Most guys wouldn’t think twice about rounding up the money to venture out into the cold to chase down some “tundra wookies.” However, if you’re like me, venturing into the last frontier and hunting a majestic ice age creature is definitely on your bucket list. For a select few, it is a dream, while others are just trying to complete their slam. There are two types of muskox – Barren- Ground, which are only found on the mainland of Canada where most of the top B&C entries are from, and Greenland, which are smaller in size and are considered the Island muskox. Either species can be counted for your Super Slam® or Super Ten®.
In the 1930s, Greenland muskox were captured off of the coast of Greenland and reintroduced into Alaska. Since then, Alaska’s herds have been thriving and muskox have been reintroduced into other areas, such as Nelson Island. Alaska has the most B&C entries with 233, followed by Nunavut with 201, and the Northwest Territories are right behind that with 179. Greenland only has 22 entries into Boone and Crockett, and all other locations below Greenland on the B&C list have less than 10 B&C entries.
Muskox are typically found in groups of 10 to 20, but sometimes they can be found in groups of 100+. Their greatest predator is the wolf, and even though they are very capable fighters, they have learned to group up in a tight circular pattern to defend themselves. The most common way to hunt muskox is by snowmobile, and once you have found a group, the toughest part is weeding through the set, finding your target, and waiting until your trophy clears from the group.
Alaska offers four different hunt types for Greenland muskox – draw hunts, Tier II, registration, and community harvest. Most draw hunts are available to residents and non-residents. Draw hunts require an application fee and are awarded by a lottery. The application period for draw hunts is November 1-December 15. Tier II hunts are considered subsistence hunts and are only available to Alaska residents who are 10 years old and older. Most registration hunts are available to residents and non-residents. Some of these hunts do not have a permit quota, while others are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. In areas where there is not a permit quota, the season will close if the harvest quota is met. Community harvest hunts are also subsistence hunts. They are Tier I hunts and are only available to Alaska residents who are 10 years of age or older.
To hunt muskox in Alaska, there are a few things you will need – a current hunting license ($160), a hunting permit, and a metal locking tag. The metal locking tag cost is $500 for residents, $2,200 for non-residents, and $3,000 for non-resident aliens. Keep in mind that non-residents are not required to have a guide to hunt muskox in Alaska, but having a transporter or using commercial services can help you get where you’re going. If you are looking to get a transporter/guide for your hunt, you should expect to pay between $3,000 and $6,000. A list of transporters/guides can be found at www.commerce.alaska.gov/cbp/Main/ Search/Professional. Use the dropdown menu under “Program” to select “Big Game Guides and Transporters,” and then click the “Search” button to populate a list of Alaskan Guides and Transporters. You will need to book flights to and from Bethel where there is regularly scheduled transportation to Mekoryuk, which is the only village on Nunivak Island. Don’t forget about your excess baggage coming back after your harvest. Depending on the route you take, you can be into this hunt anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.
Most muskox hunts have a 100% success rate, but at the end of the day, it’s still hunting and nothing is guaranteed. The season is divided into two hunts, a fall hunt that is in September and a spring hunt that starts in February. The fall hunt will be wet and windy, and you will experience snow on the spring hunt. For either season, you should be prepared for inclement weather as it is highly 46 possible in Alaska.
Outside of Alaska, there are many opportunities to hunt Barren-Ground and Greenland muskox. Most of these are guided options with guaranteed tags, much like the Canadian Barren-Ground muskox hunt we gave away in our last Summer Membership Drive. There are many outfitters that have great hunts with high success rates. To go on one of these hunts, you should look to spend anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, depending on when and where you go.
For example, the Canadian hunt we gave away was a five-day snowmobile hunt with guides, which would cost around $10,000 before travel, charters, and gratuities. Occasionally, you can score by finding a cancellation hunt, allowing you to save some money on a worldclass hunt. Spring and fall hunts are available, and there are a few options for summer season hunts. The summer season is the best option for those who prefer to avoid the cold and leave their snowmobile in the garage. The best part about muskox hunting is that you can chase them before the snow falls or you can hunt them off the back of a snow machine in zero degree temperatures.
Populations of muskox are stable and increasing and so is the demand to hunt them. If you have any questions about hunting these ice age animals, give us a call. We will also have more information about the Alaska draw in our December issue. If you need help with your Alaska muskox applications, our License Application Service Department would be happy to apply you, so give them a call today.