ALASKA MUSK OX
You, wanna watch the Boylan sure why not nothing. Better is it I bet you could do it. Her. Head upon life. Kind, of a crush a pay. Streak and a deal like. A pie. Yesterday. That's a nice car get down in. The brush oh. Oh, shoot. Those were those those. Are Brant. Geese. There, are people in this world that go looking, for adventure, and then, there are those that live in everyday. Alaska. Outdoors, television. Experience. Alaska. Like never before. Matthew. And I put in for a drawing for. A permit, for Nunavik Island for the fall musk ox I've been wanting to go out to nuna back for so many years, well Matthews, say hi to the Bering Sea people. Put in for this. Permit, year, after year for 10 20, 30 years and don't get. The draw. Historically. When you when you do these nuna, back times there's. Very few people to live on Nunavik Island but obviously, they. Live there and you need to support the local community and. They. Have some local knowledge that you can pick up on and so, we. Hired a transporter. Out of the village of Macquarie akan nunavik Island and there's, there's, a few well-known, transporters. There and Abe. David, was, the, transporter, that I used I contacted, him ahead of time found. Out what I needed to bring what, they had in McQuarrie ik that, I could rely upon and then. We. Flew on out to Macquarie ah. So. They're flying in to Macquarie that's the guy next to me in the window-seat saw two musk ox yes not too far outside of the village of McCrory AK of, course that God is real excited, both via Matthew, we're talking about it as, we landed and as we were making our way from the airport to, the village so, it, looked like from the get-go that, this was going to be an easy hunt. It. Was me once we once we landed we were able to walk around the village of McCrory, act talked to a couple people real. Friendly, folks out there and, a. Lot of those people are bilingual, they speak you pick and they speak English as well and, so it's, not uncommon, to be walking down the road hearing, an. Elder speaking, to a, young villager, and Ubik it's, a, lot. Of tradition, a. Lot of traditional, values and, a lot of traditional ways of life still. Exists, out of McCrory AK. They. Still do a number. Of their traditional, hunch and one, of the one, of the things that they've done for a number, of years, is herd reindeer, I. Understand. That they, don't do the commercial, herding, of the reindeer, anymore, but they do have. Reindeer, out there and they, do take a number of reindeer throughout, the year. I. Started. Thinking about hunting on UNIVAC Island because. My father drew. A tag the very first year that they opened up Nunavik Island a musk ox hunting that was the winter. Of, 1976. And I, believe the fall of, 1975. He, drew a tag and, went out there and shot one of the first musk ox off of that island and it, was a nice, bull, musk ox it turned out to be a trophy in the record book when, you go out to the Anchorage International Airport. As, you started to go up the escalator you can look down and see the musk ox that my dad and my dad shot in the, spring, of 1976. So it's it's. A really cool reminder, to me as I go out to the airport wow that's what I want to go do. We. Talked with Abe a little bit we, talked, about, my. Plans for the hunt and, so Abe said hey well why don't we go down and get into my boat and I'll take you up to the quarry at River so, that's, what we did we walked down to the harbor and we got into the boat with Abe and he. Took us upriver and dropped us off and then from, there we. Went up this hill. And camp, the first night. Hoping. The glass for some musk ox one, of the things that we had hoped for was, to be able to get a naves boat and travel, across. The north, side of the island over. To the northwest, part. Of the island over, on the northwest side is typically. Where you find the musk ox this time of year according, to all of my research and so that's what we'd really hope to do but. With the wind blowing 25. To 45, out of the north it, really it precluded, boat travel, and so, as a result we were limited to that area by. Mccrory Ock and we were really limited to where we could walk to. Which. Was a little disappointing. But what. Do you what can you do about the weather have my map. GPS. Gun. And bullets. Okay. Well we'll call you when we have. A musk oxen. I'll, give you a call and touch base. Okay. This is my 300. Winchester. Browning, it's, an Abel that's a medallion. That I got when I was 16 years old I just loved this gun, really. Has shot. Well for me for many years. So. What we'll do is we'll set up this chant get. All of our gear put away grab.
Our. Guns and then, go, look for some musk oxen I even write yeah cool, I mean I think we have. Five. Hours till dark. So. That first day when, when we got out there cam what, we found was is that Nunavik, island is primarily, tundra you'll walk from some drier areas. Especially and. When. The elevation, gains, and then when it gets a little low or it's very swampy and so if. You don't have good boots your feet are gonna get wet. Has. A canister, full of white gas if, you can't bring in the, butane. Canisters, because you, can't fly with one of those butane canisters, there's. A little tube going from the canister, to the stove you pump it up turn. On the valve and. Presto. We have some flame. You can't wait to eat I yeah, eat, some of it before it's cooked. It's. Starting to bubble. Well. Kiddo. We're, all packed up and ready to go okay which way you wanna head. That. Way yeah, west. My. Father did a little, bit different, hunt than than we did he went out during. The winter when UNIVAC, Iowans froze in with a lot of snow and you had the ability to get around either, on dogsled or. On snow machine unfortunately. For me and Matthew we didn't have it so easy we, drew the fall hunt it's a limited, number of permits, there's only ten issued. Every fall, and fortunately. Matthew and I were able to secure, two of those permits, and, there's no snow machine to bring you around this very large island, I believe it's the largest island in the Bering Sea and we. We were on foot, as opposed to on snow machine all, right, we're. Gonna cross this river kiddo so we need to pull our. Waiters. Out. Right, on dude you, made it. We've. Been hiking for a good, portion of the day really. A lot of land out here a lot of rolling hills we. Haven't seen any musk ox yet we've. Seen a lot of birds no. Reindeer. But. You. Know we're not giving up hope we'll, keep plugging. Along see. What we can find, we do have reason to believe that there's a couple of musk ox out here so. It's, just a matter of us being able to locate those things and then put. A stock on them, this. Is some pretty, tough terrain, going. Up and down and, up and, down. But. I know. It's a pain up. And down a little squishy. Really. Really, easy to twist your ankle on this type of stuff but you. Can sit back in them like this and get. Out of the wind a little bit. Look. For the muskox coming by I'm. Waiting for that big herd to. Run right into my lap here. For. The next six days we. Just looked and willing to look for these musk oxen you'd think on, an island, that's full of rolling, hills and, not, a lot of Peaks that there were two musk ox around you'd see him but, boy these, were like the ghosts of the tundra because, we. Didn't see any musk ox we hiked that, first day I don't know 15, miles I think 12, miles, that. Very first day and we, saw old, sign, but, we didn't see any fresh sign and, we didn't see any musk ox. Okay. So we worked our tails off, last night made, it back to camp pretty, close to dark he's.
Got It this morning and decided to regroup headed. Over here to this hill. So we're. On top of about a 400. Foot hill. And you. Really, have a good view of a. Lot, of acreage a lot of miles in, every, direction. Down. Right. They. Were telling us about that last it was that shot. My, doctor, was, down in the brush to make, sure that we don't overlook, the, project. We. Had a great fall I was, so excited when we when we drew this permit, because it, was going to be me and Matthew going, to nuna back to hunt these musk ox and instantly. I couldn't, help but think this is so cool, my, dad shot a musk ox I'm, going to shoot a musk ox and my son's going to shoot a musk ox so it. Was just, it was something I was looking forward to all summer, long and then into the fall and then, of course we had just a terrific fall, of hunting together we. Had just got back from a sheep hunt where. We where Matthew was able to shoot his very first sheep you're, out there hiking you're, working, or pushing, your limits you're. Not quitting when. You. Need to go up that next hill and. You just bear down and, say hey I'm, gonna go up that next hill if. I want to get that, chief I need to go over this hill and after. I go over this hill if, I have to go over the next one I'll. Go over the next one before. I went on their sheep onto I was a little bit concerned about Matthew, he's 14, years old he's a big strong young. Man but. It's. Not a hunt, for. The. Weak it's, not a hunt for the average person, you need to be. Willing to put in some serious, effort, and pain in order to go on a sheep hunt and so I was a little worried about whether, he could hack it and, I. Tell you after about day two I had. No more concerns this kid was like a little mountain goat he. Could go up those mountains just as well as I could and so, I started taking a little weight out of my pack and throwing, in his pack to try to slow that kid down and I. Tell, you I was so proud, of how he did on that hon. Either. Work another way up till, about. The glacier, you can, see in the background. Well. We're up on that hill behind us and. We knew they were right, over this little, hill. Below us, and. We kind of watch them move up the flat area then the, smaller one came, up over the hill and just stood thick as, it shoot me shoot me we're, waiting for the bigger one to come up and. Shot. Him. We've, seen a few musk ox diets, bushes and musk, ox eyes rocks, you, just haven't seen that elusive, musk ox haven't you let's try going up the other way. We. Would go off to the west we'd go off to the south we'd, go off to the southeast, we'd. Go off to the southwest, and. Every. Day we, would go out we'd hike out four or five miles and, and then we'd swing around four. Or five miles come back four or five miles and the, whole time we're going and, so we could see quite. A ways out into the distance we were covering a lot of ground, looking. For these musk ox and we. Really began to doubt ourselves as, to whether those were musk ox we saw on the, way in because gosh you. Know, we. Just didn't, see him really. Does. He see, the water way out there yeah on. That hill just on. This. So. We walked over to the south end of this hill we actually went to the top and, over. Over the top of it to the south side of the hill and then, we glassed, off to the east and, then we walked back. Over to the west and we glas the west side and, then we class the north. West side, looking for musk ox we. Didn't see any musk ox tonight but we, really, were only able to glass for about an hour and a half. Are. You gonna have. A seat here yeah, okay. So, it's pretty windy up here right now. Going. To pick up some grub. Get. A good night's sleep and get up and go after a while. All right. Wow. I. Remember. Thinking as we were coming. Close to the end of the hunt and we, hadn't seen any mascot part, of me was really disappointed. That we. Didn't have, a mascot, but. It. Only took a second to sit back and reflect on the hunt and say wow you, know I've had an amazing time out here with my boy it's, been six days or so away. From civilization. And, really. Enjoying, the wilderness, with my boy. I saw, this cool little fox came right in on us had, no idea we were there until he was really close but no. Musk ox, we. Ended up extending, our trip an extra day because. We were really wanting. To get a musk ox even, if it were just one at, that point in time, really. Worrying. At that point about how we were going to get the meat back if we were to shoot one that far out so, I brought my GPS, with me just because it was an island that I was unfamiliar, with I hadn't been there before and so, I brought my GPS, with me to mark the camp and and generally, I guide, us through where we were going and by.
The End of the trip we had we had walked well over 30 miles by the time the trip was over. We're. Traveling quite. A ways west. Mccrory. Ik at this point in time when, we came, across two musk ox on the side of this hill and as. They started a skyline, a little, bit and then come down below. The skyline. Oh boy. You should have just you, could feel the excitement simply. Exploiting these musk ox we, were about four miles away and. We made our way all the way up to 238. Yards right. On top of this Hills guy lining you, can see that was Kyle ina and they go back behind it's kinda. Get, our bellies. We. Finally, found the elusive musk ox the musk ox we had searched for for nearly a week so. It. Was pretty exciting at that point in time our adrenaline was going and, and there, was nothing, that was going to stop us from getting this musk oxen wanna make sure, so. The stock was awesome, stock, was just fantastic. Matthew. And I had just been on a sheep hunt and the, Sheep can see you from miles and miles away and so, you really, develop. A good stock by, being a sheep hunter so, when. We're coming up on these musk ox it. Was as though I didn't have to say anything to Matthew he was ready to go he, was down on the ground he. Was crawling I was, doing the same thing as we're, moving closer and closer to these musk ox. We. Side held it as we, got below their their. Vision. So, they couldn't see us we were able to move quickly and then. As we got into closer. Distance, we're able to get down low and crawl. And then sort of just crouch. Down and, get closer and closer to. These musk ox it was really. A pretty cool stock, as. We get up to this musk ox we could see the, big one that Matthew was looking, at and we're, getting closer and closer to this musk ox and there's not really a lot of cover but, the way we positioned, ourselves with, the wind and with, the bushes we. Were able to get so, close to this musk ox that it was just on the other side of, these bushes. I'm, watching, Matthew and he's. Such a good, hunter, he's, been trained to not take a bad shot not. Take a bad angle shot and so, he's waiting patiently. To, shoot this musk ox that's 15. Yards. Away I want, him to shoot but, I can't, quite see his, angle, and he. Has a good view of the, Muscat. I'm, putting, my foot down you can the charger oh yeah. Well. I can't see it yeah.
Well. I've wanted to go out to nuna back and hunt the musk ox for so many years what, a neat thing to be able to say three generations, of musk, ox hunters out on nunavik island. You. Shot the old one I shot the young one. How. Come I gave you first shot. You.