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Rutting moose taste

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Far be it for me to argue in any way with the experiences and taste buds of others.

I will just say that every AK-YK moose I've killed was shot after September 15, and I recovered all of the meat from every bull. In every case the meat tasted excellent, as verified by my wife and I, plus other family members. We eat a lot of really good deer meat, and have agreed the meat from these bulls exceeded the taste qualities of our deer.

My hunting buddy has killed several mature bulls which were with harems of cows or at least locked down on one cow. He has always commented on the excellent taste of his moose meat.

The last bull I killed was shot on Sept 21. I watched him make a rut pit, then urinate in it, and then wallow in it. He was closely tending a cow when I killed him 30 minutes later. He stunk so bad I had to half-gag. We're still eating the meat and loving every bite.

this has been similar to my experience in northern BC as well. late september to late october rutting bulls, have all been fantastic table fare!
 

KJH

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Is that still pre rut in your area?


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I would say they were in rut since they would come to a cow call, but I never saw and "moose on moose action" to say if it was or wasn't in rut.
 

Outhunting

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Put me down for excellent table fare. Between my son and I we have killed 3 bull moose in the last two years up in Northern BC that were in full rut. When my outfitter sold me the hunt I told him I wanted to bring back some meat and he told me that rutting bulls were not that good and he usually donates it, Yeah right! We took some and it was fantastic. I also found out that when he said donates it, a lot of that was donated to his freezer!
 
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I've eaten meat from 20-25 different bull moose shot between Sept 10 and Oct 31. None had meat that tasted bad or rutted. There was big difference though in how tender they were...
 
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let me preface this by saying that i have never eaten moose. that said, most animals that people say taste horrible can be traced back to how they killed the animal or how they handled the meat after. a bull moose is a whole lot of animal to take care of in a timely fashion.
 

JPD350

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let me preface this by saying that i have never eaten moose. that said, most animals that people say taste horrible can be traced back to how they killed the animal or how they handled the meat after. a bull moose is a whole lot of animal to take care of in a timely fashion.

I've eaten moose a few times but I have yet to kill a one so I have no real opinion on rutting moose flavor but I would agree that often there are in the field issues that can effect how meat tastes. I would also agree with another post that rutting animals (all I know about is Elk or Deer) can be fairly tough and chewy but still taste okay.

A couple questions for the experts;
LOL I hate to hear about prime moose meat being tainted by huge doses of cow urine! Don't all ungulates do the same thing? I have never heard of such tainting for elk or deer but I have seen quite a bit of licking by em.

Another question while we are talking about the taste of moose meat. How often does swamp water effect the outcome of the meat? I know that many moose are taken in swamp areas and I have seen lots of videos of guys breaking them down in some really swampy water, I would think it would be extremely difficult to keep all that bacteria water off of the meat, factor or no factor? If you get some on the meat just dry it off and spray citric acid to combat it? I always wondered if a bunch of people end up with tasty swamp meat.
 

AKDoc

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Moose meat is my absolute favorite. My family and friends enjoy the moose meat that I bring back. I prefer to take pre-rut or early on rut bulls. It is a good sign for me when I get to camp and see a bull that is following a cow, but she wants absolutely nothing to do with him, and is working hard to get away from him...and does. To the best of my knowledge I have not taken a bull that has been in rut for an advanced period of time, e.g., two or more weeks. I have not yet had a bull moose that was inedible or even close, although I have noticed some variations in taste at times. I am confident that there are numerous field circumstances, including advanced progression of rut, that could create an unpalatable outcome, but I have not experienced it with bull moose. I'm encouraged to hear from folks here who have taken full on rut bulls that were wonderful on the table.

I try to be extremely cautious, and I'm sure many of you do as well. I do not shoot moose in the water. When I can, I prefer to head shoot the moose that I take, and I try my best to drop them on ground that I already know is dry, close to camp. I have not yet had one drop in the water...knock on wood/fingers crossed as I say that! I have passed on quite a few bulls due to where they were...a few of those were impressively big and painful to pass. Like many of you, I try to be very meticulous when butchering, bagging, and meat care in the field, e.g., no accidental bowel or bladder nicks with my knife (although I have a time or two...which always involved lots of swearing and clean-up!). I don't gut bulls that I take in the morning, but instead I work one side, then flip it and do the other. A last light bull I will gut, so that it cools down over-nite to be butchered in the morning. I have done some all-niters, but prefer not to unless I have to...which I did last fall. I get that meat bagged, off the ground and hanging right away with good air flow around it, tented and kept dry, etc. I'm admittedly obsessive-compulsive about meat care in the field.

I have taken rut bull caribou whose meat was basically only good for sausage. That has happened to me more than once, so I know it can and does happen. That meat was awful despite my best attempts at careful field care.

As a side note, another pretty nasty experience is skinning a grizzly in the fall that has been on fish all summer. The front legs and paws can be pretty darn funky...but at least it's not going in my mouth!
 
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I haven't shot enough moose to have a relevant opinion.

There is no doubt in my mind that what these animals put in there mouth is a big influence on meat taste...just compare a high country mule deer to a whitetail eating crops. That theory on ingesting cow Urine makes sense to me.

Has there been any studies or scientific testing on moose meat in this regard?
 

AKDoc

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Here is a quick link to a search on the ADFG website. There are pages of studies listed, but the search engine pitches a broad net, so there are many references that appear irrelevant to the question. With work and obligations in the evening this week I wont get a chance to look through this until the weekend, but perhaps someone else a little more free time right now.

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=search.main&q=rutting+moose+meat+&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
 
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The last bull I shot was on October 4th, 2017. He was definitely rutting and came in grunting. Damn good eating on him. However, he was a fairly juvenile bull and I’ve seen some tank bulls in early October that I’m inclined to think may be a different story.
Interesting points made above for sure!


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Being in Ontario I hunted the archery season for many years and most of the moose we shot were during the full on rut and I have never had one that didn't make great table fare. I'm actually quite surprised to hear that rutting moose don't taste good lol Also most of the moose were prime bulls. I can't say that I ever saw that temperature affected the rut timing they just did more nightime activity but were still in full rut mode if the temp was 70 or 30 degrees.
 
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I'm taking a calf. This way I'm ensured I'll have veal tasting Moose. And I'll hang it on my wall as well.
Antlers are over rated !!

I'm a fur trapper as well as a hunter. The rut, and prime fur is controlled by day light, not temperature. Deer & other wild life still rut in Florida, no matter how hot it is.
 
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OP
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I wouldn’t mind shooting a nice cow, never been a horn hunter but I admit that having a big bull moose on my wall would be the icing on the cake! Granted, I’ll take whatever I can come fall. We’ll find out tomorrow right?


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