Seasonal variation in venison quality of mature, farmed red deer stags in New Zealand.


Two studies involving 20 red deer (Cervus elaphus) stags were conducted to determine the effects of season on venison quality. In each study, five sexually mature red deer stags were slaughtered immediately preceding the rut (autumn) and five were slaughtered after the rut. Stags slaughtered postrut had lower carcass weights (25 to 30%) than those slaughtered prerut. Average bodywall thickness measurements above the 12th rib (an indicator of fat thickness) were approximately 31 mm prerut compared with 3 to 7 mm postrut. Individual muscles and retail cuts (which included subcutaneous and intermuscular fat) were heavier in prerut carcasses. There were significant decreases in intramuscular fat in both the longissimus muscle and the semimembranosus muscle. Postrut longissimus muscle steaks appeared brighter and(or) fresher than the other groups; color acceptability was negatively correlated (P less than .05) with fat content. Prerut streaks from both muscles were more tender than postrut steaks from those muscles. Overall desirability and tenderness were highly correlated (r = .94 and .82 for longissimus muscle and semimembranosus muscle, respectively).


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@article{Stevenson1992SeasonalVI, title={Seasonal variation in venison quality of mature, farmed red deer stags in New Zealand.}, author={J. T. M. Stevenson and Dennis L Seman and Roger P. Littlejohn}, journal={Journal of animal science}, year={1992}, volume={70 5}, pages={1389-96} }