Mathews Inc.
Caribou Meat - The Different Subspecies
Caribou
Contributors to this thread:
Tatonka 27-Aug-15
Bou'bound 27-Aug-15
Bigpizzaman 27-Aug-15
LWood 27-Aug-15
Tatonka 27-Aug-15
KJC 27-Aug-15
caribou77 27-Aug-15
BagginBigguns 27-Aug-15
Tatonka 27-Aug-15
Bou'bound 27-Aug-15
Dooner 27-Aug-15
Kdog 27-Aug-15
Tatonka 27-Aug-15
IdyllwildArcher 27-Aug-15
John Haeberle 27-Aug-15
Medicinemann 27-Aug-15
Matt 27-Aug-15
Medicinemann 27-Aug-15
safari 27-Aug-15
LKH 27-Aug-15
IdyllwildArcher 27-Aug-15
JR 30-Aug-15
Treeline 30-Aug-15
writer 31-Aug-15
gbh5358 02-Sep-15
From: Tatonka
27-Aug-15
For those of you who have eaten caribou from the different subspecies, does the meat vary much between subspecies? I've only eaten Central Barren Ground Caribou and I have to say it was probably the best game meat I've eat...very tasty and very tender.. I was just wondering if Mountain Caribou, Quebec/Labrador, Woodland, etc. are similar...

From: Bou'bound
27-Aug-15
similar I don't think anyone blindfolded, other than guessing, could differentiate only by taste, smell, and mouth feel.

honestly the difference between most (not all) wild ungulates is more between the ears than on the palate

From: Bigpizzaman
27-Aug-15
Eaten all except Woodland, all good if in Velvet, Hardhorned Caribou is bad, real bad!!

From: LWood
27-Aug-15
I agree with Tim. If you shoot a Woodland in the rut, the meat is bad. I think they even tell you that in the hunting regs in Newfoundland.

From: Tatonka
27-Aug-15
"the difference between most (not all) wild ungulates is more between the ears than on the palate

Don't know as I can agree with that... I can definitely tell the difference between a buck shot in the mountains and one shot here in the valley. The moose I shot last fall would give anyone's jaws a workout.... tough doesn't begin to describe it. Compared to the caribou I ate, it was night and day. The moose had great flavor, but when I shoot another one the whole thing will be put into burger! I'll also take a deer killed here in the valley over an elk.... The meat is much more tender. The deer in the valley have all kinds of feed...corn, alfalfa, oats, forbs, browse, etc. An antelope killed in a winter wheat field or stubble is better yet... Kill one that's been eating sage all fall and my dogs turn their nose up at it.

From: KJC
27-Aug-15
Don't know if it's true but I read that rutting bulls will follow behind cows slurping up their urine and that's what accounts for the terrible taste of the meat.

From: caribou77
27-Aug-15
I've only heard rutting caribou is bad, Never heard anything about it doing with hard horn.Though I suppose once they go hard horned, the ruts not far away.

27-Aug-15
KJC, that is a fact. The urine is transported to the meat via the bloodstream. The result is meat that tastes like urine. They say that even dogs won't eat it.

From: Tatonka
27-Aug-15
Meat is very, very important to me... I'd like to see and hunt New Zealand, Africa, etc. but I can't bring the meat home and if I can't bring it home, I'm not going. Different topic, I guess.... :)

From: Bou'bound
27-Aug-15
In Newfoundland the hunting regulations even comment that after October 1 the meet is not very good I forget whether or not there is a range of dates or they say just after October 1

From: Dooner
27-Aug-15
"the difference between most (not all) wild ungulates is more between the ears than on the palate"

Bou- you know better. I think I can recall you reporting shooting Caribou, Moose, and Bison. These tasted the same to you?

I have shot Antelope, Deer, Elk, and Quebec/Lab Caribou. These all tasted different. However, Caribou has always ranked best by those I've served it to.

From: Kdog
27-Aug-15
Glad to hear Caribou is good! Can't wait to try some.

From: Tatonka
27-Aug-15
I share my wild game with a lot of friends and relatives, but I have to admit that when it came to my caribou I was a bit greedy with it!

27-Aug-15
All the natives up here and the Alaska regs say that moose in the rut do not taste good. I've had two different bulls that were killed during the rut and they were fantastic.

I think it has more to do with meat preservation. I think that a lot of trophy hunters kill moose up here and they know they're going to donate the meat, so they don't take care of it, then donate it, and the people who eat it think it's because it was during the rut.

I've brought deer up that were killed during the middle of the rut (I'm probably the only hunter that brings game meat to AK and hasn't brought any home) and shared it with locals who share moose/caribou/salmon with me and they can't believe the animals were killed during the rut.

They also seem to not know much about tarsal glands, which all of these animals have. Lets just say, their meat processing methods leave a lot to be desired so I think that if they're killing these animals in September, it makes sense that they don't taste good. They do a lot of their hunting in early spring when there's still snow on the ground to use snow machines, but the days are long enough to hunt.

27-Aug-15
"the difference between most (not all) wild ungulates is more between the ears than on the palate"

Well, I'll agree.

I think the main determinant is not gender, or age, or species ... but time of year.

An August animal putting on weight is generally very good regardless of just about anything else. An animal licking its wounds and trying to stave off starvation, even on corn, can be different-tasting. (I think that's the real reason for the common perception that rutting caribou are so "bad" to eat.)

Think about it. When do you want to kill a beef cow? After it's been fed in a way to put on fat. Even though game doesn't put on marbled fat like beef does, it still has more fat.

You want them when they are anabolic, not catabolic. Go for August and September, when the "grocery store" is still open to these critters.

From: Medicinemann
27-Aug-15
Tatonka,

I brought my red stag meat home from NZ.

From: Matt
27-Aug-15
"similar I don't think anyone blindfolded, other than guessing, could differentiate only by taste, smell, and mouth feel."

Based on my experience (and that of many of my guests), I would disagree. I suppose it depends on the individual palate, but a dall sheep will have a very different taste and character than a deer as an example. The caribou I ate had a finer grain than most other meats, which is distinctive. And I can usually smell bull elk in the meat even when carefully cared for.

From: Medicinemann
27-Aug-15
Matt,

I don't think that many would disagree when comparing sheep to caribou....but within the Genus Rangifer, differentiation might be more of a challenge....

From: safari
27-Aug-15
Woodland caribou tastes like lamb to me and the wife, so if you like lamb which we do have at it. I have heard stories that woodlands in the rut the meat goes green and nasty, and the Govt. seems to support this. We have killed three with no issues, even two in the rut season. Good hunting.

From: LKH
27-Aug-15
Have taken caribou every month except May, June and July. Bulls are fine until about early October, then its a guess. They are fine again by mid Dec. Honestly, they should close the season to big bulls about 15 Oct.

27-Aug-15
As far as the Western Arctic heard is concerned, they're now doing that.

From: JR
30-Aug-15
Quebec caribou my favorite meat in north America going next September with JHA can't wait . Good luck this year guys,

From: Treeline
30-Aug-15
My Mt. Caribou from NWT in late August was awesome!

From: writer
31-Aug-15
Ok, I've heard you can't eat -

Antelope- they are tough and smelly, especially if eating sage.

Mule deer bucks - tough and smelly

Rutting bull elk - smell like hell and tough as boots.

Whitetail bucks from the timber country don't taste as good as farm country whitetails.

Rutting moose are strong and smelly.

And I've eaten lots of all of the above and it was all good to great.

Only really bad animal was a pronghorn I hit poorly (no excuse, I just pulled an easy shot) and had to physically run down for about an hour to finish.

...and people who say the meat is so strong their dogs won't eat it obviously don't have Labs. :-)

From: gbh5358
02-Sep-15
Some of the best meat I have ever had was bull elk, cut into steaks that was killed in late October. Mule deer from the same ranch and trip tasted very gamey and was also tough..maybe is was the sage??? I didnt really like it.

Never had caribou but hope to in a few weeks when I go on my first trip for them on the quebec tundra .with Ungava Adventures

I process 2 or 3 whitetails a year myself; mostly into cube steak and hamburger, and it is very good. You really cant tell much of a difference between a doe and buck except in tenderness. Loin slabs battered in house autrey flour, lemon pepper,and deep fried till if floats is hard to beat and extremely tender.

I had some New Brunswick moose loin this fall that was killed during the rut and it was awesome. Buffalo steaks are served in alot of nice steak houses out west and are extremely good.

The biggest factor I have seen with all game meat is how you treat and process it. I know alot of folks do not like rare to medium rare but in my opinion, thats the only way any ungulate should be cooked, after that it starts getting tough no matter how you cook it.

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