Do Rutted Bucks Taste Different?
Hunters often reason that their venison tastes gamy because it came from a rutting buck. Is that really true, though? I don’t think so.
In the beef industry, a poor-tasting deer would be classified as a “dark cutter.” Dark cutters are rare, with less than 1% of cows getting this label. Dark cutters achieve that status by undergoing hours of extreme stress, and studies show that interactions with strange animals are the most prominent stressors for cattle.
For deer, it’s impossible to say what counts as a stressor to them, but it doesn’t seem like the month-long rut is one of them. The more likely reason that your venison tastes badly is that it’s an old deer, was cared for poorly or cooked incorrectly.