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I left the country back on Sept 24th for a week of bowhunting in Greenland. The outfitter would be Frank Feldmann of "Bowhunting Greenland". Archery hunting is a fairly new thing for Greenland, having only become legal there about 6 years ago. Thanks are due to Frank for helping make this change happen.
The country of Greenland is roughly the size of Mexico, but holds a population of only about 50,000 people in total. The majority of the central land mass is a mountainous ice sheet. Only the lower elevation regions along the coast are inhabited by people. And most of the human settlements are located at the southern tip of the country.
With the isolated nature of this destination, it's no easy task to get there. No commercial flights go to Greenland directly from the United States. Travel therefore entails multiple steps, the first of which was driving to Chicago to catch a non-stop 9-hour flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. Denmark is the governing country of Greenland.
Then an overnight stay at the Crowne Plaza in Copenhagen. View of town from the hotel:
The next phase was a series of flights back westward to Greenland. First stopping in Kangerlussuaq, then on to Nuuk, then a final flight leg to the village of Narsarsuaq on the southwest coast of Greenland.
From the air, it seems to be a forbidding landscape.
Narsarsuaq is a former military base that was later converted to a small residential town and port. You can sort of tell from the appearance of most of their buildings that these were former military installations, now converted to commercial or residential use.
By then I'd met the other 3 hunters who'd be joining me in camp. After an overnight at the Hotel Narsarsuaq, we'd be picked up the next morning at 5 am for a boat ride to the hunting camp at Arsuk, about 5 hours away by charter boat. However, this plan was soon changed. The next morning we got the bad news that we'd be delayed for high winds, which were making travel along the wind-swept coast in a small watercraft far too dangerous.
The boat provided by Blue Ice Charters:
Finally after a couple more delays and false starts, we were picked up around 6pm. But on that day, we'd only boat for a short distance, traveling through some inland passages for about an hour, where we'd make another unscheduled overnight stop in a different small town (Narsaq) and wait for the storm to clear.
The hotel and restaurant in this small village were pretty decent. Pictured here are the other 3 members of the hunting party, from left....Daniel, Doug, and Darrin, who run a large machine shop in their home state of Michigan.
The primary livestock animal on Greenland is domestic sheep. So naturally, lambchops were on the menu.
The next morning, we were informed by the captain that the off-shore winds were still too brisk for safe boating. Further complicating plans, we could only travel during a high tide, due to one particular narrow passage that was navigable only for a couple hours during high tide. So the new plan was that we'd depart Narsaq around 6 pm, corresponding with the tidal peak.
In the meantime, we did a little sightseeing around the village to pass the time.
That night, we did get picked up around 6 pm, and made the boat trip to Frank Feldmann's camp in the dark, arriving at our base camp around 10:30 pm.
The trip was scheduled for 6 days of hunting, and normally this outfit starts out on Day 1 by taking the whole group out together for Muskox. But we'd already lost 2 days due to the weather. So for the first day of hunting, our group of 4 guys was split up. Two of us would go after caribou (my group) while the other two hunters, who were a father-son team, Doug & Daniel, would go after Muskox.
These two boats would serve as our transportation to various hunting locations.
Our guide the first day was Uwe, who is Danish, but speaks English very well. We headed out in the boat to a nearby valley, where we proceeded to hike in for several miles. Along the way we saw plenty of Muskox, mostly cows and calves. But we ignored them, because caribou were the only target for us today.
This is a view looking back to the bay where we tied up the boat.
Around 10:30 am, we finally glassed up a large group of caribou, roughly 2 miles ahead. The bulls were in the peak of the rut, and were observed to be harassing the cows relentlessly. There were some good ones in this bunch.
We had the wind in our faces at that time, so the plan was simple....all we needed to do was get across a roaring stream, and then move in for a stalk.
By the way, you'll note the guide Uwe is carrying a rifle in this pic. This is required by law for all big-game hunting guides in Greenland.
We soon realized that crossing the stream at that location was not possible....the 35-degree water was way too swift and deep....the result of several days of relentless rain.
We spent the next couple of hours backtracking downstream looking for a crossing. Which meant we were moving AWAY from the caribou.
By the time we found a place to cross, way down in the flatter delta area, the wind had shifted with the morning thermals, and was now blowing from us directly towards the herd.
But we'd already come this far, so we elected to forge ahead and look for a way to slip into bow range.
Unfortunately we had no success. At one point we did have some cows pass by us within about 25 yards. Shortly after, Darrin had a brief chance at one of the better bulls at about 70 yards, but the bull ran off, chasing after a cow, before he could get drawn. I had one younger bull broadside at about 30 yards, but I judged that he was just too small. Eventually the whole herd moved away after getting a little too much of our scent. We tried once more to get to the herd while avoiding giving them our wind, but again spooked them off about a mile up the canyon. Finally we decided it was probably best to back out and let them settle down for tomorrow.
Arriving back at camp that evening, we learned that the father and son team had both gotten their muskox. And they'd also seen two other good bulls in the same drainage. So the plan for Day 2 was that Darrin and I would go after Muskox, while Daniel would switch up and go for caribou. Doug elected to lay out for the day and try some fishing.
We made an early morning foray into the area where the other two hunters had taken their oxes. We saw plenty of Muskox, but didn't turn up the 2 good bulls they'd spotted the day before.
Only cows, calves, and young bulls.
We boated to a different area where we soon spotted a good-looking old bull who was accompanied by two younger bulls, all grazing calmly on a mountainside. Darrin was chomping at the bit, so I offered to give him first crack on this bull. I observed from a distance, as he made a quick stalk and made a great shot. And just like that, his bull was down. On walking up to the bull, my first impression was that these beasts are so much larger than I'd expected. The guide estimated the weight of Darrins bull at about 700 lbs on the hoof. The happy hunter:
The outfit had hired a native Inuit hunter to take care of skinning and butchering, and he was called in by radio to complete the the task. Once his boat arrived, we took off in our boat in search of another bull. We did spot a few bulls that afternoon, but didn't get any shot chances that day. Still two days to go though, and tomorrow would be another day.
Daniel had gotten a caribou with his rifle on Day 2, so he elected to come along on my Muskox hunt on Day 3, while his dad Doug went out together with Darrin, for Caribou.
We passed this huge glacier while boating our way to one of the hunt areas. The glacier was pushing big piles of rock and rubble that you see in the picture, slowly closing off the channel. In fact, the channel had become so shallow that it was only passable by boat during a high tide.
After a couple of unsuccessful stalks on day 3 of the hunt, late in the day we found a group of 9 muskox high up a slope. One animal appeared to be a very good bull. Most of the Muskox we'd observed had been feeding and bedding on gentler terrain. But this particular group had chosen a spot that was high up a very steep & rocky mountainside. At first this place seemed to offer nowhere for a bowhunter to hide. This picture doesn't really do justice in illustrating the steepness.
It was getting late in the day, so time was running short to try for this bull. We judged that he was a great-looking bull worth going after, so in spite of the seemingly low likelihood of success, we reckoned I'd go ahead and try to scale the slope in full view of the animals. We'd just hope the herd wouldn't take off. To everyone's surprise, this strategy worked. After climbing straight up at them, I was soon within an easy 30 yard bow range of the bull.
Daniel stayed back in the boat to observe, and took this picture as I neared the herd. The big bull can be seen at the far left. He stayed more or less out in front to 'protect' his cows.
The bull eventually turned broadside, offering me a good shot angle.
A view of the bosses. Frank estimated the bull to be 7 or 8 years old.
On Day 4, Darrin and I headed back to our original first-day spot, with guide Frank, to look for the caribou again. Doug & Daniel went out separately with Uwe to try for caribou. After a long hike about 5-6 miles in, unfortunately we didn't find any caribou. We did come across lots more Muskox.
A fresh snowfall blanketed the landscape up high.
Doug & Daniel both had some luck when they found the original big herd of 'bou, and succeeded in taking two nice bulls with their rifle on the last day. Unfortunately I don't have pics of those.
On day 5 we were all to be picked up by charter boat at 1 pm for our departure. Darrin & I were taken out in the boat by Frank for one last time that morning to look for Caribou, but had no luck in finding any.
In summary, it was not a bad haul for only 4 days of hunting....4 guys took 4 Muskox bulls and 3 Caribou Bulls.
The boat ride back to Narsarsuaq was scenic, and took us through some iceberg-filled waters.
While riding back to Narsarsuaq, the boat made an unannounced stop at an old homestead site in a remote isolated area.
We were curious about this stop, and then the Inuit boat captain pulled out a case he'd brought along, and opened it up to remove a high-end DJI Phantom 4 drone. Turns out he wanted to get some video footage for his friend who was the former occupant, but who had moved to town some years previous, and was now in ill health.
It was a neat-looking old place, with a beautiful view overlooking the water, in an isolated spot literally miles from any village.
We made one more stop to fuel up along the way, where a pair of Inuit fishermen approached us, expressing curiousity about our gear, clothes, and especially our bows, according to Uwe's translation.
We spent one last night in Narsarsuaq before boarding the plane for home.
Great adventure Greg....thanks for sharing! Congrats on the muskox! I've heard at least one Super Slammer mention muskox as the best table fare of the NA29. Your thoughts?
You da man....again!
Yes it sure is great eating Paul. Flavor and texture reminds me of whitetail actually. I just wish US Customs would allow us to bring the meat back. As it is, you have to donate the meat, at least all that you don't eat during the hunt, to the local Inuits. At least it gets put to good use.
Darn....actually had an ulterior motive for asking that question....but never mind. LOL!
Greg, that is an awesome adventure. Very cool and congrats on a great bull.
Wow! Awesome story and a great trip. Thanks for sharing.
Of all the critters out there to hunt, Muskox just seem like something from another time to me.... a prehistoric beast from a far off land and time! Congrats on an epic adventure and in overcoming some set-backs with weather. What type of mount are you doing with your muskox? Pete
I am very jealous! :)
Thanks guys. Pete, I took the whole cape, so as to at least have the option of doing a full body mount. Only problem is figuring out where I would put a mount that big! The process of getting heads & capes back from Greenland is kinda slow (they have to go to Denmark and get tanned before exporting) so I have about a year to decide. But if there’s an animal that surely makes for a very cool full body mount, it would have to be a Muskox.
Looks like an awesome hunt. Congratulations
This is an extraordinary thread. Greats recap of a true adventure. Well done..............this is far too good a thread to be buried in a state forum. Great of you to share it in such detail and the photos are spectacular.
I'm heading out there next year and will be referring to this often in the interim.
Hunts are common..............adventures are rare.
Great job! WOW