Saturday, November 21, 2009
Bucks in Rut
Bucks in rut taste terrible. And don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise because the ‘steaks’ can be quite ‘high’. There are a lot of hunters out there who are in denial on this one. It took me a few years to come to terms with it myself. But after enough ruined meals and the danger that my family would forever forego eating deer meat, I stopped harvesting bucks in rut. These days come November I only shoot does.
I think hunters are in denial on this one because when bucks are in rut they are stupid. A big buck hopped up on sex hormones and chasing does is not really concerned with hunters, and is quite easy to harvest. Bucks go into rut in November and it really is the only time of year that you do not have to climb mountains to find one. They come out of the woodwork to chase does. For this reason, quite a few hunters convince themselves that bucks in rut are fine eating – what other excuse is there for shooting a big deer?
In the old days, just about every year, I would go hunting for deer in November and see a big buck. A big rack of antlers is a powerful draw. I would not resist, and inevitably I’d get the strong wiff of ‘buck in rut’ before I even found the animal. They smell that bad – and taste that bad too.
I have actually done blind taste tests on this one. I proxy hunt and a couple of times I have packaged up rutty deer for them and not told them about it. Every time I got complaints. In fact, one proxy family will no longer accept November deer meat.
I have noticed that people who think deer taste ‘gamy’ generally hunt late in the season. I also know a few hunters who tell me bucks in rut are fine eating, but tell me with a straight face that their family does not eat deer. What a waste! Bucks harvested in August, September and most of October are quite mild and have good flavor. But don’t take my word on this – ask my family and the people for whom I proxy hunt.
So if you think deer are gamy – try eating one that was harvested in August. I bet you’ll be surprised. Patrick
The photos are from my recent doe hunt with Bruce. NO bucks were harvested!