Muskox in January

KayakMacGyver

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In the final planning/preparation stages for my wife's Muskox hunt in January on Nunivak and would greatly appreciate some input on outstanding items.

Outer layer/bib/shell: We have plenty of insulating layers, but not a good outer shell. At least not one that is windproof. We are both from Florida, so this isn't an item we need very often. I have considered investing in some Sitka incinerators, but I'm wondering if there are more cost effective solutions other options we should consider. It also doesn't have to/need to be camo, as we are likely to dual purpose these for winter fishing offshore here in North Florida.

We expect some 15+ mile snow mobile rides very cold temps, but wind us expected to be our biggest concern.

How about mittens? Was thinking about going with a pair like Randy wears with wool liners, but wondering how that leather holds up when wet? Is a Gore Tex/synthetic material mit more appropriate?


Transportation logistics:

I was hoping we would have access to fish boxes on the island, but that's not a reliable option right now. Maybe in Bethel? I still need to call around there, but am not going to count on it.

In speaking with the transporter, he advised that mailing rubbermaid totes would be a good idea. As far as the hide, he mentioned that he has seen guys roll the hide up in plastic in a tarp like a burrito and that worked well.

Can anyone suggest any better options or logistics for our meat transport? Shipping empty totes from Florida is going to be pricey, but I'll do it if I have to. We have a very long return trip (24+hours), but most of our non-flight time will be spent in Seattle which will provide us access to the freezer.

Also, known shipper option is out as our return airport doesn't have a freezer and is only open M-F, meaning we would potentially have to wait 2 days to retrieve our meat.



Any other suggestions or thoughts?
 
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Hunting Wife

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Mittens- if it’s going to be really cold, being “wet” might not be as big of a problem as you think. Everything will be frozen. You can oil your mittens (like you would your leather boots) to help them resist moisture you do encounter.

Transport- We stacked empty totes together, duct taped the crap out of them and checked them on the way to Kodiak. Then checked them full of frozen antlers/meat/ducks on the way home. You can pack some extra warm clothes in there with it to help insulate. Frozen meat packed this way was still frozen two days later when we got home.
 

BuzzH

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Arctic armor is what I went with on my ox hunt, and the gloves they throw in are awesome. I don't wear gloves at all in WY, MT, even when I ice fish. But for riding on a snow machine they kept my hands warm.


The only trouble with artic armor is that you really cant use it for hunting for the most part unless you plan on just sitting somewhere for hours on end in sub zero weather. I cant even use it ice fishing for walking out on the ice...too friggin' warm. I have to wait and put it on after I walk out on the ice. IMO and experience of one ox hunt, I doubt there's a better alternative to staying warm in really, really cold weather.

The rubbermaid totes are the way to roll for meat transport. I zip-tied mine shut just borrowed a drill bit and drilled holes through the lids and into the totes.

I brought back the life-size cape in a rubbermaid round garbage can, the whole thing fit pretty easily in a large one. Again, I zip tied the lid rather than use tape.

Don't over-think it...
 

Kaitum

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What Buzz said about totes and zip tying the lids. It works well. One tip: don't cut the extra end of the zip tie off after you've cinched them down, just leave them as is. That sharp square corner of a clipped zip tie will slice whatever it comes in contact with, including hands.
 

BuzzH

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You can see the totes we used in this picture, head and meat went in the square ones, cape in the round ones:

muskox%20139.JPG


Buy one of these hats off the locals, IIRC, I paid $150. You'll be the only person on your block that has a spotted seal skin bomber hat and your head will be warm:

IMG_0528.JPG


The slippers are awesome too and hell for stout:

IMG_0531.JPG
 

wllm

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2X on what Buzz said you don't need to spend money, bulky and warm is fine.

Definitely go with totes. Stack them like hunting wife said and check them all together or put your gear in them on the way out and pack a couple of cheap duffle bags and on the way back put your clothes/ bulky stuff in those.
 

Bambistew

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You won't find fish boxes in Bethel. Totes are the way to go and the trash can Buzz mentioned is what most use here for bears as well.

Be prepared to be delayed for days getting in and out of the island both ways. A couple buddies of mine were stuck in Bethel for 5 days and canceled their trip. The fog and wind is awful in that part of the world.
 

KayakMacGyver

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These comments all help tremendously. Really appreciate the feedback.


Totes it is.

Can the trash cans be had in Bethel, or is that bought along for the complete ride as well?
 

neffa3

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BuzzH

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Wow, those are quite reasonable priced for what you get.
Yes they are. I watched some video's of people jumping in the water with that stuff on and it appears to keep a person above water pretty damn well.

I thought for ice fishing that may be a plus in case you fell through, but I don't get out much on early ice. I had an incident when I was about 17 years old while duck hunting on the river with ice...pretty well cured me of combining early ice, rivers, and mallard ducks that taste like chit anyway.
 

neffa3

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Yes they are. I watched some video's of people jumping in the water with that stuff on and it appears to keep a person above water pretty damn well.

I thought for ice fishing that may be a plus in case you fell through, but I don't get out much on early ice. I had an incident when I was about 17 years old while duck hunting on the river with ice...pretty well cured me of combining early ice, rivers, and mallard ducks that taste like chit anyway.
I've had hypothermia twice, both times falling through the ice while duck hunting. Way more dangerous than anything I've ran into big game hunting.
 

NoWiser

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I agree with Buzz on 95% of things, but I can’t agree with him that the Arctic Armor is warm. Almost everyone I ice fish with bought the stuff when it was the craze. Not a single one of us wears it anymore because we all froze with it on. If it’s going to be 0 or above it’s probably fine. Once you hit -20 or -30 you’ll regret it. I’m not sure what temps you expect on the hunt, but I’d go with something down and windproof. If you’ll be traversing sketchy frozen water, that would sway my decision, but I’d go with Striker Ice. That’s what most I know wear now. If temps won’t be too cold, the AA will work just fine. I might even have a camo pair I’d send you for the cost of shipping, if it didn’t make it to the dumpster yet. I’ll check tonight.
 

Panda Bear

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We still prefer clothing made from Arctic wolfs, Caribou and Seals, I believe Buzz's suggestion of Arctic Armor might work but we dont have any.

The gloves made by SealskinZ are good ones, but they are not seal skin. ( it is s illegal to import seal skins into the U.S. )

Mittens- if it’s going to be really cold, being “wet” might not be as big of a problem as you think. Everything will be frozen. You can oil your mittens (like you would your leather boots) to help them resist moisture you do encounter.
Good advice.


You can see the totes we used in this picture, head and meat went in the square ones, cape in the round ones:

muskox%20139.JPG


Buy one of these hats off the locals, IIRC, I paid $150. You'll be the only person on your block that has a spotted seal skin bomber hat and your head will be warm:

IMG_0528.JPG


The slippers are awesome too and hell for stout:

IMG_0531.JPG

For sure let her buy some of the clothing made by the locals while there
.

Be prepared to be delayed for days getting in and out of the island both ways. A couple buddies of mine were stuck in Bethel for 5 days and canceled their trip. The fog and wind is awful in that part of the world.

Assume this will happen. Plan your trip around this happening, both back home and in your mind. Then when it does ( you noticed I said when not if ) you will not stress out.

The getting to and from will be far more stressful, tiring and take longer than the hunt. These are not tough animals to hunt, getting to where they live is the tough part and waiting for them to "un circle" so that you and your guide can decide on which one to harvest and so that you dont hit a second one accidentally

Great adventure for you and your wife, have fun
 

BuzzH

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I agree with Buzz on 95% of things, but I can’t agree with him that the Arctic Armor is warm. Almost everyone I ice fish with bought the stuff when it was the craze. Not a single one of us wears it anymore because we all froze with it on. If it’s going to be 0 or above it’s probably fine. Once you hit -20 or -30 you’ll regret it. I’m not sure what temps you expect on the hunt, but I’d go with something down and windproof. If you’ll be traversing sketchy frozen water, that would sway my decision, but I’d go with Striker Ice. That’s what most I know wear now. If temps won’t be too cold, the AA will work just fine. I might even have a camo pair I’d send you for the cost of shipping, if it didn’t make it to the dumpster yet. I’ll check tonight.
That's funny that you experienced the exact opposite of what I have with that stuff...not uncommon though. Bullets, rifles, vehicles, and now apparently artic armor.

I don't have any loyalty to artic armor, but its been very good for me in weather down well past zero and I have never been cold while wearing it.

Good to get first hand experience even if it conflicts.
 

KayakMacGyver

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What are the covid restrictions going to Nunivak ?

They have some protocol, particularly if your un-vaccinated. It's not too severe and I understand that covid protocol hasn't interfered with the hunts to this point. These hunts provide a significant economic impact to that community, so I've gathered it's a top priority for them.

That said, they recently had their first outbreak that spread pretty quick and a good chunk of the village caught covid. We will have to see if that plays out into anything, considering the history these folks have with pandemics.

@KayakMacGyver not sure what size your wife wears but...

$600 banana suit. If I had to wear that, I couldn't enjoy showing pictures of the hunt to our kids, kids one day. Plus, seeing as I have to buy 2 of these getups, I'm really hoping for something a little more economical.

Definitely going to check out the arctic brands. That'll likely be my ticket.
 

neffa3

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They have some protocol, particularly if your un-vaccinated. It's not too severe and I understand that covid protocol hasn't interfered with the hunts to this point. These hunts provide a significant economic impact to that community, so I've gathered it's a top priority for them.

That said, they recently had their first outbreak that spread pretty quick and a good chunk of the village caught covid. We will have to see if that plays out into anything, considering the history these folks have with pandemics.



$600 banana suit. If I had to wear that, I couldn't enjoy showing pictures of the hunt to our kids, kids one day. Plus, seeing as I have to buy 2 of these getups, I'm really hoping for something a little more economical.

Definitely going to check out the arctic brands. That'll likely be my ticket.
Com'on it's like artic hunters orange! LOL
 
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