Backcountry Custom Taxidermy
* If you are a Nonresident, you should be accompanied by a licensed guide / outfitter OR by an Alaska resident (who is a close relative) to hunt in Alaska
* If you are a Nonresident Alien, you must be accompanied by a licensed guide / outfitter OR by an Alaska resident (who is a close relative) to hunt in Alaska.
* You are allowed to report your harvest in person or via U.S. mail for all hunts. For some hunts, you may also report online instead. Failure-to-report (FTR) penalties apply for many hunts. Click Here for more information. * Refer back to Alaska Hunting for the map of hunting units. Each unit will give specific information about the area, bag limits and more.
* The qiviut is the the downy-soft underwool from the Arctic musk ox. Eight times warmer than wool and extraordinarily lightweight, Qiviut is one of the finest natural fibers known to man.
* When a young or injured animal is threatened, adult muskoxen form a fortress-like ring around it. The ring is one of nature's not-so-subtle warning signals telling you to back off.
Muskox - facts and figures
Muskox (Ovibos moschatus) are northern animals well adapted to life in the Arctic. At the close of the last ice age, muskox were found across northern Europe, Asia, Greenland and North America, including Alaska. By the mid-1800s, muskox had disappeared from Europe and Asia. By the 1920s, muskox had also disappeared from Alaska as well, with the only remaining muskox being found in east Greenland and Arctic Canada. International concern over impending extinction of this animal led to an effort to restore a population in Alaska.
The muskox is a stocky, long-haired animal with a slight shoulder hump and a very short tail. Both sexes have horns, but the horns of bulls are larger and heavier than those of cows. See the muskox hunter orientation page for tips on muskox identification. Mature bulls are about 5 ft high (1.5 m) at the shoulder and weigh 600 – 800 lbs (273 – 364 kg). Cows are smaller, averaging approximately 4 ft (1.2 m) in height and weighing 400 – 500 lbs (182 – 227 kg). An 800-lb muskox will dress out at about 480 (218 kg) lbs, providing roughly 275 lbs (125 kg) of meat. Having the right or wrong equipment can make or break a Muskox hunt in the artic - CLICK HERE - for an Artic Gear Checklist for this type of hunt. Also check with your guide/outfitter what to bring as they will also have some things included on the list. This check list can also apply to hunting Polar Bear and Caribou in the artic.
Muskox eat a wide variety of plants, including grasses, sedges, forbs, and woody plants. Muskoxen are poorly adapted for digging through heavy snow for food, so winter habitat is generally restricted to areas with shallow snow accumulations or areas blown free of snow.
Even if you are hunting bulls, it is also important to pay attention to the features of cows. Chances are good you will see some of each and have to make a decision. Don’t rush your judgment and don’t convince yourself you’re seeing what you want to see. Look closely and be patient.
This cow (on right) has the thin horns which are diagnostic for cows. She has no boss — horn on the very top of her head. The light colored hair has been mistaken for horn in bad light and mistakes have been made.
This is a young bull (on left). The horns are noticeably thicker than those of a cow. Notice the black horn tips which also help identify bulls. However the black tips can be worn or broken off, especially on older bulls.
A young bull does not yet have a fully developed
horny boss that covers the forehead like that of a mature bull. A young bull is excellent eating; he is big enough to provide a large amount of tender meat. Since he lacks the boss on his forehead, hunters must be careful to note the thick horns and black tips and be careful not to confuse him with a cow. CLICK HERE for more information on identifying muskox.
Hunating Tips - Shot Placement
Consider shot placement. Where on this hairy animal will you aim? Find portions of the animal as landmarks through which to draw cross hairs. His rump makes a definite drop. The drop is a good place to start a HORIZONTAL line which will cross through the ribs. His shoulder is highlighted by sun here. You can make a pretty good guess where his front leg is. Come up from that for your vertical crosshair. It’s easier on a live, moving animal. Aim for the chest cavity. Don’t hit the hump. Neck shots are a bad idea.
Use the front leg on the far side and the rump drop to find a point to aim at on this muskox. The bottom right corner of the shedding qiviut in the rib area would be a good place to aim. Don’t be fooled by the long skirt of hair hanging below the belly. Hunters who are not experienced with muskoxen sometimes aim too low.
The qiviut (the downy-soft underwool from the Arctic musk ox) is worth salvaging. If you don’t want it, you may wish to offer it to someone else in your hunting party or a native. Eight times warmer than wool and extraordinarily lightweight, Qiviut is one of the finest natural fibers known to man.
If there’s a chance the animal will fall where you can’t recover it, DON’T SHOOT!
Don’t shoot at animals grouped real close together. Wait for better positioning.
Hunting Tips - The Caliber
A .270 caliber rifle or larger will work well for hunting muskoxen. A .30-06 caliber rifle with a 180 grain bullet is recommended. Avoid shooting through your target and into another muskox.
Muskox Harvest Reporting
Don’t forget to report your harvest. If you harvested a cow with a Tier II permit, call ADF&G within 24 hours of returning from your hunt.
Read your permit to find out the reporting criteria for your hunt.
If you don’t hunt or weren’t successful, remember to report to ADF&G by mail or phone.
Hunting Tips - Where
In 1930, 34 muskox were captured in East Greenland and brought to Fairbanks. This group was then transferred to Nunivak Island, a large island in the Bering Sea. The muskoxen thrived there and, by 1968, the herd had grown to 750 animals. Muskox from the Nunivak herd were later translocated to establish new herds on the Seward Peninsula, on Thompson and Nelson Islands, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and on Wrangel Island and the Taimyr Peninsula in Russia. By 2000, almost 4,000 muskoxen existed in Alaska. In recent years, the herds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and adjoining areas have declined somewhat, but other wild populations are growing.
Refer back to Alaska Hunting for the map of hunting units. Each unit will give specific information about the area, bag limits and more.
Unit 18 - Nunivak Island, Nelson Island
Limit ONE BULL or ONE COW by permit - Season Sept 1 - Sept 30th
Limit ONE BULL or ONE COW by permit - Season Feb 1 - March 25th
Muskox tag required & evidence of sex must remain naturally attached to the meat
Hunting Tips - Summery
This is not a substitute for the Alaska Hunting Regulations. For more complete infomation read the regulations and the permit hunt supplements. They are available at Alaska Department of Fish & Game offices and establishments that sell hunting licenses and tags. Always Check the Alaska Hunting & Trapping Emergency Orders before planning to hunt an area or species as restrictions may apply. CLICK HERE - For more information on hunting the Alaska Muskox Click Here - For information on permits for Drawing hunts, Regrestration hunts, or General Season hunts
* Bows, Firearms, Cartridge, and Ammunition for Hunting Alaska:
The rifle you bring hunting should be one with which you are comfortable. many hunters have been convinced that a .300, .338, .375, or .416 magnum is needed for personal protection and to take large Alaska game. This is simply not true.
1.Rifle/handgun: State regulations require that rifles and handguns must fire a 200-grain or larger bullet, which retains at least 2000 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards. A .30-06 with a 220-grain bullet is about the minimal weapon that meets this specification. Please do not bring your favorite firearm and expect to use it if it does not meet the above criteria.
2.Muzzleloader: Muzzle-loading rifles must be .54 caliber or larger, or at least .45 caliber with a 250-grain or larger elongated slug. Further, for safety reasons, those hunting with muzzleloaders must also have within easy reach a smokeless powder rifle meeting the centerfire rifle requirements listed above.
3.Bow: Longbows, recurve bows, or compound bows are permitted, but they must have a peak draw weight of 50 pounds or more. Arrows must be at least 20 inches in overall length, and tipped with unbarbed, fixed or replaceable-blade type broadheads. Arrow and broadhead together must weigh at least 300 grains total weight. As with hunters using muzzleloaders, ADF&G strongly recommends that bowhunters have a rifle close at hand.
* If you are planning on packing out moose meat, caribou meat, or a brown bear hide weighing hundreds of pounds, you can carry a 9- to 11-pound rifle including scope. A rifle of this weight in .300 or .338 magnum can be mastered with a lot of practice.
SUMMERY: You can’t go wrong with a stainless steel bolt-action rifle chambered for a standard cartridge that you are comfortable with and can shoot accurately, loaded with a high quality bullet.
BOONE AND CROCKETT