"Ranched" vs. "Farmed" Venison

Deer and antelope raised for venison production are grown with a wide variation in diet, climate, and environment. How they are raised and harvested can make a significant difference in quality and taste.

At Broken Arrow Ranch, we field-harvest only "ranched," or free-range, deer and antelope. The distinction between farmed animals and ranched animals is based on the terrain they inhabit and how their food is provided. The term "farmed" also implies the animals are more domesticated and available for counting, handling, etc.

The principal difference between farmed venison and the free-range venison provided by Broken Arrow Ranch is related to the diet of the animal. Mark Miller, in his Coyote Cafe: Foods from the Great Southwest cookbook, states "The flavor of game is rich and wonderful: it has all the tones of fragrant forests, and wild herbs and berries.... Luckily for us, game is now being raised on (open) ranches where it is allowed to range freely in its natural habitat. The animals forage on native bushes and grasses which give the meat its distinctive flavor."

The meat of free-ranging deer and antelope generally has a more "complex" flavor than that of farmed game. The distinction is like that of an assortment of fine wines. Each has its own distinct taste. Some prefer one, some the other.

One of the unique aspects of venison available from Broken Arrow Ranch is the way in which the animals are killed. Almost all other farmed or ranched game is killed at a conventional slaughterhouse where the animals have been brought for slaughter. The loading and handling of the animals causes stress which can negatively affect the quality and taste of the meat.

At Broken Arrow Ranch, we field-harvest the animals while they are undisturbed in their natural environment. This procedure is more costly than conventional slaughter, but it allows us to provide meat of the highest quality.

Free-range "ranched" wild game meat from Broken Arrow Ranch is the finest game meat you can buy. As Mark Miller further states in his cookbook, "At Coyote Cafe, we are fortunate in having an especially good source of wild game: Mike Hughes' Broken Arrow Ranch in Ingram, Texas, one of the best-managed game ranches in the world." Thanks, Mark. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.