the Pleistocene era, and later they migrated to Europe and Asia Minor. In Europe, these fallow deer were important in sporting by the aristocracy.
They are medium in size and usually weigh up to 220 pounds or more, whereby the female is about 110 pounds. Their color varies from black to chestnut to white. The other distinguishing characteristic is that the bucks feature large, flattened, and shovel-modeled antlers.
Moreover, the fallow deer are incredible foragers and can survive on different plants they may come across.
Their meat taste is quite gamey, and they are the traditional venison in most European recipes. It is, however, too strong that people use wine marinades and juniper berries to counterbalance it.
The red deer is also another common venison, and you can easily find it in food stores and myriads of habitats. It is popular with its lean and excellent tasting venison and is native in most parts of Europe, the Caucasus region, and Asia Minor. The meat is relatively high in protein but very low in fat but boasts rich flavorful taste. Until lately, in the UK, this venison was restricted to royalty and aristocracy.
The red deer is comparable to elk in terms of size as the mature one can measure up to eight feet long and weigh over 500 pounds. Stags annually shed and regrow large antlers. Another mesmerizing characteristic of red deer is their roaring vocalization during the mating season.
Also, they browse rather than graze and are found in forest land. They feed on twigs, ivy, lichen, leaves among other plants depending on availability.
This deer species can adapt to both temperate and arctic climates. It is renowned due to its flavorful and mild gamey taste. Apart from the incredible taste of the meat, it is high in protein and very lean. Also, it has a similar texture compared to lean bison or beef. Hence, this venison makes excellent steaks.
The moose is also among the largest deer species as the male stands up to 6 feet from shoulder to the foot. It is one of the popular targets for sports and harvesting venison. A mature bull moose can yield up to 900 pounds.
This deer species got its name due to its large ears. It is indigenous to the western United States. The mule deer males can weigh over 200 pounds, and females can weigh around 125 pounds. One of its distinguishing features includes the folk shaped antlers.
Another interesting fact about mule deer is that it leaps in the air rather than usual running, up to eight feet high. The downside of this species is that it isn’t adaptable to change in the climate.
Its diet includes sage in winter, conifers and bushes year-round, and plants and berries during summer. Thus, its meat is very gamey. It is a popular choice for sport hunters and people who enjoy gamey venison.
South Texas/ Nilgai Deer
These deer species were imported from India. The male features blue-gray color, which gave birth to its name-Nilgai. It is l