Difference in taste?


January 20, 2013, 09:10 PM
I was wondering if there is a taste difference between Elk, Mule Deer and Whitetail Deer?


If you enjoyed reading about "Difference in taste?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
January 20, 2013, 09:55 PM
Neve had mule deer and only had elk once...but it was different from whitetail...both are very good...but that elk loin was out of this world.

January 20, 2013, 10:13 PM
Thanks for the response gspn.

I was worried because what I've seen from pictures Elk look like a massive animal and it'd be a huge waste if it doesn't taste nice.

I can't wait to get stateside and go hunting.

January 21, 2013, 02:31 AM
Well...a good buddy of mine sent me some elk steaks one time...rather than retell the story...here it is:


January 21, 2013, 02:56 AM
Damn you GSPN!:neener:

Now I'm hungry and now I have to get my sweetie organize some elk tags for my trip.

You've created a monster! :p

January 21, 2013, 04:20 AM
I prefer Elk to Mullies but they are both very good, better than beef if dressed out proper.

Lloyd Smale
January 21, 2013, 07:58 AM
Id say this. From my experience mule deer is a bit better. That is comparing the mule deer ive killed out west to the whitetails ive killed around camp. Now if i compare mule deer to the whitetails we shoot doing crop damage shooting on the potatoe farm id take the whitetails hands down. Personaly i think either is a step up from elk. But thats just my opinion. I think elk is kind of tasteless. If you want your meat to taste like beef youd probably like elk more but if you like the tasted of good venison id take deer over elk.

January 21, 2013, 10:44 AM
I used to hunt out west a lot until I got too old for those steep hills and high altitude. I have killed 9 mule deer and 2 elk and eaten some meat of several others. Everyone's opinion will vary on taste but mine is as follows:
#1 Elk - no contest. It has a sweet flavor that makes it better than deer.
#2 Whitetail deer - This depends on what cut of meat and how young the deer.
#3 Mule deer - I have only killed older mule deer bucks so the muley's position on this list could change if younger deer were involved.
#4 Moose - Based on 2 moose killed in Wyoming - Tastes good but just the same as grass-fed beef to me. (I like deer better than beef or buffalo.)
#5 Pronghorns - Again only older bucks taken during the rut. Good for sausage.

January 21, 2013, 03:10 PM
They are all good if handled properly.
They can all be ruined if mishandled.

January 21, 2013, 03:53 PM
The buffalo hunters hunted the Great Plains elk to extinction because they preferred the taste to buffalo while not putting a dent in the deer population. I've got a freezer full of deer and elk, I'll run out of elk first.

January 21, 2013, 05:03 PM
Mule deer, elk and whitetails all taste different from each other. And as has been mentioned will have a different taste depending on their diet. Some of the nastiest mule deer I've ever eaten were from South Eastern NM and lived in areas with lots of grease wood.

Some of the finest tasting have been killed off of agricultural areas especially areas were there is lots of alfalfa farming. Over all I prefer cow elk, whitetail deer, bull elk, and last buck mule deer. In that order.

January 21, 2013, 05:06 PM
Elk extinct!!??? Thinned out,but far from extinct. But without question,elk is the best tasting game I have eaten.Where I hunt,the whitetail tastes better than mule deer,but that may have something to do the timing of the rut.The mule deer bucks I have taken have a stronger smell than whitetails,and it seems to affect the taste.

January 21, 2013, 05:51 PM
Lots of variables. A rangy old buck during the rut isn't gonna taste like a yearling. My corn fed Illinois whitetail are good eating but when I went to northern Minnesota and shot a buck in a swamp, it tasted swampy by comparison. Elk is excellent. Mule deer is good. Pronghorn can be excellent or sometimes a little sagey.

January 21, 2013, 06:55 PM
Personally, while I like elk, moose is better, and antelope is right up there as well. But as mentioned previously, if not handled properly after the kill, any meat will taste bad

January 21, 2013, 08:35 PM
I agree, it is all about how it is handled. I have lived on mule deer for years, whitetail is screamin, antelope chops,mmm, But elk is hard to beat...I better go have a look in the freezer.

January 21, 2013, 09:31 PM
jest me, but I rate them...

Mule Deer / Antelope
White Tail

But = if Moose is a 9, the scale is such that White Tail is still an 8...

January 21, 2013, 10:17 PM
Elk extinct!!??? Thinned out,but far from extinct.The Great Plains species of elk are gone. All that is left is the Rocky Mountain elk. There used to be two species of elk in North America, now there is one.

January 21, 2013, 10:39 PM
There used to be two species of elk in North America, now there is one.

Well actually there are three species of elk in North America, Rocky Mountain Elk, Tule Elk and the Roosevelt Elk.

January 21, 2013, 11:08 PM
I guess I have just overdosed on elk. I killed three this year and gave them to folks who need the meat more than I need it. Lately, I have grown fond of white tail deer that live in agricultural areas. I really like those deer that live in the corn all day, then wander into the alfalfa in the evening.

January 22, 2013, 12:39 AM
I love elk. #1 in my book. But part of that may be the challenge and rarity of actually getting one.

Had some young whitetail for the first time ever this year. That little buck was yummy.

Grew up on mule deer. Whether I actually liked it depended on what they were eating and how old they were.

January 22, 2013, 07:34 AM
Elk, then Whitetail in the corn.

Sav .250
January 22, 2013, 07:35 AM
Hard to say as not all taste buds ......are a like. Plus, it all depends where those mentioned live and what they eat. Plus age may or may not play a part in the taste test.

Resist Evil
January 22, 2013, 07:58 AM
Elk is my favorite, followed by mulies, then pronghorns. Pronghorns make for great jalapeno jerky from my favorite processor in Arvada. Yum!

January 22, 2013, 10:42 AM
I love elk. #1 in my book. But part of that may be the challenge and rarity of actually getting one. I have always wondered if that isn't true of a lot of folks, but you are the first one I have heard say as much. Around here, the rarity is a white tail and folks (myself included) find them great table fare. FWIW, pronghorn taken in agricultural areas are pretty darned good. Especially in comparison to their sage brush counter parts. I never have understood why people kill pronghorns, then literally feed them to their dogs. Seems like wanton waste to me.

Art Eatman
January 22, 2013, 11:06 PM
I've eaten a heckuva lot of central Texas whitetail. All of it was good. I've eaten a few west Texas mule deer, and I'd say that those were maybe a bit better, but hard to say why.

I'd rate the rather small amount of elk I've eaten through the years as better than the deer. Not bunches better, but better.

I've only killed and eaten one antelope, killed near Marfa, Texas. It was very good eating and seemed "richer" than deer or elk. Very tasty, but it didn't take all that much for me to feel full.

There is a brushy plant in the area from around Uvalde, Texas, on out past Del Rio that's called "guajilla". Wah--hee-yah. Deer love it. Butchering out the meat, you can smell it. Not a bad smell, though. But it never seems to affect the taste any, compared to the deer from back in the hill country.

January 23, 2013, 11:06 AM
I have killed managed White Tails that had a diet of alfalfa and winter rye. Very tasty over the acorn dieted national forest deer. The meat had a grassy smell and the noses of the deer were green.

Larry Ashcraft
January 23, 2013, 07:50 PM
I grew up on elk and mule deer. Dad would usually get one elk and two deer every year in the 50s and 60s. In fact, when we did have beef, it tasted greasy.

Elk is better than mule deer, but like others have said, it's marginal. That said, the best big game I ever had was a pronghorn I shot in the head at 300 yards. He never knew what hit him and we had him dressed, skinned and washed out with cold water within the hour.

Dad shot a six point bull elk in 1971 that weighed an honest 1000 pounds. It was all my brother and I could do to drag one front quarter over the snow, and we were both in our early twenties at the time. That meat was so tough we ended up grinding the whole thing into hamburger. Even the hamburger was like chewing a mouthful of rubber balls. OTOH, I shot a two year old dry cow a few years later, and the meat was like veal.

January 23, 2013, 11:08 PM
OTOH, I shot a two year old dry cow a few years later, and the meat was like veal.

Those are the elk that I try and shoot every year if I have a cow tag. I've had some bulls that were simply rank..

January 24, 2013, 02:49 AM
A big old trophy bull may indeed be gamey--especially close to the rut. Never had a bad elk, but I have never eaten a 'trophy'.

Antelope can smell pretty awful when you dress them out but wow do they taste good.

Deer are browsers more so than elk and pronghorn (that eat primamrily grass) they can be 'flavored' by their environment.

January 26, 2013, 07:21 AM
Well actually there are three species of elk in North America, Rocky Mountain Elk, Tule Elk and the Roosevelt Elk.
Fair enough, but the fact remains that there used to be another one that was hunted to extinction because of a preference for the meat.

Lloyd Smale
January 26, 2013, 07:55 AM
I guess to be really fair about this youd have to compare year old does from each that were exposed to the best feed. Problem is that doesnt happen. Its probably why i can take or leave elk. All the elk ive ate has been from trophy bulls. Now if i had to compare the meat from trophy bulls id take caribou hands down over any of it.

January 26, 2013, 10:01 AM
Where I hunt, the whitetail is terrific. They live off of corn, soybeans and berries for the most part as it is agricultural land with lowland woods. The mule deer I've tasted for further west of us was not near as good, but they lived off of grass. Other Mule deer I've had was almost as good as the whitetail I hunt, but it was taken by a friend in Colorado just outside of town and had lived off of neighborhood gardens.

It really does depend on what they eat.

As for elk, I've only had commercially raised elk, and it was incredibly good.

January 27, 2013, 12:30 AM
I've had lots of all three and they tend to vary for some reason, diet perhaps.
How they are shot and cared for matters also as already stated.
That said a young (cow or spike) elk or a cropland whitetail are hard to beat, but my all time favorite was a smaller 4 point bottomland muley buck shot just before rut. It was just fantastic.

If you enjoyed reading about "Difference in taste?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!