Years ago I killed a heavy massed 58" bull moose. When we walked up to it laying there we could see, as well as smell, that he had just been in a waller hole. It was almost dark and starting to rain. Pretty much being a rookie moose hunter at the time having only killed one small bull previously, I could only go by what my father had taught me about taking care of deer....to always try and keep the meat dry. With that in mind, with it starting to rain and neither of us with any flashlights...(it was only supposed to be a quick walk before dark and I don't think we even had packs)...my buddy and I thought it would be best to gut the bull, prop him up on his backside, and put some sticks in the cavity to allow the heat to escape. I We didn't live far and would be back in the morning at first light.
When we started to do up the bull I remember the first thing I noticed was that he was still very warm on his backside where he was against the ground. We did him up and packed him out and didn't think anything else about it. I can't remember what piece of meat we decided to cook up first but when it started cooking I could tell right away that something was up, as the smell permeated the air in the house. Not a terrible smell, but not like I was used to smelling when moose was being cooked either. Turned out that the bull was edible and we ate the whole thing, but it was, and still is, the strongest moose I've ever eaten.
Since then, of course I "know" /slash/ have been told, that when a bull is rutting you can't get that hide off fast enough. I've also heard stories of whole moose that have been thrown out "because" they were so strong from being heavily in the rut. Now we all know that during the rut moose follow the cows and will start drinking their urine like caribou do and we all know what happens to caribou bull meat at this time.
The question I have is: After learning about bone sour, was the strong meat caused by leaving the hide on the moose overnight and it not cooling down properly? Or was the strong meat caused by the amount of urine that the bull had ingested for a long period of time? Was it a bit of both?
Since then I've killed many bulls bigger than that one, and probably just as heavy into the rut as that bull was. I've never tasted strong moose meat since then. But I can't help but wonder what actually caused the strong/er taste of the meat? I'm now tending to believe that actual bone sour was the reason with this bull, and some of the other stories I've heard, rather than just an old rutted up bull? Had we gotten that hide off right away would it have been different, or could it still have been as strong?
What say you...???