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Caribou meat quality?
How is it? Bull caribou AK early September.
What I had from friends was fantastic!
The first two I shot were hands down the best wild game I ever ate. I brought quarters home from Quebec and processed them myself. A friend went up two years later and shot a couple bulls. Hard to say why but it was no better than deer meat.
Two I got from Mulchatna herd still in velvet were average, I've had better deer meat. Tasted like lichen. And once the rut starts, according to the locals, it tastes like ....well you can live on it, lets leave it at that. I keep reading how great it is, but to me its takes a back seat to even deer.
A lot better than early October
"takes a back seat to even deer." WoW! I thought raccoon was the only meat in that position.
The cows I shot in winter were amazing. The older bulls I shot in the fall were not good. My buddies had young bulls from the fall that were good. My ancedotal evidence from a half dozen ak bou is that older bulls= jerky and young bulls/cows = amazing.
I've eaten a ton from Eagle to Prudhoe to Adak over 28 years. Never and I mean never had a bad September caribou. Now October can be another story. One my black lab wouldn't even eat a fried piece.
Was cooking and taking care of a bear/sheep/caribou camp 50 miles west of Galbraith ln the Brooks one year. Brother and me cooked a bou backstrap and one from a sheep. Kept them separate and wouldn't tell the outfitter, 2 guides, and 3 clients which was which. They argued about I.D. and finally got it right but mostly because of size.
It's my wife's favorite of all game meat.
Off topic a bit. But, if you are eating whitetail deer and it’s just “deer”, you are doing something wrong. I’ve never had a bad one.
I’ve eaten caribou once. It was fantastic.
I’ve always enjoyed it but not nearly as much as a elk.
I'm eating a bou meatloaf sandwich while reading this. excellent
Interesting. Deer is the worst wild game imo. Bison, moose, sheep, oryx are amazing. Good to know!
This past fall's Sept 9th BC caribou is excellent. One from Sept 18th, Mackenzie Mts, NWT from 2018 is OK but not quite as good.
Shot a big bull in late August and it was excellent! As good as elk!
Curious how late September caribou will be. If that’s close enough to the rut or if there’s still time.
Most in BC believe the bigger bulls start to develop the "flavor" around Sept 20, for sure by Sept 25th. But there are always reports that some are decent thru the end of September.
The caribou I killed tasted like lichen, and was like chewing on shoe leather. I probably won't ever kill another one because I was so disappointed in it.
Shot 2 in Quebec early September. I didn’t like it much at all. Burger was fine but steaks were pretty chewy. Flavor was ok but not something I would say is on the top of my list. I would eat it again if I ever shoot another one.
All of the caribou I've shot have been good, including the one from NFLD that the guide tried to get me to tag and leave. He was pissed when I said no, we were 5 miles from camp but all the meat made it back.
Raccoon sucks right out loud. The best deer meat I had was believe it or not, woodland mule deer taken south of Bozeman in the Hyalites. Its excellent. The ag. land WT i get here and corn fed (or most any) WT is prettty darn good if you are meticulous in getting the fat off and not touching any glands. The Aug. caribou was kind of bland I thought. My favorite meat is Eland, then cape buff, then cow elk from W. Washington. Nothing here IMO comes close to young or cow elk. I'm sure caribou is great in some areas, depending their food source. Just like anything I'd say. Mine was so so though.
I pulled this off a Hunting BC forum post by Cordillera posted yesterday:
"Re: What’s the issue with caribou meat after mid September ? After much research I have learned a bit more about this. A dominant bull in the rut will eat the urine of cows. That Uric acid turns the meat quite fowl. So yes a big bull after about September 20 has a good chance to taste awful. But a small subdominant bull will not do this. I’ve shot a big but not dominant bull on Sept 21 and no issues. This last year I shot a medium bull on Sept 27. He was with a single cow and was not showing rut behaviour. He was excellent. My partner then found a nice big bull with a herd of about sixteen animals. He was pawing and huffing and mad. We took him home....and he tasted awful..... even a strong curry can’t mask the uric acid..
My lesson is definitely avoid big or dominant bulls late. A small bull a little later might be OK."
I think very valid advice! Good luck on your hunt!
Location, location, location.
Quebec End of Aug & my son & I's Bulls were great. ONLY wild game we did "not share".
Only takes a back seat to moose imo. Post rut bulls can be randy I’ve heard
Great I will be done by Sept 10. Ballpark how much boned out trimmed meat from a mature caribou - Alaska near Fairbanks? 175#?
70-85 tops would be my guess. They are not that big.
Between eagle and chicken I took a bull that yielded 165# boned meat, weighed on airport scale.
Adak weighed one live on helo scale that was 720#
Really depends on where in the state. North of Brooks, maybe 100 for a big one.
Early September young bull i had was good. You could tell the difference from whitetail, but I wouldn't call it any better or worse.
Thanks guys keep the info coming. My guess is they are 400 - 450 pounds on the hoof so roughly 100 - 125 pounds boneless trimmed meat.
One of my wife’s favorites. She has been telling me to go back for more...
One of the things we noticed is that caribou cooked well done can have a slight liver choice. Like all venison it's better at least slightly pink.
I have shot several bulls in Alaska and found the meat to be okay, and not offensive. Like with any venison, each person has a different capacity for taste. To me, most all venison is good, but not great.
Two buddies and I each shot one a few years back the end of August and they were excellent. Ended up averaging 110 lbs of boned out meat a piece.
I found LKH ‘s response interesting because I have always maintained that caribou meat has a slight liver taste no matter how it is cooked. I despise liver so not a fan of caribou meat wharsoever.