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Thread: Eating Bull Caribou

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    Default Eating Bull Caribou

    I'm considering going after a Tier I animal in September of 2011. However, I got to thinking about all the advise I have heard saying that bull Caribou meat is not edible during the rut. I have only shot Caribou in the winter so have never had any issues with rutting bull meat.

    How far after the August rutt does the meat remain hard to eat?

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boater View Post
    I'm considering going after a Tier I animal in September of 2011. However, I got to thinking about all the advise I have heard saying that bull Caribou meat is not edible during the rut. I have only shot Caribou in the winter so have never had any issues with rutting bull meat.

    How far after the August rutt does the meat remain hard to eat?

    Thanks
    I typically hunt for caribou in early to mid September in unit 13 (so it coincides with a moose hunt). Usually end up with a bull and have never had any problems at all. I don't think you begin to have any problems until maybe late September, into October, and even then it is not all bad all the time.

    Keep in mind with the tier I that the season opens on August 10. There is a chance, depending on the number of permits given and what the desired take on the herd is set at that the season could be closed well before September. Typically, the animals are more spread out that time of year, so a mass harvest isn't as likely as in the winter hunts, but still a possibility. Personally, I would be a bit tentative about planning a September hunt specifically for unit 13 caribou. If that is only part of the hunt plans, then no problem, I just wouldn't rely on that as the primary focus due to the chance of the season being closed. Just my opinion.

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boater View Post
    How far after the August rutt does the meat remain hard to eat?

    Thanks
    Ahh they don't go into rut in August its October.
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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    August bull is FAT! and tender... very tasty animal..
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    I shot a young bull the last weekend prior to the hunt closing for the rut. Meat is fine without a trace of ruttiness. My partner shot another young bull- its fine too. Very tasty animals.

    August is fine too but it was too warm this year and the animals weren't moving. I personally think between heat and bugs I'd just wait until Sept.

    The time I would worry is shooting a bull the week the hunt re-opens after the rut.

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    Very gamey and not worth it.

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    generally speaking you will be fine with Sept bulls.... if there is a long cold snap in early sept the bulls could possibly start to rut into the third week of sept.... other than that unique scenario you should be fine.... the meat is terrific... if you are concerned about the rut you can also try and select a junior bull in the group... they will likely not have a problem.. even if your thinking the dominant bull might be rutting.

    what makes the meat inedible is that the bulls "test" their cows to find out when they are in esterus... this is determined through sampling of the urine of the cows... enough of that activity and the bull meat gets rank.... if you see this behavior in a bull you are targeting do not take him for the meat.

    Greg

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    Caribou meat wont be Hard till November.........

    Then we shave it in thin slices, dip it in Seal oil, and have at it with apple slices and chunks of fermented frozen Whitefish with eggs................Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!! !!!

    Or just Plain froze hard and seal oil, its a great snack to keep the chill away
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    Ok if the meat is so horrible why does the state allow the taking of bulls during this time??? My buddy shot a bull on the haul road in October and it tasted just fine.. You would think if it was so rank the state would shut the season down when they are rutted up.

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    Stranger, That seal oil takes a bit to aquire a taste for. Are there ways of preparing it?

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    I have had mixed results with bull caribou. Shot one on the 13th of Sept.out of the Mulchatna herd years ago, it was deep into rut and tasted so bad dogs would not eat it.... no joke. A few years after that I took a bull from the Nelchina herd on the 17th of Sept. ( I was after a cow due to the date,being solo and miles to pack, but the bull was the opportunity presented to me) not a hint of rut and was fantastic eating, all of the other bulls I have taken were prior to those dates and all of them were excellent.

    Do not pass on a bull caribou simply because it is a bull, I would however not take one after the third week of Sept.

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    The reality= Caribou (bull or cow) is not Moose, nor is it Buffalo or Deer or Sheep no matter when you harvest one. I had the 14b bull tag this year and harvested a nice bull with my bow the 10th of September. His backstraps were fantastic, and neither of them saw the freezer before being consumed. We had the tenderloins gone early as well. I froze the steaks off the hindquarters and they have been very gamey. All the rest of the meat has been used for burger/sausuage. I can't say whether the meat was affected because of pre-rut behavior (this particular bull was observed rolling in his pee and fighting anything from another caribou to willow brush that looked at him the wrong way) or because he was a caribou...bottom line, decent meat if properly cared for but secondary to several other choices our state has to offer, imo

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    I killed my First bou this year the very first week of Oct And I learned a valuable lesson a rutting caribou should be made into sausage I made jerky that was edible as well but even the hamburger (I tried pork fat and beef fat) I couldnt season the nastiness out I tried it in tacos hamburger helper and enchiladas and any way I tried it the taste of the rut was overwelming I wouldnt say that I wont hunt Caribou during the rut any more, I will just be stocked up on sausage! Good luck

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    I killed a good size bull on November 14th the last day of the tier 11 hunt and it has been fantastic tablefare no rut, no gamey taste just plain ol good eats. I love the taste of caribou and have never had a bad one (that I've killed and processed), but I shoot them prior to or after the rut. I think alot of the bad rap that caribou meat gets comes from folks that don't properly care for their game either in the field or back in town.

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    Up this way NWAB, 20 years ago,WACH Caribou bulls went into rut between the around late mid month, like the 20th (for example), but nowadays in the first week of October. Its also when freeze up is occurring, as opposed to when it used to.

    You can take care of Rutted Caribou meat like hand fed Kobi Beef and if its Rut, its Yuk.
    If anybody in this world knows and practise's proper meat care, its my friends and neighbors here on Kobuk river, and the traditional way to deal with rutting Caribou is to watch for it in the animals them selfs and avoid ever killing a Bull in rut.
    We watch for the puddles to stay frozen all day and get 'em while its cool and a few days before rut........precursers to Rut is a bull whos stopped eating and his belly is full of water, 'cause hes only drinking. Hell be hanging with other Bulls at the tail of any group of females and young animals befor e Rut, but, when in rut, hell keep the lesser Bulls away.
    When Rut has been detected among bulls being taken up and down the river, every body on the River knows the news ......then we switch to fat Cows and young Bulls, and within the week it will be frozen over and Hunting Fat Cows is the game.
    The biggest boys rut first, with the young guys a few days behind.

    Theres no cure for rut meat, 'cept sausages to give away ~~LOL!!~~

    I would NEVER pass up an August Bull!! The Hides of value (to an Eskimo seamstress, anyway), the meat is fat and awsome!! The dark is comming on and flys are not a huge cloud of problems, so drying up 5 or 6 Bulls is a doable thing. Take Care of that meat without a freezer




    Fresh Seal oil has almost no taste, just a slight of the Ocean.....old Seal oil has 'Taste' that only up river folks could love~~LOL!!~~ Naaw, were too near the Ocean to eat the old stuff, but theres many who actually 'Ripen' their oil if its "too fresh", and we just give any like such away.
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    I really take excellent care of my meat as we do our best to live exclusively on it. Personally I won't shoot a big bull caribou after Sept 15th. Using that plan I have had no problem, and possibly I could get by a bit later and still be OK, but that has worked well for me for a good number of years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by strangerinastrangeland View Post
    Fresh Seal oil has almost no taste, just a slight of the Ocean.....old Seal oil has 'Taste' that only up river folks could love~~LOL!!~~ Naaw, were too near the Ocean to eat the old stuff, but theres many who actually 'Ripen' their oil if its "too fresh", and we just give any like such away.
    used to have a lady out in Goodnews make me some and send it in from time to time... it was DELECTABLE! she would sometimes add some berry flavor to it.

    the first time she fed it to me... it was with big fat hunks of sealion... makes my belly feel god just thinking of it now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly1 View Post
    I think alot of the bad rap that caribou meat gets comes from folks that don't properly care for their game either in the field or back in town.
    I take great pride in the way I care for my game animals from the moment they hit the ground. Properly caring for meat will greatly increase your chances of having a good product, but will not guarantee it. Rutting animals have an enormous hormone imbalance compared to non-rutting animals, regardless of how well the meat is cared for. I've found caribou to be especially prone to the effects of the rut, whereas I've had moose you could hardly stand the smell of when field dressing but had decent meat. All based on personal opinion, but I'd stick with the advice of nothing between the middle of September-end of October if you want your best odds of good caribou meat (of just go kill a moose if that's an option).

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    The comments about bull caribou being in the rut and gamy came up in Sept and Oct when the Tier II hunt was upon us. Everyone has their own experiences . BUT, when the tally for this years Tier II was 1,500+ bulls taken and 700+ cows taken. 1,500 hunters can't be wrong. Keep in mind the Tier II hunt went from Oct 21 through Nov 14. Shoot what your permit allows. Shoot what mother nature offers you. Smell the meat when you're initally dealing with the animal. You'll know if its "rutted" and if so, all the advice about making it into sausage etc is good advice. If you smell the meat and it smells like clean raw meat, then good for you. There are more important things to worry about than whether or not a bull is going to be gamey.

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    I killed a mature bull on Oct. 23rd of this year. Literally some of the best steaks I've ever had.

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