I should mention these pics were taken on a caribou hunt this past fall I figured they were appropriate.
Space was a problem though. I figured I could just hollow it out and use it as a spare bedroom......
If you have a bad back don't even think of going during the "spring." The ride looking for game is rough even on a good back. Something like speed bumps every 20-40 feet. Even so, a wonderful experience.
Headed to Shishmaref in Feb for Round 2. Brrrr.
Any cold weather tips? I might live in Alaska yet the coldest weather I have experienced was probably minus 15-20 growing up in Nebraska.
Anybody have a skull beetle cleaned? I understand the horns are hard to remove so the skull can be degreased.
Plan to keep covered so no exposed skin, goggles are a must for traveling. Keep bow, camera, etc. outside. Moving into warm area then back to cold is not good.
I just found a new Skull Cleaning Service (beetles). The one I had previously used (Custom Osteo) must have gone out of business.
I sent them a bear skull and I had it back in under 3 weeks and it is the finest skull I have seen in person. He would have had it back to me quicker, but my hunting buddies bear skull (mailed them together) had to soak longer in the de-greasing agent.
Brett at Southern Skull (website is www.southernskull.com). His prices is as fair as can be found as well.
Muskox is my final "wish list" animal to complete a "Representative N. American Slam". Before muskox, I still need a Bison, Moose, and Caribou. If I knock those off, I'll do the Muskox hunt. I wish I had done a muskox hunt a few years ago, the whole thing could have been done for around $4500 including airfare. Now a guy is hard pressed to do it for under $9k with increased airfare and guide charges.
Brad's first photo appears to show a bull on the left, and three cows to the right. Mature bulls tend to have a more defined "boss", and the horns won't be furry or fuzzy where the bosses are located. The bosses tend to grow together with age - there may hair between the bosses, but nothing like the three on the right side of Waterfowlers first photo.
The third photo by Brad shows them swimming, and the animal to the left appears to have a large horn curl. However, I would guess that the four animals swimming are the same four as shown in the other photos....the animals tend to "match-up" rather well. Since the only animal with bosses, is the one to the extreme right, the animal that looks rather nice, is a cow....and she wouldn't score very well....the "curl" is deceptive if you haven't seen many of them.
Typically, a good muskox needs about 5 things to score well.....IF score is important to you. Even if score isn't important, it's always fun to learn new things about the animal that you are hunting.
FYI, I was told that a mature bull would score well if they possessed the following: a massive (thick) boss, black tips on the ends of the horns that are several inches long, good horn mass (larger circumference), horn that dip down until they are almost even with the nose and then turn up and are at least even with the eye, and good horn spread (width).
The first two photos of muskox (which I posted), show that my bull has good bosses, and a good horn "dip" that recovers and makes it up to the eye with black tips, but it doesn't have particularly heavy horns. I was looking for an animal with good bosses, and this was the best animal with bosses that we saw......anything else was "extra" to me.
My friend, Bob Miller, shot a bull that didn't have really well developed bosses, and the dip wasn't quite as noticeable as mine, but it had heavier horns....the two animals scored within 3/4" of each other. Because the horns can be quite massive, good horn mass can really make up for deficiencies in length or boss thickness, and vice versa (thinner horned bull with good length can score as well as shorter horned bulls with heavier mass).
Horn color can really vary up there. Some are light in color (like mine), and others can be a little bit darker...like those posted by Gator. I wonder if it is a function of diet, minerals in the water, genetics, or something else.
Oh....one other thing....there are actually two sub-species of muskox. The Barren Ground and the Greenland. The Greenland species are what live on Victoria Island. The Barren Ground species live on the mainland. Mine is a Barren Ground animal that was taken about 100 miles east of Klugluktuk (formerly Coppermine). Barren Ground animals tend to be larger than the Greenland species. If you want a larger representative, book with someone that will let you hunt on the mainland for the Barren Ground species.
Wait....a couple MORE things....for anyone that ever hunts these buggers, I am sure that most of you know that when they feel threatened, they'll form a circle with their butts towards the inside of the circle, and their horns facing outward, toward any danger. The calves are in the middle of the circle.
What you might NOT know, is that you can easily approach them when they are in this formation, HOWEVER, their "personal space" is about 20-30 yards. If you see them rubbing their head/horns against the shins on their front feet, that is a sign that they are getting stressed....which could result in a charge. They are faster than you might suspect, and with the horns and disposition that the bulls possess, I wouldn't want one charging me.
I shot my bull with my bow set at 90 pounds. My 500-525 grain arrow went completely through the bull, but the vanes of the arrow got caught in the hair on the far side, as he ran away....so it was dangling from his fur as he ran away. I know that there is frequently quite a bit of debate about broadheads on this forum.....but I personally would NOT use an expandable broadhead on these animals. Their hair/fur could really affect arrow penetration with a mechanical broadhead (in my opinion). A couple bowhunters that were up there with mechanicals did require multiple shots....but since I wasn't there, I don't know if it was due to a less than optimum shot placement, or a lack of penetration.
I watched a Tom Miranda video where he was shooting a bow with average poundage as I recall (probably 65-75 pounds), and the arrow got reasonable penetration....the bull was quartering toward him, so a pass through would not have been possible. He used a COC broadhead.
I would look at the vitals of a muskox (as shown in The Perfect Shot), just to make sure that you remind yourself of where to aim. Don't let the long hair allow you to aim in the wrong spot.....
I found their vitals to be slightly higher and further forward than I thought but still lung shot them each time.
They are very hard to judge on the hoof even from close range as the hair hides a fair bit of the boss and beam next to the skull. I was told they are like cape buffalo the older they get the less gap there is in the boss. My bigger one almost touches.
Jake coverd just about everything else my hunt was in sept but the meat was wonderful make sure you try it.
I was less than 15 yards for these pictures. This fellow was a little upset as you can see.
Great pictures! 15 yards is a little close for me!! Mine started rubbing his shins when I was 26 yards away. I never took another step....I shot him as soon as he started to rub his head on his shins.....I'm glad that you caught a picture of that. At that time, I was shooting the 125 Steelforce broadheads, as well.
If anyone is interested in making a kicka** muskox archery target....let me know. My target took a couple hours to make.....but you know how that goes....anything that helps to pass the time while you are waiting to leave on the hunt is a welcome distraction. My target REALLY helped me to understand the exact anatomy of a muskox as well.
I'm glad that you mentioned the meat was good in September. What month do they rut in the Fall? Having hunted them in March, I wasn't sure when the rut was, or if it even affected the taste of the meat.
I'll probably do it again when they add shocks.
I've always heard the fall meat is way better than the winter meat. Maybe something to do with the meat freezing before rigor has a chnace to set in??? Sounds like Jake got around that by promptly cutting up and keeping warm in a cooler (just sounds odd).
I met a guy from Nome that has arrowed more ox than probbaly anyone (I think this year was #10) since he can get a subsistance tag every year. He only hunts in the fall and told me the vitals are actually further back versus backed forward like mtn goats.
Whether I stuck a polar bear in front of you at 5 or 10 yards, or a Muskox rubbing his horns against his forelegs prior to a charge; you'd pull 90 pounds....trust me!
Their head and neck are huge making it appear that their vitals are farther back. Find their front leg below the hair to judge where to aim since the long hair makes it difficult to see the shoulder. Also, some guys overcompensate for the long hair and shoot too high. I shot clean through mine at 16 yds. slightly quartering away with a 70# SBXT and Montec 125.
The Perfect Shot is written for gunhunters. Boddington discusses various calibers for various species, based on his hunting experiences. He shows points to aim at FOR GUNHUNTERS.
I got the book to help me understand the anatomy of the various species of North American game. That way, I could make my own decisions about where to aim. It's a handy reference source. I have actually used some of the photos to make my archery targets for given species....prior to hunting them.
There wasn't any big expense in the past (for the meat)....however, with airlines charging for weight and extra bags now, I'm sure that there will be some additional charge....but considering how good the meat was, it would be worth it to me.
The taxidermist is a different story. I had Robertson's do my full mount. They do so many Muskox mounts, I knew that they would do a great job....and they did. However, the crate and the freight were close to $1,000.00 extra.....
anyone else have any pictures of live or killed muslk ox to share.
can you talk about the hunt and the shot.
The horns are at the taxidermist and I will get him scored eventually.
The hunt was amazing. The number of animals was nothing short of impressive. The terrain makes it challenging to get into bow range if you do it as a proper stalk. We got within 45 yds while the herd of 13 animals was sleeping and ran out of cover. It then became a waiting game for them to wake up. My bull was one of the last ones on his feet and when he stood up, I shot. Clean pass through and he was dead in under 30 yards and a few seconds.
The rut was on in full swing so we watched bulls fighting and herding their cows. It was a really enjoyable hunt.
At the suggestion of Medicineman, I brought 1 gallon size ziplock bags to put the meat in as it was quartered. Made it alot easier to pack and it was frozen solid when I left. By the time I got home, some had defrosted but was still cool to the touch.
I also brought my own tarp and rope to bundle the hide in. Again, froze solid and no leakage.
Heading back to hunt again in March.
Just completed a musk ox hunt in Greenland with Frank Feldmann of Bowhunting Greenland.
My hunt was only 100 degrees warmer than yours!
Great, now I have to get one of these too...
Editor of Bowhunter Magazine, Curt Wells and Pat Lefemine will be going this year with Frank Feldman of Bowhunting Greenland. This upcoming hunt will also include reindeer permits. Wish I was going back!
If I were to go again, I'd shot an immature musk ox and bring back a flat rug! Way cool.
If you shoot a mature bull, it could be as big as a 12-foot square!
Bou, when are you going next month?
Of all the hunts I've done for Bowhunter Magazine / TV this hunt trumps them all! The response Frank Feldman, owner of Bowhunting Greenland has receive has blown me a way.
The written article about the hunt will appear in the Big Game issue of Bowhunter (say, September time frame?).
BTW, did I tell you Frank's hunt now include reindeer!
Now that EVERYbody seems to be going to Greenland, I'll have to go look for some other overlooked corner of the Earth!
BTW, next to manatees or sea lions, those seals would be about the next best thing!
I opted for a should mount. As you can see from some of the pictures others have posted, a muskox takes up quite a bit of space - whether as a full body or on the wall.
A fall hunt is during the rut. The bulls can be aggressive. Our outfitter warned us that a bull that has lost a fight can be in a nasty mood, looking for something to take out his frustrations on. People can look like a safe bet for them. He told us that while we were glassing, we needed to be on the lookout for solo ill-tempered bulls. Getting gored would definitely spoil your day.
I boned out and brought home the meat from the hind quarters. My wife, who is usually understanding about such things, wished that I hadn't done that. Better than pronghorn, but not as good as elk. I'm sure that partly it's a matter of taste (natives were happy to haul away all of the unwanted meat). Also, taking my bull during the rut didn't help.
I put the horns, cape and meat in a dry bag. The meat was largely frozen, the other stuff not so much. By the time we got to Edmonton, the was a tiny hole in the bag. Fortunately, no one noticed the puddle of bloody water that collected below the luggage cart.
I was able to get everything completely frozen that night. At the airport, I asked for 2 of their jumbo plastic bags and put the dry bag inside them. No more problems. (They are always glad to provide them. They also protect your duffel bag.)
Advice: If you want to bring back the horns in your luggage, it would be a good idea to take something along to pad them.
Fish & Wildlife Service web site states "It is prohibited to take and import marine mammals and their parts and products. "
Thanks to the environmental movement and TV sensationalism of the '70s. Sorta makes me want to go hunting for them, even if I couldn't bring back anything but pictures.
On the outfitters homepage it is mentioned, that they "expect" to have Reindeer approved before hunting season 2013 commences.
The Greenlandic Government approved Musk Ox bow hunyting in 2012 and the archery gear requirements are as follows:Compound bows only, minimum 38 kg draw weight (84 lbs!), arrow length minimum 75 cm (29,5") and 4 blade broadheads minimum weight 125 grains.
The Danish Bowhunters Association have takne contact to the Greenlandic Government to have them revise the requirements, as they are jduged to be "out of scope" for Musk Ox.
To my knowledge the requirements have NOT been changed yet.
I was raised in the Southern part of Greenland and I dream of going back to hunt both Musk Ox, Reindeer and Seals with my archery gear.
Its good to see that politicians everywhere do their homework before ''Allowing'' their constituents to do anything !! (tic)
But, there is an archery season now, and thats great news.
Hey wait a minute. Where's Jake's hat? I didn't think anybody from Bowsite could kill an Arctic critter without either wearing that hat or having a golden horseshoe with them.
Now what about the story? There's always a story and you tell them very well. Don't make me go all teacher on you and start typing questions.
Congrats. BTW, first time I've seen a pick up with tracks.