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  1. #1
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    leaving Rib meat on the bones in Alaska Unit 18

    Hunting with outfitter this year in Unit 18 and he is telling us we need to leave meat on the ribs and take ribs out. The big game brochure says only Front and rear hind quarters need to be taken. Anyone have advice? thanks

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    3 years ago an Alaska wildlife trooper landed at our camp and inspected the 3 bulls we had hanging in meat bags. He made us lay out EVERY single piece of meat on tarps and counted them. He counted every rib to make sure there were not any missing. One bull had one rib missing in the middle of the ribcage as it was impacted by a bullet and destroyed. We cut the ribcage in two pieces and left the shattered rib. He was going to write us a ticket, but after an hour decided not to when we showed him a picture of the kill site and what we left behind. He could clearly see the rib was shattered and in multiple pieces. He lectured us on keeping all of the coagulated meat around the bullet entrance and exit, saying "it's edible", although I heartily disagreed. Although we were very respectful and professional, this particular encounter was intense and he wanted to write a ticket badly. He said he was surprised he couldn't find us in a violation of anything. The only thing we were missing was ONE rib bone in the middle of the ribcage. If it were not for a picture, we would have got a ticket. He said the subsistence hunters don't want to see anything go to waste, but when I asked if they keep the ribs, he said "not usually". It was a weird encounter. I don't blame him for doing his job, but using common sense and seeing that our meat was in immaculate condition and meticulously cared for wasn't important to him. Counting rib bones was important.

    So, here's my advice- take every rib bone with you. Take copious pictures of the kill site and your cutting up the bull. I take pictures of each carcass throughout the butchering process... maybe 30-40 for each animal. Take a picture of the site when you leave and a picture of your GPS to show where the carcass is located. I take a picture of cutting the harvest ticket and the locking tag so he knows which animal it is. Keep the bulls separated and do not combine the meat in the bags back at camp. If you choose to eat any of the rib meat in camp, still take every bone out with you and don't get rid of them until you are at the village airfield. Make sure you take all the neck meat up to the ears. Document everything.

    When you leave the kill site make sure the ONLY things left are the hide, guts, spinal column, and hooves. Otherwise you're asking for a ticket.

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    Senior Member Ray's Avatar
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    Page 22 of the regulations spell it out clear unit by unit. In 18 front quarters and rear quarters stay on the bone and you can bone out the rest. Keep in mind that this states "quarters" an not "legs". Based on the wording on the left side of page 22 someone may not have understood that when you quarter an animal it is a literal thing. Just four chunks of critter.

    For every moose, deer, and caribou - and some bears - in the state you take all the meat. Bones become optional in some units at some times of the year. In unit 18 you can leave the meat on the front and rear legs, and can bag the rest. You have to take all the meat.

    Your outfitter might consider it easier to handle planks of ribs rather than bags of meat flopping around...and he just does not want to deal with troopers or USFWS people once back at town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KJH View Post
    3 years ago an Alaska wildlife trooper landed at our camp and inspected the 3 bulls we had hanging in meat bags. He made us lay out EVERY single piece of meat on tarps and counted them. He counted every rib to make sure there were not any missing. One bull had one rib missing in the middle of the ribcage as it was impacted by a bullet and destroyed. We cut the ribcage in two pieces and left the shattered rib. He was going to write us a ticket, but after an hour decided not to when we showed him a picture of the kill site and what we left behind. He could clearly see the rib was shattered and in multiple pieces. He lectured us on keeping all of the coagulated meat around the bullet entrance and exit, saying "it's edible", although I heartily disagreed. Although we were very respectful and professional, this particular encounter was intense and he wanted to write a ticket badly. He said he was surprised he couldn't find us in a violation of anything. The only thing we were missing was ONE rib bone in the middle of the ribcage. If it were not for a picture, we would have got a ticket. He said the subsistence hunters don't want to see anything go to waste, but when I asked if they keep the ribs, he said "not usually". It was a weird encounter. I don't blame him for doing his job, but using common sense and seeing that our meat was in immaculate condition and meticulously cared for wasn't important to him. Counting rib bones was important.

    So, here's my advice- take every rib bone with you. Take copious pictures of the kill site and your cutting up the bull. I take pictures of each carcass throughout the butchering process... maybe 30-40 for each animal. Take a picture of the site when you leave and a picture of your GPS to show where the carcass is located. I take a picture of cutting the harvest ticket and the locking tag so he knows which animal it is. Keep the bulls separated and do not combine the meat in the bags back at camp. If you choose to eat any of the rib meat in camp, still take every bone out with you and don't get rid of them until you are at the village airfield. Make sure you take all the neck meat up to the ears. Document everything.

    When you leave the kill site make sure the ONLY things left are the hide, guts, spinal column, and hooves. Otherwise you're asking for a ticket.

    Good grief that is a lot of work. It's hard enough to remember to leave evidence of sex... Now I got to take 30-40 pics and gps the kill site. Crazy. I understand your point though. I have heard of the wardens being real.....let's say "sticklers" for that kind of stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    Page 22 of the regulations spell it out clear unit by unit. In 18 front quarters and rear quarters stay on the bone and you can bone out the rest. Keep in mind that this states "quarters" an not "legs". Based on the wording on the left side of page 22 someone may not have understood that when you quarter an animal it is a literal thing. Just four chunks of critter.

    For every moose, deer, and caribou - and some bears - in the state you take all the meat. Bones become optional in some units at some times of the year. In unit 18 you can leave the meat on the front and rear legs, and can bag the rest. You have to take all the meat.

    Your outfitter might consider it easier to handle planks of ribs rather than bags of meat flopping around...and he just does not want to deal with troopers or USFWS people once back at town.

    Good point thanks

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    Senior Member Kevin Dill's Avatar
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    Taking out an entire ribcage (2 separate sides) doesn't leave a lot of chance to waste rib meat at the kill site, and I'm guessing this might be the strategy behind the outfitter's advice to take all the ribs. You can de-bone at the kill but there is certainly a greater chance of missing some salvageable meat.

    One thing I don't hear much about is the side and belly meat. A big bull has a good many pounds of thin slab meat (often only 1/2 to 1 inch thick) on his sides and toward the sternum. I would estimate maybe 10-16 pounds easily and some guys ignore it. Perfect meat for grinding or stew chunks.

    Count me amongst those who advocate taking plenty of pictures during and after butchering. The more documentation the better. I'm not a guy who actively worries about getting checked by AK wildlife officers, but I have had two helicopter landings in different years at my camp. I can assure you both troopers were consummate professionals...courteous, thorough and not threatening. I know enough to understand there's no use thinking about short-cutting the regs. Do it right. Get all possible meat no matter how much hassle and work. Care for it properly and take pride in a good job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Dill View Post

    Count me amongst those who advocate taking plenty of pictures during and after butchering. The more documentation the better. I'm not a guy who actively worries about getting checked by AK wildlife officers, but I have had two helicopter landings in different years at my camp. I can assure you both troopers were consummate professionals...courteous, thorough and not threatening. I know enough to understand there's no use thinking about short-cutting the regs. Do it right. Get all possible meat no matter how much hassle and work. Care for it properly and take pride in a good job.
    The helo thing drives me insane. With the maintenance, training, etc it's $1000+/hr running the helicopter... And yet I can't get a wildlife trooper to show anywhere near quick enough to do something for people snagging salmon in a creek right in Anchorage proper, and rarely see one out when there are several thousand people out on the Denali Highway in caribou season.

    And we're out of money.... Sorry it's off topic, but the helo time mention set me off.



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    Senior Member VernAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Dill View Post
    Taking out an entire ribcage (2 separate sides) doesn't leave a lot of chance to waste rib meat at the kill site, and I'm guessing this might be the strategy behind the outfitter's advice to take all the ribs. You can de-bone at the kill but there is certainly a greater chance of missing some salvageable meat.

    One thing I don't hear much about is the side and belly meat. A big bull has a good many pounds of thin slab meat (often only 1/2 to 1 inch thick) on his sides and toward the sternum. I would estimate maybe 10-16 pounds easily and some guys ignore it. Perfect meat for grinding or stew chunks.

    Count me amongst those who advocate taking plenty of pictures during and after butchering. The more documentation the better. I'm not a guy who actively worries about getting checked by AK wildlife officers, but I have had two helicopter landings in different years at my camp. I can assure you both troopers were consummate professionals...courteous, thorough and not threatening. I know enough to understand there's no use thinking about short-cutting the regs. Do it right. Get all possible meat no matter how much hassle and work. Care for it properly and take pride in a good job.
    Further to Kevin's comments:
    If hunting in a Federal area, you may be checked by federal Agents also. Yukon Charley, Gates Of The Arctic etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Dill View Post
    Taking out an entire ribcage (2 separate sides) doesn't leave a lot of chance to waste rib meat at the kill site, and I'm guessing this might be the strategy behind the outfitter's advice to take all the ribs. You can de-bone at the kill but there is certainly a greater chance of missing some salvageable meat.

    One thing I don't hear much about is the side and belly meat. A big bull has a good many pounds of thin slab meat (often only 1/2 to 1 inch thick) on his sides and toward the sternum. I would estimate maybe 10-16 pounds easily and some guys ignore it. Perfect meat for grinding or stew chunks.

    Count me amongst those who advocate taking plenty of pictures during and after butchering. The more documentation the better. I'm not a guy who actively worries about getting checked by AK wildlife officers, but I have had two helicopter landings in different years at my camp. I can assure you both troopers were consummate professionals...courteous, thorough and not threatening. I know enough to understand there's no use thinking about short-cutting the regs. Do it right. Get all possible meat no matter how much hassle and work. Care for it properly and take pride in a good job.
    I totally understand your point. This is our first time and we don't want to make mistakes but at the same time we want to have some fun. We plan on taking every ounce of edible meat we can but want to make it as simple and easy on us as possible......knowing that nothing about the process of cutting up a moose is easy or simple.

  16. #10
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    I was in unit 23, not 18 when I had the encounter with the warden referenced above. I should have specified. I didn't read the original post very well.

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    Senior Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    For years I would just strip the rib meat (in units where that was allowed), and end up just getting it all made into burger or whatever, then one year, a buddy and I hunted an area that required taking the ribs out on the bone. We both killed moose and when we got back to town, he ended up giving me all of his ribs because he didn't want to transport them back to Pennsylvania. I took all 4 rib sides into a processor and had him cut and package them all as short ribs. I really had no experience with cooking ribs and was a little apprehensive about it, so I looked on allrecipes.com, found what seemed like a quick and easy way to cook them (just pressure cooked them for a few minutes, then put them in a crock pot with some BBQ sauce for a couple hours). Man, were they GOOD! From that point on, I have not and will not strip the rib meat off the bone to be made into burger.

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