As another day of beautiful weather draws to a close in western Alaska, it's time to tell another hunt story.
On another thread, folks have talked about how secretive Alaskans are with hunting spots. Ox herd locations can be quite the same out here. Several locals had herds/singles located that they kept to themselves for opening weekend. Once the first weekend is over tho, info seems to flow a little more readily as guys help out their buddies to get an Ox.
However, one herd, fairly close to town, was known to a few hunters who were pretty tight lipped about both it's location, and the number of identifiable bulls. Kills were made from this herd on Jan 2, 3, and on Jan. 7. 3 mature bulls and 1, 3 yr old were taken. Tho none of this group of hunters had any further plans to hunt this herd, info was kept to themselves. Like the herd I mentioned on Sunday, this herd crossed back and forth across the line designating our OVERLY large closed area. Thay had been outside the closed are for quite a while tho.
Monday dawned perfectly clear, no wind, and 20 degree temps. Spent some time at F&G learning to identify younger bull Ox. Word is the younger bulls, those without the full boss, have the very prime meat. left F&g with a slightly better idea on young bulls. The herd we missed out on getting the 2 mature bulls from the day before likely had a couple 3 yr olds in it. Was considering heading out to find them and maybe take a younger one.
As the saying goes, if 2 people know something, it ain't a secret. A chance conversation led to information on this private herd no one was talking about. Put all the stuff together, hitched the sled, and away I go. Called the g/f at work to let her know I was going. Even took the spot unit.
Not too far from town is a high spot on the regular trail. Good look over spot. Got the binocs out and............just about a half hour from town and I had the herd in sight. Picked out a noticeable land mark to head for since most of the way to the herd would be flat with lower lakes and sloughs to cross.
Here I am, well, the snogo and sled are, on the way to the herd:
I think I had a little more than a mile to go at that point. There was a cabin just about a mile from the herd I also used as a land mark. Got up to the herd and parked. Here are the animals as I first saw them:
Time to get the gun out and walk around to see if there was a shooter. There was and with a short wait and a little movement on the herds part, he presented a shot. Since the animals group up when threatened, it can be difficult to get safe shots at the one particular Ox you want. This bull decided to run around the back of the herd and popped out well to the side of the rest. This trip I decided to take the bushmaster. I was hoping for minimal meat damage. Not sure I made the right choice. My first shot was good enough, but I lost faith and put 2 more into him. I was reluctant to let him get back into the herd and then have to wait for him to expire. One shot was almost head on and that was dumb on my part (hears your chance to ream me). Left front shoulder lost alot of meat with that shot. Live and learn.
Here's the end result:
Very common that the rest of the herd doesn't move very far after your animal is down.
So now the work begins. Cept, I don't see any need to do this work in the field, so.............lean the crossfox sled up against the animal, roll it all over, and voila':
Gotta do a reply to finish with more photos.