This hunt, as many do, began months before. Unit 22 was now having a registration Ox hunt. Meetings were attended to partake in how this hunt took place. Other hunters were conversed with, and discussions with bio's were held. Once a hunt area was chosen, i.e. registration permit gotten, just as hunters have for eons, information was gathered on where animals were located. In this case, area pilots were consulted to locate potential Ox herds to hunt. As hunters have done before me, weather was watched and a hunt time was chosen.
The day of our hunt dawned somewhat cloudy, but the potential for sunshine glowed on the horizon. Here is a pic of our destination country:
In keeping with the "subsistence" theme of this hunt, our equipment was specifically chosen for this type of hunting in this desolate country. Look closely at the snowmobile to see the array of items suited to comfortable travel long distances, the sled to carry equipment and safety gear. The sled to carry the animal was on another machine.
Not to far out of town, we run into our quarry:
Unfortunately, these animals were not in our legal hunt area. Back to the trail. That's the hunter(huntress) in the pic.
My herd info was over a week old. Poor weather conditions had negated recent aerial obs of Ox in our hunt area, so to some extent, we were going in blind............but hey, that's the norm most times.
Just after leaving the first herd of Ox, the sun came out. Wind was very light as well. Here's a shot of the huntress (the girlfriend) looking around. Our intended hunt spot is marked in the pic behind her:
Once we reached an area close to where I suspected Ox would be, we began some serious glassing/looking around. Like hunters long ago, we utilized elevation to aid in our looking. Ox prefer windblown ridges so one is best to do his looking from the same types of spots. Didn't take longand we found a herd, tho not in the place I first expected them to be. A short snogo ride and we were facing about 25 or so Ox. This was the huntress' first real shooting opportunity. She had been on moose hunts, but hadn't had a shooting solution..........so to speak.
Tho Ox do not run away much, they do present their own type of hunt difficulties. Since the tag was good for only one Ox, and a male Ox to boot, we had to wait her chance for a safe shot. Indeed, the past hunt in another hunt area this year resulted in 5 illegal harvestsd (cows) which some were likely shoot thru's where a second animal was killed by one bullet. Identifying sex of Ox can also be problematic (man I'm getting good at writing)! Young bulls and cows are somewhat difficult to differentiate. For that, and other reasons, we were after a large mature bull. Their dark, heavy, horn bases make them more easily identifiable.
Without too much of a wait (maybe 20 minutes) a suitable bull, I think there were 4 in this herd, presented himself in a space, and at an angle, for a safe killing shot. Being only 50 yds from the bull helped too! I told the huntress where to aim and take her time and shoot. The shot was made and the Ox stumbled, tried several times to stay on his feet, then rolled down and died. I'd say he died in around 15 seconds. Here is the huntress with her dead Ox and the herd, in the background...........I told you they don't run much:
She shot from the tuft of grass to the side. Appropriate hugs and kisses(you know women) were made and we returned to the snogo's to ready for the trip home.
I'll end this here and finish in a reply. Please don't comment until I get this finished.