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Thread: Avoiding Rutting Caribou Bulls

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    Default Avoiding Rutting Caribou Bulls

    All:

    I'm headed to Kotz to hunt 'Bou the last 10 days of September. I'd like to take every precaution to ensure that I return with all of the meat should I kill a bull. Are there any tricks or pieces of advice you might share to avoid shooting a bull that is rutted to the point of spoilage? Maybe there are behavioral cues? Maybe size? Maybe my timing is off?

    Any help at all would be great.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Member STEELHED's Avatar
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    Make sure he hasn't rubbed all the hair off of his belly from climbing on cows. Sometimes there is not much you can do, hard to tell. Best thing to do is not hunt them during the rut!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasewild View Post
    All:

    I'm headed to Kotz to hunt 'Bou the last 10 days of September. I'd like to take every precaution to ensure that I return with all of the meat should I kill a bull.
    You don't have a choice on returning with all of the meat or not. If you kill it you have to salvage all of the meat and bring it out with you even if it is spoiled. Caribou meat from a rutting bull is not spoiled it just doesn't task good to some people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post
    You don't have a choice on returning with all of the meat or not. If you kill it you have to salvage all of the meat and bring it out with you even if it is spoiled. Caribou meat from a rutting bull is not spoiled it just doesn't task good to some people.
    ^^^^^^^^

    I've eaten it more then once and it's fine to me. Usually just mix it with something....

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    Of course it's coming out with me. But I'd rather eat it than donate it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    ^^^^^^^^

    I've eaten it more then once and it's fine to me. Usually just mix it with something....

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    I hunted out of Kotz the same dates in 2011 with 3 buds, we got 3 ave. bulls and 1 toad that was following 20+ cows (rutting). Was the best meat I ever ate (have not tried moose yet). We skinned, quartered, & bagged the meat as soon as we could and kept it clean and cool. ps- if you have time check out the museum in Kotz and the local craft store across the street

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    Quote Originally Posted by timberman56 View Post
    I hunted out of Kotz the same dates in 2011 with 3 buds, we got 3 ave. bulls and 1 toad that was following 20+ cows (rutting). Was the best meat I ever ate (have not tried moose yet). We skinned, quartered, & bagged the meat as soon as we could and kept it clean and cool. ps- if you have time check out the museum in Kotz and the local craft store across the street
    That's great timberman. Very excited.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasewild View Post
    Of course it's coming out with me. But I'd rather eat it than donate it.
    Yep to nasty for me give it to the poor,they will eat anything
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Yep to nasty for me give it to the poor,they will eat anything
    Never had caribou meat. Never had caribou meat from a bull in the rut. Don't know what to expect Amigo. So I'm here making sure I do everything in my power to kill, and eat, a caribou. Your sarcasm is misplaced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasewild View Post
    Never had caribou meat. Never had caribou meat from a bull in the rut. Don't know what to expect Amigo. So I'm here making sure I do everything in my power to kill, and eat, a caribou. Your sarcasm is misplaced.
    What's misplaced about it? It appears from your statement that if the meat isn't to your liking, you have no problem giving it to someone else to eat.

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Let's start over shall we?

    "I'm flying out of Kotz September 21 and would like to know what visual aides I can look for in a bull caribou to ensure I don't catch one in rut."

    Easy enough, right?
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...accounts-only?

    See last post by strangerinstrangeland.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...o-Bull-anymore

    Here is some good advice buried in the first post, that you can keep in mind later in September for what to look for.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...aribou-amp-ect

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    Quote Originally Posted by timberman56 View Post
    I hunted out of Kotz the same dates in 2011 with 3 buds, we got 3 ave. bulls and 1 toad that was following 20+ cows (rutting). Was the best meat I ever ate (have not tried moose yet). We skinned, quartered, & bagged the meat as soon as we could and kept it clean and cool. ps- if you have time check out the museum in Kotz and the local craft store across the street

    No offense intended, but I would seek advice from folks from Alaska, not Alabama. IMHO, he got lucky. Rutting bulls that are consuming large quantities of cow urine during the rut are horrible table fare. I have seen dogs that would not eat it. Not all will be that way, but it only takes one to make you think twice about harvesting another one. Your time frame is still on the early side and as warm as it has been that time of year lately you may be Okay.

    PM strangerinstrangeland, he lives on caribou meat and knows more about hunting them than most here.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    I still don't understand how anyone can say that caribou - any caribou - is the best wild game meat they have ever eaten. If someone had only ever eaten caribou and had no other frame of reference, then that by default would be a valid statement. However, there are many people that should have some access to different deer species that claim its the best ever.

    I have eaten rocky mountain elk, hay and sage brush mule deer, coastal columbia black tail deer, southeast sitka black tail deer, WI corn fed white tail, moose, dall sheep, and caribou from both Adak, and Nelchina.

    The top of the list is the southeast black tail. Early August old growth forest deer fat from eating cabbage all summer under the cedars. Hard to say what comes in second to that, but caribou is last in line. If I ever get a wild bison then the caribou will move down the list.

    I have never had caribou meat that did not have a hint of tundra flavor to it. But people claim its the best they have ever had. Boggles my mind. Just what kind of meat are these people normally eating? Did they freeze their tounge to a lightpole when they were a kid and now have no taste buds? Did they eat dirt and chew the bark off trees as a kid and meat with a hint of forest duff has a certain bouquet they enjoy? Does their two pack a day habit cause them to say everything tastes great since "ashtray" is the only flavor they have tasted in years?

    I like my caribou just fine, and this years old bull was, well, and old bull and tastes like it. He was not rutty, but he had been a live for awhile and thus had some "flavor". He makes great sausage and wonderful chili. But best wild game meat ever? Not even close.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasewild View Post
    All:

    I'm headed to Kotz to hunt 'Bou the last 10 days of September. I'd like to take every precaution to ensure that I return with all of the meat should I kill a bull. Are there any tricks or pieces of advice you might share to avoid shooting a bull that is rutted to the point of spoilage? Maybe there are behavioral cues? Maybe size? Maybe my timing is off?

    Any help at all would be great.

    Thanks in advance.
    Not knowing what you want in a bull I'll just say this..... If you are wanting a big bull so you can have a nice rack as well, then when you see groups of bou, usually there will be at least one big white maned bull in the group. He will probably be the one with the biggest rack as well.....notice I didn't say the "nicest" rack, but probably the one with the most mass anyway. He could look like a hockey stick, but he will probably have some mass to him. Unfortunately, if you find one of these there is a good chance that he will be the one that "could" taste bad because he's been playing with all his cows for awhile. So keep this in mind.

    Now, again, depending on what you want for a rack, there is always a chance you can find satellite bulls that will usually be following the groups around in hopes of stealing away a cow from the herd bull. A satellite, or adolescent bull may not have the most mass, but can very well have a very good looking rack. These are the bulls that will more than likely be better eating as they haven't had much time around the cows because they've been run off by the herd bull.

    Nothing's set in stone, but it's something to think about. Usually around the first 2 weeks of Oct. is when you are taking a big chance at getting a nasty tasting bull. But there is a very good chance that on the last day of Sept. there could still be some good eating herd bulls to be found. Every year the rut can be a little bit different. Just keep in mind that during the last 10 days of Sept., or any time for that matter, a younger bull will be your best chance at getting some better eating meat.

    So take your pick.........a big bull with a massive rack w/ the chance that he will be lousy table fare, Or a little younger bull still with some decent horns, and a better chance you'll be happy at the table.

    BTW......I'd have to agree with AK Ray.....bou meat has never been my favorite either. Is it ok?......yes. The best?.......not even close. imho.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    4merguide - thanks for this reply! I haven't hunted caribou (yet) but had wondered if dominance would play a role. It makes sense to me in theory; can anybody verify or dispute what they have seen in the field/on the table?? One of these days somebody needs to set up a taste test with some of this rut meat and see if there is a consensus if it really is that nasty, or maybe some just have a more "refined" palate I mean, I think onions and celery are the worst thing known to man but plenty of people seem to love them!

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    The big rack thing can be an issue on your first hunt. Even a run of the mill animal can seem huge. Then you will have a big rack and good meat.

    This year my bull had the most mass in a group of large bulls. He was the most relaxed bull in the group and ended up being the only one I had a shot at. Compared to last years teenage stupid bull he has flavor. Both have the hint of tundra, but the older bull has a stronger taste.

    No need to taste test a rutting bull. They are just awful.

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    Been up there the last two falls hunting caribou and moose. Caribou are rutting later, never seen or smelled a rutting bull the last two seasons, hunted late Sept. In '11, was there till early Oct, no problem. BUT, could be different if cold snap hits earlier, but stranger says it stays warmer long, above freezing anyways and freeze up comes later and later. Even he does not kill bulls in the rut, so these guys saying it's not bad, probly is cause it was still pre rut. Caribou travel in herd! We caught lots bulls, a few cows and they were mixed. Big monster bulls only had one cow in the herd, following her, but they were not in RUT! So do as directed, contact stranger and get more details. Ask about antler difference too. I'll try and describe quick. Cows antlers from tips down to bez's tips make a C, where bulls make a L.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Ray, for what it's worth, I love caribou meat. I've had some that weren't awesome, but the last three caribou we've taken have been every bit as good as blacktail and moose in my opinion and better than bison. Nothing tops dall sheep, but man - we love caribou meat.

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    phone 263.jpg Where the mains split off the base into bez's i think they are called, is where you will the C or L basically. Don't over think it! All the caribou in this pic are bulls! You can search for that thread, can't remember is HuntAK59 or myself posted it. Stranger posted a version also. Take good gear and have fun!

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