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This story starts in April of 2015. I was living in South Florida, temperatures were in the 90s and I was packing for -20° temperatures and a trip north of the Arctic Circle for a muskox Hunt.
Now let me explain the 1% club. Many say that arrowing a muskox is easy, you just have to get past the extremely cold temperatures and the brutal ride in the Qamutiic (sled).... They say 99% of all hunters are successful. Well, after riding 250 miles in a Qamutiik and enduring temperatures in the -20° range for five days and only seen one cow muskox I JOINED THE 1% CLUB!!!!
The trip started by flying from South Florida to Yellowknife the first day. The next day I met the two other hunters that would be in camp, took care of some paperwork and started our trip to Bathurst Inlet with a stop in Wekweti for fuel.
Upon arrival in Bathurst inlet I met my guide Sam and settled into our comfortable three room cabin. To finish out the day we helped them pull some of their fishing nets from under the ice. By helping I mean we watched. We also explored around the little village.
Looks like an adventure no matter what the outcome! Maybe a little chilly:-)
The Arctic is ALWAYS an adventure. So sorry you didn't have the outcome you were looking for.
I am betting there was redemption in April of 19'
I love the Arctic and the Inuits!! They are tough folks and they sure love their frozen home. Looking forward to the your hunt story.
That night at dinner they had a small sampling of native food banick,frozen fish and seal oil, to go with the pot roast. Note to self, don’t eat frozen fish and seal oil when you’re going to be in a sled getting bounced around!
At this time I’d like to thank Jake Ensign, Medicine Man, for lending me the use of his cold-weather gear and for all the info to help plan for this trip. Some of you may have recognized it from the previous photos.
Ah...yes, I missed the 2015 part of the intro...
As a side note, the other hunters in my group could have used a Medicine Man as I believe they were ill prepared for the cold. They look like Ralphie‘s little brother in the movie, A Christmas Story. They could hardly lower their arms they were so tightly packed in their suits.
Out on the trail we would come upon trail markers “Inuksuk” some were very interesting. This one made me think someone was standing alongside the trail every time we passed it.
Learned how rough the ride really is in the sled.
So I thought a warning label might be appropriate!
After five days of this I was now an official member of the The One Percent Club and starting my journey home. Upon takeoff from Bathurst Inlet I snapped this picture of the landscape and the cool snow formations.
After four years of being in the club I decided to try it again, with a different outfitter. This time I would be hunting out of Kugluktuk, also known as Coppermine.
Kugluktuk...Home of the GIANTS! This should be good...
For this trip I’d like to again thank Jake, as well as Inbowdude Mike and Cas_hntr Craig. Your contributions were greatly appreciated!
This time I would be leaving from Ohio and overnighting in Edmonton where I would be meeting the outfitter Dan, and Bill my hunting partner for the week. Bill is a gun hunter from Kansas and 72 years young.
The next day we were on to Yellowknife where we picked up the last two hunters from North Dakota and then on to Kugluktuk.
Upon arrival we were informed we would not be going out because of bad weather but rather stay in town for the night. For the rest of the day we had to get our license and meet our guides.My guides name was OJ, named after you guessed it OJ Simpson. We also needed to get our gear checked by them, which was A good thing because some of the guys gear was suspect and they sent extra gear in case they needed it.
This adventure is going to be a tent camp. We will camp wherever we end up that day. As crazy as it sounds this is something I am looking forward to.Tomorrow morning we hit the trail!
We got underway at 10 AM with roughly 70 miles to go and hourly stops along the way. There was a lot of traffic on the trail and was somewhat of a festive atmosphere at each stop. The weather was a balmy zero and the sled ride was much smoother on this trip.
About 1 o’clock we stopped for a cup-a-soup and coffee it was at this time we realize the North Dakota boys had split off and must’ve been hunting. We also spotted our first group of muskox. Which we would take a look at after we finished our coffee.
As we got closer to the group of about 20 we noticed most of them were good bulls. As we moved a little closer the group split into two. Bill had won the coin toss and took off after the larger group and OJ and I followed after the smaller group. After several stalking attempts I was finally able to get within Bow Range. Maybe a little too close as the bull started to rub his nose on his legs, at this point I was backing up and trying to get an angle for a shot. After some intense moments the shot finally presented itself and the arrow was on its way and hit true. The shot was good and after running 50 yards the bull was down and I was no longer in the club!
The arrow center punched one rib going in and centered another one trying to exit but did not make it through. I was shooting a G5 Montec which I believe is a very good head, the tip was bent and it broke the back of one of the razors and bent it. I was shooting for a 500 grain arrow out of a 64 pound Hoyt. These bulls are built tough.
While we were doing pictures the other guild showed up and told us Bill had also killed a bull. They made a plan and soon enough Bill and his bull were brought to where I had killed mine. It was now 3:30, a tent was set up and we went at taking care of our animals. By 7 o’clock the bulls were all taken care of and camp was completely set up. Soon we were eating a meal of rice and Caribou and reliving the days events.
The next morning we woke up to-20° temperatures and 20 mph winds. We ate a breakfast of eggs and bacon. Packing up camp was slow, we left one tent up to warm up in as the sleds were loaded. The last thing we did before taking down the tent was use it as an out house I thought this was a great idea! By 2 o’clock we were on the trail headed back to town.
With the wind and drifting snow we did not get back to Kugluktuk Until after 6 o’clock. That’s when we were informed the North Dakota boys were also successful yesterday and had arrived back a couple hours before us.
The next day we did the fish and game stuff and worked on re-booking our flights. I was going to be taking my hide, horns and some meat home with me so we packaged it up and started weighing things out.
When it came time to booking my flight from Edmonton to home I remember Jake saying something about going first class. By doing so they waived the $200 change fee. I also got my first two bags free and each bag could weigh 70 pounds. My horns fit in my big duffel with the rest of my gear and Weighed in at 70#. My hide weighed in at 54# and my bow case at 35#. In the end the change to first class saved me money but may have sent a baggage handler to the chiropractor.
Traveling fun in Edmonton. Because of a Leaky hydraulic hose on the first plane I ended up having to go through customs three times but eventually got home with everything still frozen. The next day I fixed a muskox and noodle dish and Jake was right, it is now my favorite wild game meat!
Congrats thanks for sharing.
Great story! That Jake guy is knowledgeable about huntin stuff. Thanks for sharing, this will be the only way this Florida guy hunts below zero.... FM
well done on a great pair of adventures
Great story and adventure!
I have always thought those thing look so cool!
Congratulations on your ox and a great hunt!
Great story! Congrats an the trophy and the adventure!
Redemption! Kudos to you and thanks for sharing
Congrats....I guess you are officially now a member of the 100% club!
Congrats! Way to stick with it. Great attitude.
Congrats on a great animal.
Dandy musk ox! Congratulations!
CONGRATS! Great hunt and story! Muskox is very high up on my bucket list!
I just love taking an animal from the “didn’t get it done list” and moving it over to the “done it list”! Next year hopefully I’ll do it with a grizzly bear! ( Story to follow of course)
Awesome! Beautiful bull to boot! Congrats!
Thanks for taking the time to share. I really enjoyed your story.
Congrats- great bull and story!
Great story... congratulations
Great adventure! Thanks for sharing and congrats!
Amazing adventure and you got to do it twice . Thanks for posting . Hunt
Nicely done hntnfool! Congrats on moving that hunt into the win column! Beautiful animal and what an adventure! Kevin
Awesome story and an incredible adventure. Congrats!
Thanks everyone for all the kind words!
I’ve always followed along on others adventures and thought I should add my own as a way to pay it forward, I just wish I was a fraction as good as some of the others.
Congrats on your redemption trip!
Great stuff Lee.....glad to read this in writing, not as good as the in person tale, but still great! Glad you were successful.....I guess the target worked!
Great bull and super adventure. Redemption is always sweet. Congrats
Great bull and recap! You say the hide was 54lbs wondering what kind of mount you are doing as full body is surely heavier then that no?
Thanks Tyler, my plan for the hide is to have it tanned “hair on” and hang it over a home made quilt rack. It was 6’x6’ with no neck or legs.
Great adventure. Jake is a great source of knowledge.
Congrats on your great bull! thanks for sharing the hunt.
Great story and congrats.
Congrats and thanks for sharing!
Congratulations, brings back some of my coldest memories.
Great adventure, nice bull. Thanks for sharing. Congrats! I love that house with the 'Bathurst Inlet' caribou antler sign - great pic!
That's for the awesome story!