Well, with the draws out the forum seems to be loaded with threads by exited hunter about future hunts, but even with all the excitement the forum has been missing one thing, PICTURES OF DOWN ANIMALS! So let's cut straight to the chase and get the pics out of the way first, then we'll worry about the details.
Headed out to Nunivak last week. Of course it wouldn't be a trip out west if you didn't have a canceled flight. Made it to Bethel on day one and was force to spend the night after a weather cancellation of my flight to Mekoryuk. Caught the first flight out the next morning, met my transporter James Whitman of J&J Outfitters, got geared up and we hit the trail.
The weather was great so we were able to move fast and cover some ground. Wasn't too long before we came across our first pair of bulls, a really old bull and another mature bull. We glassed them over and moved on to another group we had seen. The second group turned out to be cows and calves. A couple miles away we could see another group on the tundra. We made out way over to find they were a group of five bulls. I spent a long, long time set up on these bulls, mostly because I was so unsure of my judging and I didn't want to make a bad decision. In the end I decided not to pull the trigger on any of the bulls. We moved on to find two really old bulls past their prime down the coast a few mile farther. Another group cows and we called it a day.
We left the village just after sun up the next morning with a good clear warm day. We headed the same direction I hunted the day before but blew right past the previous hunt area and made our way all the way to the far west end of the island. From a high point, I glassed two groups of ox. We headed to the closest group to find seven bulls including one mature old bull that was very tempting. After studying him for awhile, he just didn't do something for me so I decided to file him away as my back up choice and we headed over to check out the other group I'd seen.
When we got near the group we actually found there were two groups in close proximity but were all cows and calves. I made the call to run down the coast for another 15 minutes and if there was nothing down I'd seriously think about going back after the previous bull. After running a ways we stopped to glass and I saw two black dots that I was convinced were musk ox, or maybe rocks, no musk ox, rocks?? So we headed south to check out what I was looking at. We rode and rode and when I was convinced they were rock, there emerged a line of backs. The bad part was that it was a large group and from experience, the large group meant cows.
When I got into a position to glass I was instantly surprised to see two mature bulls in the group. I was even more surprised when one of the bulls clearly jumped out as the best bull I'd seen of the hunt. After a couple second of glassing him I knew he was the bull I needed to take home. After setting up on him a couple different times, he finally stepped out for a clear 75 yard shot. The T/C muzzleloader cracked, sending a 325 grain Hornady round through both lungs and taking out the arteries of the top of the heart. Some pictures, 4 hours of skinning and quartering then a 55 mile snowmachine ride back to the village put us in a few hours after dark.
Absolutely great and enjoyable hunt. Big thanks to James Whitman for transport services and lodging. I'd highly recommend James to all you guys who just drew Nunivak tags.