Well we had great success with the deer roast this weekend. We did end up brining and it was a definate improvement on the last time we did a deer roast (which was excellent so that tells you how good this one was). I decided to brine afterall because in a conversation with my Dad on the subject of soaking wild game it seemed the best thing to do. I tend to head his advice on all matters pertaining to meat as he has his docterate in meat science. Anyway he told me that "soaking in plain cold water is not going to pull moisture out of the product. It will not pull flavor out of the product, but there may be some characteristics (including microbiological) on the surface of the meat that would impact the flavor that could be partially rinsed away.
Soaking in a brine would pull "free" water out of the product because of the difference in sodium gradient between the water and the meat. However, unless you soak it for a LONG time, the salt concentration in the water would have to be extremely high to impact the moisture of the product. When you cook it, allot of the "free" water will evaporate any way. The flavor in any meat product (with no spices) is in the fatty acids in the meat. I don't know if its so much pulling flavor out as it is pulling the blood out and adding salt flavor to the meat which would mitigate the "wild" flavor. Most people don't like an intense "wild" flavor so that's why they soak it.
One positive thing is that the soaking in salt will have a bactericidal effect, which if the product isn't cooked well, could be an issue on product that comes from an animal killed in the wild, gutted while hanging in a tree, carried on somebody's back to the truck, and driven 50 to 300 miles to somewhere that its refrigerated. If it's 20 degrees out, that's not such a big deal. If it's 50 or 60 degrees out, that could be a bigger issue."
Well after all the debate was done we soaked the roast in a couple changes of clean water and then into a brine overnight. The brine was 1 qt. water per pound of meat, 1/4 c. kosher salt, 1/2 c. sugar, 3 Tblp. of rub spice mix. The next morning I patted dry the roast and cut a few long, shallow slits in the top that I then stuffed with a cheap, fatty bacon. Then I slathered on some mustard and added a roasted pecan rub. Then onto the smoker till it reached 165. We will most definatly be doing this again. And I was so impreased with how the brine helped the flavor that I will be brining all of my deer roasts from now on.