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Thread: 2018 Haul Road Caribou Thread

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sambuck12 View Post
    Looks like its that time of year again. The north slope caribou rut in October. STAY AWAY! The bulls will be inedible. Not fit for human consumption. Nasty, gross, smelly, tainted. I made the mistake once. It isn't worth it! No amount of seasoning or marinating would make a rutted up bull caribou edible. DON'T DO IT!! I wish hunting season up there would be closed for bulls starting about October 3 and running through about October 25th. Its that bad. Don't just take my word for it do a search on this forum.

    I beg beg beg to differ

  2. #22
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    Early October is a good time to go. My buddies and I shot 4 bulls the first week around Columbus day a few years back. No issues with rut.

    It is possible they could be in rut at that time. It probably just depends on how the weather has been. If it has been cold and snowing, they probably already went through rut. If it is still warm, they may be in rut.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runner 19 View Post
    Early October is a good time to go. My buddies and I shot 4 bulls the first week around Columbus day a few years back. No issues with rut.

    It is possible they could be in rut at that time. It probably just depends on how the weather has been. If it has been cold and snowing, they probably already went through rut. If it is still warm, they may be in rut.
    Appreciate the personal input...I've always stayed away then so I may have to reconsider. Any idea about when they start smelling in mass?
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    Appreciate the personal input...I've always stayed away then so I may have to reconsider. Any idea about when they start smelling in mass?

    ...Early october...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    Appreciate the personal input...I've always stayed away then so I may have to reconsider. Any idea about when they start smelling in mass?
    No need to reconsider... If Runner 19 shot 4 bulls around the first week of Oct. with no gamey meat, then those were the exception. That, or he doesn't know what gamey meat smells or tastes like? If a big bull during the first two-three weeks of Oct. is what you want to feed your family with then you are taking a huge chance. However, each bull will be different. Satellite bulls who's hormones haven't gone absolutely crazy yet because they keep being chased away from the receptive cows by the herd bulls, or the meat from a very, VERY young bull "MAY" not be as effected, but if it's a big ol' herd bull you want, rest assured that there will be a 99.999% chance it will not be fit to take up room in your freezer!

    A couple years ago I killed a big bull on the 17th of Sept. All the meat was perfectly fine, BUT because I didn't drain the blood from the chunks of burger meat well enough before putting it in the grinder, it ended up being almost too gamey for me....and I was pretty much raised on game meat. We ate it all, but mainly because I ended up making smoked sausage out of it. As a stand alone burger?....not for me.

    Do yourself a favor, listen to what most everybody here has said and do what you have always done....stay away from those bulls at that time of year....I mean, if you want meat for the table anyway...
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  6. #26

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    Just returned from quick trip. Road conditions were treacherous on the way due to the mud and craters along road from Yukon to Coldfoot. It snowed the entire weekend which definitely improved the travel time along the northbound route (beyond Atigun Pass). On our return the roads were much improved due to some extensive dirt/gravel work. Unfortunately, my daughter's gear wasn't up to the task for the snow. Better planning next time...

  7. #27
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    I can only tell you what I shot and ate from my own experience. Three other hunters and myself all shot bulls around Columbus day. I know other hunters that go up there that time of year and have never had problems with bad meat. This is a forum so people can say whatever they want regardless of whether they have actually hunted an area or are just making a general statement about all game. Ultimately, you have to decide if it is worth the drive and make the call on whether a bull is in rut or not.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    No need to reconsider... If Runner 19 shot 4 bulls around the first week of Oct. with no gamey meat, then those were the exception. That, or he doesn't know what gamey meat smells or tastes like? If a big bull during the first two-three weeks of Oct. is what you want to feed your family with then you are taking a huge chance. However, each bull will be different. Satellite bulls who's hormones haven't gone absolutely crazy yet because they keep being chased away from the receptive cows by the herd bulls, or the meat from a very, VERY young bull "MAY" not be as effected, but if it's a big ol' herd bull you want, rest assured that there will be a 99.999% chance it will not be fit to take up room in your freezer!

    A couple years ago I killed a big bull on the 17th of Sept. All the meat was perfectly fine, BUT because I didn't drain the blood from the chunks of burger meat well enough before putting it in the grinder, it ended up being almost too gamey for me....and I was pretty much raised on game meat. We ate it all, but mainly because I ended up making smoked sausage out of it. As a stand alone burger?....not for me.

    Do yourself a favor, listen to what most everybody here has said and do what you have always done....stay away from those bulls at that time of year....I mean, if you want meat for the table anyway...
    hmm that sounds off, I wonder if you may have waited to long to get the meat in the freezer. There is a very good possibility that the meat started to sour. I have seen this happen in September when the weather is warm and the meat is not rushed out of the field. Once upon a time on a warm fall day I was given a haul road caribou by hunters who needed it to get processed and frozen. A day later when I got home and put it away it was bad. I knew it was already gone when they had given it to me but I had to try.

  9. #29
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    Several years ago 2 friends and I each shot bulls around the 7th of October on the haul road. 3 total. The ONLY edible one of the 3 was a 2-3 year old bull. He was strong smelling but edible. The other two we tried everything we could think of and still couldnít stomach them. There was no souring on these animals. It was well below freezing when they were harvested. Iíve never made that mistake again and encourage each of you to ask around. Ask someone who has done it. It is a waste. Rutted up caribou is way worse than elk or deer!!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by iyouktug View Post
    hmm that sounds off, I wonder if you may have waited to long to get the meat in the freezer. There is a very good possibility that the meat started to sour.
    Nope, like I said the meat itself was perfectly fine....all of it. I killed it with snow on the ground and then it cleared off that night, got down below freezing and chilled the meat to the bone. Stayed almost ice cold right on up to when I cut it up. Even the burger chunks stayed ice cold in the fridge. I know had I taken the time to rinse the blood off the burger chunks it would have been fine like all the rest of it. That gamey flavor it got was from all that blood I grinded into the meat. Again, we ate it, but it was less than I would call "ideal"....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Nope, like I said the meat itself was perfectly fine....all of it. I killed it with snow on the ground and then it cleared off that night, got down below freezing and chilled the meat to the bone. Stayed almost ice cold right on up to when I cut it up. Even the burger chunks stayed ice cold in the fridge. I know had I taken the time to rinse the blood off the burger chunks it would have been fine like all the rest of it. That gamey flavor it got was from all that blood I grinded into the meat. Again, we ate it, but it was less than I would call "ideal"....
    I appreciate the feedback and I see your point here. Definitely will have to keep that issue in mind if Iím lucky enough to score one of these October bulls.

  12. #32
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    For the folks that have had good meat or bad meat in October, I HAVE A QUESTION!!! How long after the kill did your meat get below 35 F in temperature??? If meat starts to or does freeze before natural rigor sets in, that alone can cause meat to be extremely tough as well as taint the taste. If it stays "thawed" for something like 20-72 hours I hear that is "Better" for the final outcome of the meat. Just curious on personal experiences. Thanks
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  13. #33
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    I know what you're saying about meat freezing before rigor. They also claim the same with fish. But believe me, when it comes to caribou, it has nothing to do with what temp. the meat was kept at. It's the amount of hormones raging through the animal. And like I said, each bull will be different during different times during the rut.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  14. #34
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    My experience went like this. 3 of us drive north. We find a place to pull off of the road and start the death march. We set up a quick camp by a knoll and start hiking beyond that. We find the first bou and get him dead. Decent bull, not huge but decent, 3-4 cows with him. As we were working on him we look up and another smaller (antlers were 2 1/2 feet long probably) bull by himself is looking at us. I say if he's still there when we are done with this one ill shoot him. He's still there so i shoot him. I was cold that night but i don't know how cold. I do know that when I boiled maybe 8 oz of water that night to do some dishes it was too hot at first to touch then when i set it aside for less than 5 mins it had chilled to frozen solid. Dead to skinned on both of those bulls was probably an hour. The next morning we had a big bull run past camp with no chance of a shot. We looked to where he came from thinking wolf or bear or an even bigger bull had kicked his butt. Sure enough we found a herd of 20-30 cows and a really big bull. That bull came home with us. Even before we opened that one up i was covering my nose. Heck i covered my nose while taking pics of it! It was bad! So dead to frozen on that one was NOT at all the issue. Rut was!! The first 2 we ate ok. The small one was most edible, the next was eh.. the last one we tried a variety of things to make it so we could choke it down. All i can say is we screwed up and i wont make that mistake again. I strongly urge you to stay away from bulls this time of year. I maintain that anyone that "hunts for meat" isn't hunting the haul road right now and for another 2-3 weeks, the bulls are rutting. You don't hunt big bulls for meat on the haul road in October. You're head hunting. You're kidding yourself if you think you are. Maybe Strangerinastrangeland will chime in. He eats a lot of bou.

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    More hunters up here right now than my two August trips and one September trip combined. Haven't seen a caribou yet, drove the whole road twice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Muche View Post
    More hunters up here right now than my two August trips and one September trip combined. Haven't seen a caribou yet, drove the whole road twice.
    Maybe work the area between Franklin bluffs and pump station 2 with a good set of glass.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    For the folks that have had good meat or bad meat in October, I HAVE A QUESTION!!! How long after the kill did your meat get below 35 F in temperature??? If meat starts to or does freeze before natural rigor sets in, that alone can cause meat to be extremely tough as well as taint the taste. If it stays "thawed" for something like 20-72 hours I hear that is "Better" for the final outcome of the meat. Just curious on personal experiences. Thanks
    If you can leave the hide on, a caribou won't freeze for a couple days at even 0F. My daughter in-law shot a caribou in January off the Denali highway on a Friday.. gutted it and took it to Alpine Creek where it sat in a sled for two days, then in the back of my truck for two more days at -20F. We finally thawed and processed it a week later. Best caribou meat we've ever had.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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