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Thread: The Private Herd

  1. #1
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default The Private Herd

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

  2. #2
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    Here's another shot once I had it moved around in the sled and was ready to cover it with another tarp and tie it down:


    Now it's time to head home, albeit, with 550 or so pounds in the sled. On the way out I had encountered overflow. It was underneath the crusted snow and had not effected the snogo, but I had broken thru when I was walking around in one spot. Had to choose between following my track back, as I had skipped over the ugly spots, but I now had the Ox. Or go a new way back and hope to avoid most of the low areas where water and flooded last fri-sat. during south winds. Chose the new way. Was able to avoid any serious overflow with what I did cross being frozen enough to skip right over. Here I am after coming up off the last low spot:


    Couple spots were pretty exciting and I did come close to getting stuck in some willows.
    Here's the last shot showing most of the stuff I was using:


    Total time out was about 2 and a half hours. Doesn't always happen that way tho.
    Good weather still forecast for rest of week. Should be some hunters out. 22C still open. Should be closed after the weekend.
    Still plenty of Ox around!
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  3. #3
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    Default

    Neat Story, thanks for sharing. Maybe I missed it in the story but what was the caliber? >.223? Id like to try muskox meat someday, I heard it was good.

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    nice job!! is that a fan cooled machine? snow looks kinda hard

  5. #5

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    Thought you had airplane MT? Couldn't be too hard to find the "Secret" herd.. Ha ha Congrats on your OX. They are a very unique animal. I killed one on Nunivak several years ago. The hide is the "trophy" on those critters.

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    Default Great Animal

    I believe the meat is the real trophy on those animals. Delicious

  7. #7

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    Not on mine.... Couldn't cut it with a Chainsaw! Not bad flavor, But tougher than shoe leather! I did eat all of it though. I made LOTS of Jerky.


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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Good job on your hunt martentrapper!

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Congrats on the great hunt. Thanks for sharing and I dont see any need to blast you and I hope that no one else does as well.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    thanks for shareing Mt, ill never get to hunt a ox, so its nice to have been along with you via the pics and story, been following youre updates for the last week and its been nice to have seen youre adventure pan out. congrats!!!!

  11. #11
    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Nice work MT. Yeah, seems everyone "knows" where a herd is. I have a "private" stock...however, yesterday's run at it only showed me the glacier that is the mountain side to get to them. They will be safe this year.
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

  12. #12
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Great Hunt story, Thanks,

    Looks like you have One Excellent Setup, and "doing the work at home" very cool
    Love the idea of just rolling it into the sled, tie down, go home. Man, that's Pro

    great weather also, eh?
    for some reason the idea of cruising around in country like that looks real spooky to me,
    reading the ice, overflow, etc.

    but Fun for sure, Good to be Out On The Edge. Congrats enjoy all that meat
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member ninefoot's Avatar
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    right on mt...nice addition to the meat pole.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Congrats Mike, and thanks for the story and pics.

  15. #15

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    Congratulation Mike!
    I don't think I will be able to make it up this year. Work conspires to keep me closer to home. Maybe next year. Looks like very good eating for you.

  16. #16
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I did use a 223. Good enough really, shoulda let the thing go at one shot and waited. My 3rd shot was a killer too. Head on is not the best on an Ox.
    Yea, I have a plane. Just busy with other stuff so it's snowed in. Need to get skiis on it.

    Fan cooled Polaris 550 trail RMK. Does the job with a little to spare. Not too expensive a machine.

    Clock is ticking out here................or should I say the quota is filling. If anyone else is thinking on a hunt out this way they should get on it. More folks are participating each year.
    Shishmaref area still has alot of animals to hunt.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    MT, I have to say thank you, and way to cool man. It is nice to see a hunt report from you. You are always such a big help on this board to others...good to see you out getting it done.

    But c'mon man you cant kill a OX with a little 223, you musta used some wiz bang super magnum or something.

  18. #18
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff p View Post
    MT, I have to say thank you, and way to cool man. It is nice to see a hunt report from you. You are always such a big help on this board to others...good to see you out getting it done.

    But c'mon man you cant kill a OX with a little 223, you musta used some wiz bang super magnum or something.
    A 3 hr Musk Ox doesn't beat shooting a trophy moose outside your tent!
    Glad you like the story.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  19. #19
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    Looks like a great time Mike. Congratulations!
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
    - Jef Mallett

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    Hope it was fat and tender....Cows are this timea year, and Bull Ox being so early in the rut seems (to me) they have plenty a time regain alotta weight, and have a most excellent flavor.

    Looking Good.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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