SPECIES OVERVIEW - Muskox
If hunting a “tundra wookie” is on your bucket list (and who doesn’t want to bag one of those ice
age beauties) then you need to know a little more about them. There are two main types, the
barren ground musk ox and the island musk ox.
Most of the top B&C entries are from Canada, which has the barren ground musk ox. Greenland
has an island musk ox, which is smaller than its Canadian counterparts. Either of these will get
you a Super Slam® or Super Ten®.
A typical musk ox group is 10 to 20, but groups of over 100 aren’t unheard of. Wolves are the
biggest threat to the musk ox, but they’ve developed techniques to thwart the wolves and group
in a tight circular pattern to protect themselves.
Why do you care how the musk ox protects itself from predators? Well… because you’re about
to hop on a snowmobile and become one of those predators. You face the same problem the
wolves do—you need to separate a target from the group, kill the target, and then get your trophy
(okay, maybe that last one isn’t a problem for wolves).
Four different types of hunts are available in Alaska:
- Draw hunts: Available to residents and nonresidents. Requires an application fee
and is awarded by lottery. November 1 through December 15 is the application
2. Tier II: This is considered subsistence hunts and only available to Alaskan
residents 10 years and older.
3. Registration: Available to both residents and nonresidents. Some have permit
quotas and others are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. If there isn’t a
permit quota, the season will close when the quota is met.
4. Community harvest: These are also subsistence hunts and considered Tier I hunts
available to Alaskan residents 10 and older.
There are two hunts per year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The fall hunt is in September
and the spring hunt is in February. For either hunt, expect inclement weather and prepare
accordingly. In the fall it will be wet and windy and in the spring there will be snow.
Hunting musk ox in Alaska requires a few things; a current hunting license ($160), a metal
locking tag ($500 for residents, $2,200 for nonresidents, $3,000 for nonresident aliens), and a
hunting permit. A hunting guide is not required for nonresidents in Alaska, but a commercial
service is suggested to make things simpler. A guide/transporter will cost between $3,000 and
$6,000 and a list can be found here: www.commerce.alaska.gov/cbp/Main/ Search/Professional
Flights will need to be through Bethel and from there you can get transportation to Mekoryuk,
which is the only village on Nunivak Island. On your return trip, make sure to plan on having
space in your bags for your harvest. The average total price on a musk ox hunt in Alaska will be
from $5,000 to $10,000. Unlike many other types of hunts, the success rate for a musk ox hunt is
high (around 100%), but this is hunting. There are sure things.
STATES AND SEASONS
Almost exclusively hunted with an outfitter you will travel by snow machine or dog sled to areas known to hold heard of Muxkox where you will glass for a trophy animal. You will make your approach on foot or by snowshoe after locating the animal you’re after.