how to tell if frozen deer meat is bad

How to tell if frozen deer meat is bad?’ is an important question to ask when you want to check if your deer meat is still safe to eat. 

It’s a common practice to freeze meats of all kinds. Deer meat is no exception and we toss this meat into the freezer all the time.

This helps to prevent food wastage and also saves time and energy from buying deer meat every time we want to eat it. 

Like every other meat, deer meat can go bad in the freezer. And you may need to confirm if the deer meat is safe to eat before you go ahead to make dishes with it. 

You can tell that your frozen deer meat is bad when you notice a change in smell, odor, or texture.  You should also discard the meat once you can no longer remember when you stored it in the freezer. 

If you want to know how to tell if your deer meat has gone bad, you should read this article till the end.

I will show you what signs to look out for to confirm your question. 

Is It Okay To Freeze Deer Meat?

okay to freeze deer meat

Deer meat or venison is a rich and flavorful meat that is gotten from deer. It is often eaten by Americans.

This meat is very low in fat and rich in protein. Those that love wild meats often go for deer meat a lot.

Deer meat has different cuts that could be used to prepare a variety of dishes.

The cuts come with different tastes and it is important as a venison lover to put this into consideration when you want to prepare your venison dishes. 

Yes, it is advisable to use the freezing method to store your deer meat. Most of the time, you can only get deer meat in a frozen state from farmers and superstores.

Well, unless you want to go hunting yourself. So it is very important you take special care in storing the meat as soon as possible. 

Like every other meat, deer meat can go bad as soon as possible at room temperature.

Note: Effective preservation methods need to be put in place to prevent your meat from going to waste.

How Can You Tell If Deer Meat Is Bad? 

how tell if deer meat bad

Deer are mostly hunted in the winter because the spoilage bacteria are quick to act on the meat immediately after the animal is dead.

It is therefore advised to keep the meat cold as soon as possible.

Deer meat should not stay for more than 5 hours at room temperature or it will go bad. 

In case you were not able to store your meat immediately and your instinct is telling you something might be wrong with the meat, then you need to confirm to avoid food poisoning. 

To confirm, watch out for these few signs in your fresh deer meat; 

Brown Colouration

Instead of bright red, brown coloration is a good indication that the deer meat might not be safe to eat anymore.

Although, this is not a strong indication according to food experts. 

But you should check the other signs to be doubly sure your meat has really gone bad.

Greenish hue and yellowish hue are all telltale signs of bad deer meat. It is safe to discard meat that has all these colors.

Dry And Flaky Meat

a dry and flaky meat

When you leave your fresh deer meat open at room temperature, the meat can become dry and flaky on the surface.

This reveals that oxidation has taken place and the quality of the meat has been compromised.

Stored In The Refridgerator 

If you leave your meat in the fridge for more than four days, then there is a likelihood that the meat has gone bad.

Deer meat should not exceed 3-4 days in the refrigerator. 

Foul Smell

Put the meat close up close to your nose. If you notice a rancid smell, that means your meat is no longer suitable for consumption.

You can decide to toss it into the bin or give it to your animals. 

Tip: All fresh deer meat should be frozen as soon as possible. 

How Long Can You Keep Frozen Deer Meat?

how long can keep frozen

It is often advised by food authority agencies to not keep frozen meat for more than a year before you consume it.

Keeping it longer than that will compromise its quality and taste. 

For best results, divide your deer meat into large cuts like steaks and roasts before you freeze it.

This will help you avoid freezer burns. Cutting your deer meat into thin venison before freezing can make it lose taste within two months in the freezer.  

Some people believe that you can store meat for as long as 10 years in the deep freezer but I personally think this is not good advice.

The optimal time to leave your frozen deer meat in the freezer is one year.

Tip: Using a vacuum to seal the bags and using a chest freezer will help your meat stay longer

How To Tell If Frozen Deer Meat Is Bad?

how tell frozen deer meat bad

Deer meat can go bad in the freezer. There are different indicators that could tell you that your frozen deer meat has gone bad.

You need to watch out for these signs;

Sign #1: Change In Color

Frozen deer meat should be bright red in color. When the color changes to gray or brown, it is a strong sign that it has gone bad.

You can notice this change in color while the meat is frozen or after it has been thawed. 

Sign #2: Pungent Smell

Frozen deer meat that has gone bad will have a weird smell. The smell can be very strong or mild depending on how long it has gone bad. 

The strong smell is similar to that of rotten eggs or ammonia. Once you notice a smell you are uncomfortable with, it is time to bin the meat. 

Sign #3: The Meat Has Viscous Slime Or Mould On It

Once you notice a slimy, sticky texture or white mold on your deer meat cut, it means the meat has gone bad.

viscous slime or molds

Fresh deer meat should be firm to the touch, with no white patches on the surface. 

Sign #4:  The Container Has Been Broken In The Freezer

If the container or freezer bag that contains your deer meat got broken in the freezer and you were not aware, the meat might have gone bad before you noticed. 

The meat has been exposed to different bacteria in the air from the other products besides it.

The smell and taste would have been altered. 

Sign #5: The Meat Got Thawed In The Freezer

This can happen when the freezer malfunctions.

You should not meet your meat in a puddle of water in the freezer bags when it’s meant to still be frozen.

The meat is no longer safe to eat once it thaws itself in the freezer. 

Sign #6: You Have Forgotten The Expiry Date

If you forget to label your freezer bags with the expiry date and you can no longer remember, it’s safer to discard the deer meat than to eat it.

Deer meat loses its quality when it has exceeded some period of time in the freezer and you don’t want to take risks with your health. 

Sign #7: Freezer Burn

the freezer burn

Freezer burn can make your frozen deer meat go bad. The taste and quality of the meat have been greatly affected and compromised.

This often happens when you freeze smaller cuts of deer meat. 

Tip: Make sure your deer meat is kept at a constant temperature within the freezer the whole time because fluctuations in temperature will spoil the meat. 

Read Next: What Does Moose Meat Taste Like? Truth Revealed!


How can you tell if frozen deer meat has gone bad? You can tell by looking out for the smell, texture, look, and expiry dates. 

This will help you confirm the state of your meat before you cook it.

You do not want to have wasted time and resources in cooking your deer meat only to taste it and find out it has gone bad. 

These signs would help you know if it’s safe to eat your meat or if you should discard it for safety reasons.