Can You Eat Three Year Old Venison?

Storing venison after a successful hunt or purchase is a key component to preserving your food for a later date…but we all have old meat in the bottom of the freezer.

If it stays frozen, can you eat three year old venison?

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Can You Eat Three Year Old Venison?

Under perfect conditions, you can still eat three year old frozen venison. This means your freezer has to stay at zero degrees Fahrenheit and it has to be packaged properly with no damage or exposure to air. However, you should expect 9 to 12 months on average for storing venison in your freezer.

If you happen to cook venison before freezing, this changes the storage life in the freezer.

Can You Eat Three Year Old Venison

How Long is Frozen Venison Good For?

According to the USDA, frozen venison is safe to consume after three years. This statement is true only after you have properly stored the venison and have your freezer set at zero degrees Fahrenheit.

A problem that you might run into is the quality of the venison. When uncooked, the quality and taste should remain the same for up to a year of being frozen, while three years might affect taste and consistency.

In addition, the cut of meat makes a difference too. For example, raw ground meat or sausage lasts up to a few months, while steaks or roasts can last up to a year or more.

Tips for Preservation

  • Vacuum seal your venison
  • Keep your freezer constantly at zero degrees
  • Remember uncooked venison lasts longer
  • The cut of meat makes a difference

Best Methods for Cooking Old Venison?

There is plenty of debate about what to do with venison when it is fresh.

But what about cooking frozen venison that has been in the freezer for three years?

Your best bet is to use it in something that will mask the taste of the venison, in the event that the meat does not taste as great.

Some terrific options are chili or stew, which are perfect after a cold day of hunting.

Venison Stew

Methods to Try

Keep in mind that once the venison has thawed, it needs to be put to use right away.

In most cases, you can use the venison for just about any method you want to experiment with. The following are quick ideas to try:

How to Tell if Three Year Old Venison is Still Good

In order to check if your venison is still good after three years, you will need to rely on your senses.

Hopefully, the meat passes all the tests, and the taste part is last.


Deer meat, when fresh, should be damp or slightly wet. At no point should it feel soggy or slimy. However, freezing it makes it feel a bit different, so this might not be as effective as other senses.


Venison should be a deep red color and has a deep sheen to it.

If it is brown, this is a good indication that it could be bad or going bad. Ground venison complicates things, so be sure to check the inside of the ground chuck for any brown colors.


A foul smell should be the first indication of bad venison. When frozen, it might take a little longer to notice. Once it thaws, the smell of a sewer will grow more intense.

Final Thoughts

If the venison has been properly wrapped and stored, there should be no issue with eating three-year-old venison.

The taste and quality may be compromised, or you may have to trim off some freezer-burned sections of the meat, but it is edible and okay to eat.

I personally have eaten frozen venison up to 4 years old without any issues, and its usually cooked in a spaghetti, meatloaf or venison taco recipe.

Thanks for reading!