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Thread: Myth Bustering the rutting bull meat.

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    Member Ak Fireman's Avatar
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    Default Myth Bustering the rutting bull meat.

    I have been hearing for years that both moose and caribou bulls enjoy drinking the urine of their sweeties. This is supposedly the cause of their strong flavored meat and the reason behind the liver texture in caribou. I've heard that bull moose liver gets inedible after a few weeks of lapping it up as well.
    I can almost believe the inedible liver theory but I am having a hard time believing its not just a hormonal response that's causing the changes in texture and strong flavored meat. Can anyone confirm or explain these theories?

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    My personal observation has been this in the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, from the Northern Seward pennesula at the South end of Kotzebue Sound to the Kobuk River , 70 miles North, hunting Caribou all over inbetween, year round;

    Pre rut Bulls will gather as groups and search out females, who are comming south from the Northslope, tward the Seward pennesula area to over Winter and the Bulls scattered along this trail will be headed east and North to meet them.

    Bulls comming from the North will be travleing with cows, and will be at the rear of the migrating groups of Females.
    Lead groups of Females will establish trails that the bulk of the following Caribou will travle, unless scatterd and establishing several trails. Bulls , alone or in small groups will follow these trails all year long, even in Winter.
    When rut comes on, theres always some bull running up and down the length of the group, keeping other bulls away. Alot of times there are groups of younger bulls sparring away, with no cows around.

    Locals here say that Bulls will rut about a week after its frozen hard all day long, so when we see puddles staying hard, we should be hunting hard, right then.

    Just before they go into rut, the Bulls will stop eating much and tank up on water. Ive seen this on the Bulls at the end of Sept. on Kobuk River and on the Northern Seward Pennensula, and it is a sure sign that rut will begin, among all the mature bulls, often the next day.
    Rut can be smelled, and with a belly full of water, we call that meat "spicy".
    We hunt those frozen days pretty hard, trying to get prime meat up and keep it frozen as whole carcasses to get us through to the next hunting season, about mid Feb, when the sun is up and shining, and we look for Fat Female Caribou.
    When we smell a hint of Rut, and you will know it, hunting prime bulls stops. Tell every one you see, or listen when they tell you. Most all villages get the word out pretty quick, but younger bulls will be good for a couple more days, and fat calfless females are great right then too.
    Anyway, as the groups of bulls hit rut, Its quite often that they are grouped up with no cows to drink any piss from.
    I am not saying that its not true, but over the last 20 odd yaers of doing this pretty much year round, this is my observation......but I dont see everything, for sure...

    One more thang..... Caribou Cows all drop their calfs within 48 or so hours as a "mass Birth" that floods the predators with meat in short order, so they cant do much damage to the over all herd, 'cause th calfs can run from danger inna few hours.

    Of course, you Caribou Herd may varie with location and use.........these are just my observations/guidelines that help
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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    Then again, I'm thinkin' (thats been a bad deal before)........maby...just because...Hmmmm the Cows all drop Calfs in synch, why not some terribly delicious (to Bull Caribou) syncronized urine flavoring, so powerfull, them bulls are drinking it like shots at a bachlor party.......Esterus poisoning to the bone.......You Guys know what I mean.....just a whiff of "Her" ~~LOL!!~~
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak Fireman View Post
    I have been hearing for years that both moose and caribou bulls enjoy drinking the urine of their sweeties. This is supposedly the cause of their strong flavored meat and the reason behind the liver texture in caribou. I've heard that bull moose liver gets inedible after a few weeks of lapping it up as well.
    I can almost believe the inedible liver theory but I am having a hard time believing its not just a hormonal response that's causing the changes in texture and strong flavored meat. Can anyone confirm or explain these theories?
    I have heard this is the case (bulls drinking urine) with caribou, but with moose it is a little different. The bull moose urinate in a wallow or rut pit. After that they bath in the pits and try to create a cologne with the smell. They get the urine on their dewlaps, and apparently this attracts the female. I am not sure if they actually urinate on their tarsal glands like deer do, but this is also possible since they are in the deer family. Anyhow, I have heard the reason why bull moose occasionally taste rutty, is because the hormones and urine on their hides contaminates the meat will butchering if proper care is not taken to prevent cross contamination. I could be wrong though. I certainly am not a mythbuster and I have never witnessed this happen myself. It is just what I have heard and read.

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    I am not a caribou expert, but know a little about metabolic processes in the body. I think poor quality of meat during the rut depends on a few variables. First, old males have worse meat quality (pretty easy one, since why farmers only market young animals). Second, the males usually focus less on calorie intake and more on females; this search for females in turn creates a higher caloric demand (burn more calories). Calories of which they are not taking inů. where do they get the calorie? At first they are burning off stored glycogen (stored sugar) in the muscle, blood and liver. This stored glycogen would normally add a sweet flavor to meat and liver. After the glycogen is gone fat sources are burned next. The process of burning the fat stores leaves behind ketone bodies which raise the acidity of system, thus making the meat more acid (bad taste?). When the fat stores are about gone the body then even starts to cannibalize its own protein (meat) and as an energy source, thus creating even more ketone bodies in the system. Lastly, once the system is this stressed from activity (the chasing of the rut, poor sleep quality, etc.) and the appropriate amount of calories and nutrients are not replenished the body even has a harder time rebuilding and repairing for the stress and damage to the muscles and connective tissue from intense exercise (i.e fighting and chasing). So what does this cascade of events lead too? Poor quality of meat......are they still drinking urine maybe....the sick *******s. I am by no means an internet expert...just a theory; for those with an education in the field this may be a rough explanation. But college for me was a while ago now and just trying to explain it so that it is easy to understand.

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    The end result of this Fall Time orgy is that we quite often see the "Big Bad Boys" 'bout December with the BIG head gear on with their backs a bit hunched up , ribs showing and not worth hunting...........we call 'em "Wolf Bait", and without disturbing them (they wont leave the area, we have many trees and a Delta full of moss lined lakes) we keep a check on 'em and hook onto whatevers around for the easy meal....Wolves, Wolverine, Fox and such.....

    Strange that the big strong ones become the slow weak ones so quickly
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strangerinastrangeland View Post
    Strange that the big strong ones become the slow weak ones so quickly
    Aint that the truth? I resemble that remark.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
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