Editors Blog

3 Ways Shot Placement Affects Venison Quality

The quality of your venison is a direct result of the care you take (or don’t) after the animal is down and while you are processing the animal at home. However, did you know that the it’s equally important to take care before the shot and during the trailing process?

Here’s a few tips that might help you improve the quality of your venison this fall. They come from Joe Sebranek, a meat scientist from Iowa. Joe’s insights were first revealed in the September 2001 edition of Deer & Deer Hunting.

Several factors affect venison quality and safety before you pull a trigger or release an arrow.

1. Disciplining yourself to only take shots that cause quick, clean kills improves meat quality and reduces risks of spoilage and contamination with pathogens. Poorly placed shots often stimulate a deer’s adrenaline release mechanisms to generate energy from muscle glycogen, a process that produces lactic acid.

2. If an animal is stressed by injury or pursuit before death, high levels of lactic acid might accumulate in the muscles. This acid build-up can cause poor-quality meat. On the other hand, an extended chase can deplete muscle glycogen, and, while the animal is still alive, accumulated lactic acid will be removed from the muscle by circulating blood.

3. When the animal dies, the meat will be much less acidic, allowing for quick spoilage and bacterial growth. This also typically results in dark meat and unusual flavor and tenderness. Therefore, hunting ethics calling for quick kills have practical implications for meat quality.

Ready for some great ways to prepare venison? Check out these great tips:

Venison Recipes