Venison was never a staple in my diet. My dad was not a big hunter and the closest I had to "eating deer" growing up was when a buddy of his would make deer jerky or deer sticks. Of course with all of those spices, you can't tell that you're eating a deer. But really, like I said, should it matter?
Now that I date a hunter ( who hunts for sustenance, NOT game ) I've had a chance to eat deer in all different ways. And you know what? It's pretty damn good! And it's good for you. Venison is very lean and cooks just like a turkey ( ground ) or cow ( steak ) and can be used in place of other meats in most ingredients.
I will admit...sometimes it can taste a bit "gamey"...but there are various ways to mask the taste.
A few ways I've used deer in dishes are:
*venison chili--pretty much just make chili as you normally would but substitute beef with deer
*venison steaks--you can marinade them as you would a beef steak
*stuffed peppers ( I do my peppers with quinoa instead of rice, and don't use tomato sauce )
*cheeseburger/deerburger dip for parties
Also, per outdoorlife.com, venison meat contains more protein, vitamins and minerals than beef does. So for those of you who are dieting or weight-lifting, deer is a great meat to add to your diet!
Another benefit to eating venison is that you are helping reduce overpopulation in an effective way. When deer over-breed, there is a higher risk for disease. It is also a cheaper way to obtain meat instead of going to your local grocery store and paying an insane amount per pound for meat that you don't know who cut and prepared.
Nate shot a deer the other night; a nice-sized doe. This is just the backstrap of said deer:
After cutting a few decent-sized steaks for tonight's dinner, he butterflied God-knows-how-much more for freezing. Last time he shot a deer, we ended up with 10 lbs. of ground venison--I still haven't used it all. And you know how much it cost? Nothing. Maybe the price of ammo. A little bit of time. And a skilled hunter.
Do some research. Find some good recipes. Experiment. And always be willing to try new things: you never know what you may be missing out on! :)