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Thread: Judging Musk-ox

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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Default Judging Musk-ox

    I stopped by Cabela's in Kansas City when I was back visiting at Christmas and found myself standing in front of their musk-ox mount display. They had five or six ox lined up together and as I stood there at ten feet studying them I realized I had no idea which one would be the best of the group. They all pretty much looked the same.

    I'm making the trip to Nunivak next month and would like to hear your tricks for judging musk-ox. I've heard the general; look for dark horns, full boss, black horn tips. The question is, without one obvious monster standing among a couple average bulls, how do you judge mature, from above good or excellent?

    If you see a guy standing in Sportsman's staring up at the musk-ox intently, that's just me trying to figure out if it's average or a true trophy.

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    I personally look for a high, wide rear end, a wide stance and an alert animal.

    Big Fat Muskox often have nice Horns to throw on the roof and skins to throw on the floor of my tent.
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    Gap in the boss. Look for a deep, wide gap. That will show the bull is old. No hair should be visible and the gap should be "deep". Look for the horn tips to come back up to the eye. Some bulls won't have that curl up...and that will be the difference from a nice old bull, to a B&C bull.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Wonderer View Post
    I stopped by Cabela's in Kansas City when I was back visiting at Christmas and found myself standing in front of their musk-ox mount display. They had five or six ox lined up together and as I stood there at ten feet studying them I realized I had no idea which one would be the best of the group. They all pretty much looked the same.

    I'm making the trip to Nunivak next month and would like to hear your tricks for judging musk-ox. I've heard the general; look for dark horns, full boss, black horn tips. The question is, without one obvious monster standing among a couple average bulls, how do you judge mature, from above good or excellent?

    If you see a guy standing in Sportsman's staring up at the musk-ox intently, that's just me trying to figure out if it's average or a true trophy.
    the one in the back was quite a bit larger then the two in the for front...



    Another view of him



    As compared to mine who was a nice bull... but not as large. ( i will say both Chip and brett gave me first choice.. but i knew brett wanted the larger blanket for his hot tub )

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    If I'm wanting big horns that score well, I have always looked for a bull with long horns like Alaskan22 stated and also one with a wide boss top to bottom. If it has mass in the boss, then it usually carries out onto the horns. Years ago when I received my first muskox tag, I examined about ten bulls before I shot one. I meandered back and forth between four different groups several miles apart. I finally returned to one of the first bulls I saw and shot him. He ended up scoring 107. They're sort of like goats. There's not a lot of difference to the untrained eye between a nice mature bull and an exceptional one as far as score goes. But muskox will generally give you a lot of time to size them up as they stare at you. They usually never run to where you can't reapproach them. And if you stay 100 yards away or more then often they won't vacate at all. Take your time before you harvest one. It's almost like shooting a cow out of a farmer's field.
    Last edited by dimrod; 01-25-2012 at 23:40. Reason: typo

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    Thanks for the reply guys. I'm not a record book hunter but would like to take a good quality ox.

    "I personally look for a high, wide rear end, a wide stance and an alert animal." Thanks Stranger, this is a new tip I hadn't heard before. I'll definitely use this if I get the right opportunity. The wider stance an slightly higher rear end may be just what I need to make that final decision if I'm stuck deciding between two ox.

    Seems like a lot of the musk ox you see don't have equal bosses from left to right. One side always seem to be slightly smaller. I'm thinking the deep gap with no hair is a better indicator of boss size than trying to judge the mass itself. Does this sound right?

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    Indeed heres a picture for comparason...., the Bosses are deeper on the larger ones, as the horns are grown "higher" and more "full".....

    I got me a 'wide and stout' young Bull, not the massive one that Brett caught, but certainly his was big and fat for me .
    This was Bretts last ox hunt for awhile(its reverting to Teir II next year), and since all his were "meats' before, he wanted a big one.
    Vince wanted meat as well, and we all discussed that , so it pulled off as planned....it was all in the 'Look over' before the shoot
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    That's a nice pile of ox Stranger! Deep gap with horns sweeping back up towards the eye is what I'm looking for.

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    Stranger, I noticed 2 of the muskox have duct tape on the tips. Can you tell us why ? Thanks and good picture.

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    Roland, probably so they don't rub/poke holes while being transported.
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    In my limited experience it was pretty obvious. This guy stuck out like a sore thumb. He's got the big gap that Alaskan22 says, but his horns don't come up that high. He scored really well due to holding mass through the horns, at least that was what the B&C scorer told me. He scored 110 and 4/8, which puts him 9th among Alaskan Ox, and 187th in the book. I was amazed at difference between the Canadian and Alaskan ox.

    Best of luck, it was an amazing hunt.
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    is there an ideal weapon of choice for the muskox?...is 45/70 too much? 300 WM to much push?...I understand that they are not too hard to harvest, but what is the typical range and calibre that most are using besides (the Finn Mosin...)thanks for the help...heading out mid feb...

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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyCzar View Post
    is there an ideal weapon of choice for the muskox?...is 45/70 too much? 300 WM to much push?...I understand that they are not too hard to harvest, but what is the typical range and calibre that most are using besides (the Finn Mosin...)thanks for the help...heading out mid feb...
    I used my 375h&h, 270 grain barnes. But then again I use that gun for everything but mt. hunting. I love how little meat damage comes from it compared to the .300 winny mag I grew up with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    Stranger, I noticed 2 of the muskox have duct tape on the tips. Can you tell us why ? Thanks and good picture.
    Often, I use a "flatsled" made of plywood and cut lumber, some years I hunted Ox with my 'Basket sled" in tow, made of bent woods tied together, and the horn tips will eat up the thin slats. I carry Ducktape everywhere, and use it when I need.

    Those are the Ox I caught, my sons and wife have plenty of ducktaped tips up on the roof too
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    OK, I gotta ask, what does ox taste like? Don't tell me chicken either!!!!
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    Muskox is very taste Close to Beef, marbled fat in the meats, juicy and soft.
    We catch them in winter when possible, but when I bring in a chunk, I let it sit at room temp for a day or two to let the rigurmortis go, as they freeze very quickly when skinned, and the meats can be chewy, if chopped and eaten right away. I like Ox enough that even chopped and fryed like that makes a amall meal that takes some time to get done with,
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyCzar View Post
    is there an ideal weapon of choice for the muskox?...is 45/70 too much? 300 WM to much push?...I understand that they are not too hard to harvest, but what is the typical range and calibre that most are using besides (the Finn Mosin...)thanks for the help...heading out mid feb...
    I've taken Ox with 30-06, 300 wsm, last year with 223. My g/f took one with her 270 wsm. Lots of guys use bows. Shots are relatively short. Under 100 yds and often only 25 or so. This year Me or my daughter will use a 6.8 spc.
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    Yup, use the .450, 338, 30-06, 270, even seen the 25-06. Shot placement and how quickly you want them to drop.

    These two, we wanted to drop quick
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    We shot two bulls on Saturday. My son used a 223 to drop his. Two shots to the bull's neck at about 75 yards put him down. A couple of finishers to the base of the skull ended it. My friend used a 44 mag handgun. Several rounds were required as well despite good shot placement. But we were subsistence hunting and did not want to use high velocity/ big bore rifles and ruin more meat. Nearly any caliber will kill one. Use your favorite firearm. The heart and lungs are hidden behind the shoulder. So you're going to take out some meat to place a rifle slug there. If it's with a group and you wound it, make darn sure you keep your eye on it if you need a follow-up shot. They all sort of have a limp-like gait. Don't shoot another by mistake.

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