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Thread: Musk Ox hunt primer

  1. #1
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default Musk Ox hunt primer

    Ox season has opened here in western Alaska. The recent opener was met with a howling blizzard which caused some hard times for many hunters. Thought Iíd go over some of the things a guy should know to have a successful hunt.

    1. Weather. Weather is the deciding factor in this hunt. Ox inhabit open treeless tundra. Even a light snow and mild wind can foil your hunt plans with low ceilings and visibility.
    If your coming to Ox country from urban Ak. either keep your hunt dates flexible and watch the weather forcast or, if your stuck going on a certain date, plan for several days. 5 would be a minimum. If you score early, you can head back home. Weather can easily eat up 2-3 days of your hunt. Forcasts are generally accurate enough to rely on for about 3 days ahead.

    2. GPS. Bring a good GPS that you are familiar with. Donít buy one the day before you leave. Donít pull an old one out of the drawer as your packing the night before.
    Use the GPS during the hunt. Mark waypoints when your out. Things like bridges, cabins, something you can identify even in low visibility. Some waypoints can be marked even before you leave by using the lat/long coordinates from google earth. Bring a good compass also. Never know what might happen and a compass can be useful.

    3. SPOT or Sat Phone. Bring one or the other and know how to use it. Make sure batterys are new or fully charged.

    4. Winter gear. Iím not going to go into that in detail. If your unfamiliar with winter outings, especially on snowmobiles, ask someone who is. Good clothing wonít be cheap.

    5. Fire starting stuff. Despite most Oxen country being open tundra, there are willows, and in some areas trees. A tarp and a fire can make a real difference if you have to spend a nite out unplanned. Bring a couple or 3 tarps.

    6. Hunting equipment. Most of this is personal preference. Open tundra is binoc country. Bring good ones.

    Ox hunting is mostly driving around on a snowmobile (ATV if you hunt early) looking for dark colored herd animals in a white, or light colored countryside. But with rolling hills and mountains, they are not always in plain sight.

    Come prepared, with time to spare, and likely you'll leave successful.

    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  2. #2
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    I've been contemplating doing one of these hunts, preferably by draw...so with that said, what would a guided hunt (with a guide), and all transportation provided in the field, like this cost an Alaska Resident ?

  3. #3
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    I sure wish I could afford the time off and the additional cost to come up and hunt the ox. While I was stationed out at the Loran station at Port Clarence, I spent a lot of time getting close to the animals and found them a lot of fun to watch. Back then (99/2000) they were only Tier II game, but technically I could have let crew members take animals that ventured onto station property (Federal land). I talked at length with F&G about this because I had one crew member that was very persistent. I could have said no and left it at that, but I prefer to give a reason when I say no. F&G said the population was increasing nicely, and they expected within 5 years or so they'd be able to open hunting up beyond just Tier II. They were right, and I'm really glad.

    On my first close encounter, I was surprised how short they are. From a distance they give a larger impression, but they really aren't that big. That is until a big bull becomes inclined to defend his girls. I had taken a position to take some video of three cows wandering my way across the tundra, and wouldn't you know it they ended up coming right at me. I was lying on my belly running the 8mm, and all of a sudden Mr. Protector came up behind the girls, hooked them to move along, put his head down, pawed the ground, and let me know who was boss. This was at less than 10 yards as I scooted backwards on my belly to get out of his zone. It worked, and we walked separate directions. The crew laughed they rears off at the video of their CO being put in his place.

    So you see MT, I have a tremendous respect for this very old species. They've survived in a tough environment, and prospered. You are a lucky man, and anyone who considers traveling up to hunt the ox, do it if you can. I will some day!

    I hope you don't feel I hi-jacked your thread MT. You tickled my funny bone, and I couldn't help myself.

    Great hunting all, and be safe. You absolutely have to prepare for the arctic weather.

  4. #4
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I think the only guided hunts are one on Nunivak, and one at Shishmaref. I believe prices are around 6 grand. There are a few draw permits for areas reachable from Nome. Draw hunters have done DIY hunts out of Nome, either with assistance of friends or with other commercial services. No guided hunts are currently available out of Nome.
    HK, there is still Ox at Port Clarence. They are enjoying the grasses and such around the buildings now that no one is there.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I'm considering heading over to see MT and giving it a go for MuskOx. I have an Arctic Oven tent and a fuel oil stove for it. Anyone want to team up and give it a try?? If so PM me and lets see if we can maybe put something together.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  6. #6
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I'm considering heading over to see MT and giving it a go for MuskOx. I have an Arctic Oven tent and a fuel oil stove for it. Anyone want to team up and give it a try?? If so PM me and lets see if we can maybe put something together.

    Steve
    Steve i was working on this up to a few days ago my self, ( and have yet to get back with MT) not sure the tme frame for me but would love to go, i was considering here this month, but we just got our offer accepted on the house and are supposed to close the 25th... and move. ( BLICK!) so i would have to be later in feb, if the hunt was still open.. March is now out also as i have 5 weeks to spend in ANCH... then..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
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    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Well the "close to Nome" area is going to close soon. I haven't gotten the numbers, but have heard the quota of 18 is close to being met (which usually happens fairly quickly, as they lowered it this year). So, if you're looking at coming up, you'll have to go a little further out.

    HOWEVER...that isn't that big of a deal. Weather is everything, in an instant it can change and end not only your hunt, but your life. I'd recommend coming in Mid Feb and any time after that. Just watch for a good window of weather and the days will be longer and the weather better.
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

  9. #9
    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahahawai View Post
    I've been contemplating doing one of these hunts, preferably by draw...so with that said, what would a guided hunt (with a guide), and all transportation provided in the field, like this cost an Alaska Resident ?
    And, if someone on here (that I don't hate) draws a "trophy" tag in the close to Nome areas (No 22E is NOT "close" by my definition), I'll do my best to help you out (at no cost). I feel it an honor to help someone get that once in a lifetime trophy.
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

  10. #10
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan22 View Post
    I feel it an honor to help someone get that once in a lifetime trophy.
    There you go guys. Free snogo use, free place to stay, and Alaskan usually knows a herd location or 2. It's a "once in a lifetime" hunt for anyone who doesn't live here. Does that free offer apply to anyone coming up, drawing or registration?

    The 22C quota is 20, not 18, and the current harvest as of noon, jan 4 is 8. Many of the Ox are in the closed area so finding mature bulls will be somewhat difficult. I don't expect the close in area to close soon, but could close by the end of the month.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  11. #11
    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    I'm going to limit the offer to drawings. Otherwise I'd have everyone coming up here. I'll help with information for most everyone, but even that can be limited by my time afield. Plus, who knows what I have planned (vacations and such) that can make for limitations. I'd help more with registration hunts...but that can tap into my "private stock" of herd locations. Those only get offered up after I've done my work. Plus, I only "help" others when they can join me...and my hunts are usually last minute "good weather" windows. Most can't just drop what they are doing in a moments notice...

    Who knows...maybe i'll make it a "make a wish" foundation deal and take some people out.

    **edit: And I know of 4 more bulls taken from 22C that haven't been reported as of noon today. And that's just the ones I know of.
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

  12. #12

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    Alaskan22 turns into guide! Nice job! Post your phone # so everyone can call! LMAO!

  13. #13
    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    Alaskan22 turns into guide! Nice job! Post your phone # so everyone can call! LMAO!
    Guides get paid...which puts me out of that category. I just know i'd appreciate it if someone with the local know-how helped me achieve a big goal like a Musk ox hunt/trophy.

    I don't do many nice things, but this is one I figure I can do (and not look like a sissy).

    And Northway...i'm FAIRLY certain you've had the offer extended in your direction as well. But...since you mentioned it, you can pay me if you want.
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

  14. #14

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    Alaskan, You are a good man! I will take you up on your offer one of these years! Didn't put in for the draws this time around, so it will be down the road a bit!

  15. #15
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    No need to draw...............registration permit available to all res. I'm sure you could reciprocate with a free guided sheep trip for Alaskan!!
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  16. #16

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    I am sure that I can work out a "guided" hunt for Alaskan for sheep! Shoot if I had machines in Nome, I would let people use them for free if they paid for all gas and oil. Would be the right thing to do.

  17. #17
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    As of today, thur. 22C is 12 harvested of a 20 quota. 22D remainder, noeth of 22C is 18 of 24. D rem. has been open since Aug. 1. No harvests since in late Oct. but with all the snow we have had folks will be getting out there.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  18. #18
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    martentrapper,
    I am looking at doing a registration hunt around the first of the year and was trying to find out where I could rent a couple sno-goes out of Nome. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

  19. #19
    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    PM Mike, he's the guy to talk to. Just hope the weather isn't miserable!
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

  20. #20
    Member IndyCzar's Avatar
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    I really hesitate to ask this but what is an adequate calibre and proper degreasing with follow up lube for the extreme arctic conditions for the musk ox...thanks....

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