One day back in November I was duck hunting when my phone rang. Getting cell service at Grand Pass was unusual enough, but the call was even more extraordinary.
A friend was calling to ask my advice. He had shot a deer the night before and was in a quandary over whether the meat was fit to eat. He said the loins and hams were covered with dark red spots. When he cut through the loin he discovered the red spots weren’t just on the surface. They extended right through the grain of the meat.
Bob has processed dozens – maybe hundreds – of deer since he began hunting at age 13, yet he had never seen anything like this. I hadn’t either. I understood why he was hesitant to eat the meat and suggested that he contact one of a Conservation Department deer biologist. He did, and Resource Scientist Jason Sumners told him the meat was okay to eat.
Sumners says this is the most common question he gets from hunters who process their own deer. He says blood spotting can result when a deer doesn’t die quickly after being shot. Bob had shot this deer in the head, so it is likely its heart continued to pump blood even though the deer dropped in its tracks when shot.
I did an Internet search for “blood spots in venison” and found the same question on several hunting forums. In every case, the hunter mentioned having shot the questionable deer in the head.
So if you ever encounter this condition, rest assured the meat is okay to eat.