Last years Ox hunt was a local area hunt. There was a large herd just outside the closed area that was monitored by a few state and fed govt workers and attempted to keep secret. Kinda their own private herd. One of the govt guys buds let me in on the secret and I got an Ox just before the quota was met and the area closed.
This year the local area, 22C was only 8 permits and you had to be in line at F&G here in Nome on June 24 to get one. I was there and got one. So this year, with only 2 other guys with permits for the same area...............I had a guaranteed Ox...........more or less. But, didn't have anyone else to communicate with on herd location.
Was trying to rely on co-workers.........pilots.........to help with info, but they weren't coming thru. Got on the snogo last week and a 15 minute ride found me a herd in my permitted area. Neither of the other 2 permitees had harvested an Ox yet either.
Sunday the 12th was a good day so we loaded up. It's legal to let a kid hunt on your permit so this was a chance for my 11 yr old daughter to make her first kill. Should I say ........"harvest"? Here we are about ready to go:
Got the kid an AR in 6.8 spc last summer. Haven't spent as much time at the range as I would like, but...............the range was on the way to the herd!! Had some handloads I wanted to try too. Here is the kid at the range:
I took my AR in 6.8 also. Did a little shooting with both guns and then it was off to my very own private herd...........and I d***** sure didn't tell any govt guys where it was.............haha! Just another couple miles and the herd was in sight:
Decided to approach the herd from down wind so we had to go around back of the ridge they were on. Was hoping to use the slope of the hill to allow us to identify our intended animal...........cow only...........figured they wouldn't see us till we were close and had a target picked out. Unfortunately, as soon as we started seeing them, they started grouping up. I wanted a mature cow and was having trouble identifying one. You need to see the horns to safely identify the sex and age. Here is about what we had to deal with by the time we had a good view of the animals:
Now it is mostly a waiting game. Move a little, wait a little. We were fortunate and a good cow positioned herself in a safe shooting spot. My daughter isn't the most gung ho hunter. Took a lot of encouragement on my part to even get her on this hunt. She was expressing reservations about shooting one just minutes before the chance at the cow opened up. The slope of the hill only allowed us to see the top 2/3rds of the cow and I was asking her is she thought she could shoot it when the gun went off. No sooner did I hear the report of the gun and the cow went down. The 120 gr. Hornady SST hit the Ox just under the vertebrae and knocked her down. I put one into her chest after we walked up to hasten the end. Here is the successful hunter and my sig. other:
Now it's time to get the Ox home. Nice mature female. There were 3 mature bulls in this herd.............would have preferred one of them. Drive the sled up next to the Ox, lean the sled up against her and roll the whole thing over. I like a blanket in the bottom and we also scooped snow on to absorb blood and cushion the ride home. Here is the package ready to drive home:
The ride home was pretty easy, about 10 miles. Here's the g.f and daughter (hiding) on the way home. You can see town in the background:
Once we are home the work begins. Temps were in the 20s so the back yard was the butchering location. Bet most of you guys ain't been around Ox cutting. They are always FAT animals. Very healthy. Never seen, and never herd, of a skinny one. Here is the cow partially skinned:
Made the kid help a little with the skinning and quartering. She was slightly interested. Hunt was on Sunday. She didn't even tell any of her class mates the next day at school. I guess she has been around most of her family killing and cutting up critters all her life so it isn't the big thing to her it is to others. I'll be pushing her to hunt griz on the snogo this spring.
This is likely my/our last Ox hunt. Moving to Fbks this summer. Have to be satisfied with Moose, bou, maybe a blackie now and then. That Ox meat is sure GOOD!