Characteristics of Nilgai Antelope Carcasses and Meat Quality
Keywords:Game, Nilgai, Antelope, Tenderness
Nilgai antelope are a large bovid native to India that were introduced to southern Texas for recreational hunting, and are commercially harvested for exotic meat markets. The objective of this research was to determine the carcass characteristics and meat quality attributes of free ranging nilgai antelope (Boselaphus tragocamelus Pallas). Twenty nilgai (nine females; 11 males), of various maturity, were harvested to determine carcass characteristics. Muscle profiling of 15 different muscles was conducted to determine muscle weights, shear force, and color. Male nilgai had heavier (P < 0.05) live, field dressed, and carcass weights combined with a greater (P < 0.05) dressing percentage than the female nilgai. The male nilgai also had heavier (P < 0.05) carcass components, and a larger (P < 0.05) longissimus muscle area than the females. Females had lower (P < 0.05) shear force values for the adductor, longissimus dorsi, supraspinatus, semitendinosus, and triceps brachii with a trend (P = 0.057) for a lower shear force value for the rectus femoris compared to males for steaks aged 7d then frozen. There was little difference in meat color between genders.