Canada: Northwest Territories Barren Ground Musk Ox

6 Hunting Days
Additional Species Available:
  • 2019 NWT Musk Ox
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Arguably the world’s premier Musk Ox hunt under fair weather August rutting conditions, 100% success rates for over 10 years, nearly all of which make B&C. Stay at a luxurious fishing lodge to combine with epic bonus fishing!

TRIP DURATION  6 Hunting days, fully guided.
PHYSICAL LEVEL Easy
PRIME TIME Late August into early September
WILDLIFE STATUS Wild, Free-ranging & Indigenous

Package Highlights:

This adventure likely ranks at the top for both giant Musk Ox, and overall northern experience in the spectacular Northwest Territories vast wilderness. Hunt with one of Canada’s longest standing outfitters and “cherry pick” the most prime window and scour the tree line where the boreal forest gives way to tundra in search of what may be the world’s largest varieties of Musk Ox. These are the large mainland Barren Ground variety specifically from the Sahtu region, home of the current world records.

Having personally guided these hunts since 2012, success rates on big mature Musk Ox have been an honest 100%, with nearly all of our client’s bulls scoring above 105 net (sometimes well into the 120’s) and thus legitimate and massive B&C qualifying animals. The tradeoff is the limited availability with only six tags annually in a unit the size of Ohio! Those lucky few will enjoy the lovely early fall weather, colors and scenery. The bugs are not really biting anymore, but the fish certainly are! Enjoy opportunities at oversized Lake Trout or Arctic Grayling, (or special Arctic Char fly-outs) all from the comfort of an iconic full-service fishing lodge.

Incredibly remote and serviced by float and wheeled aircraft, the lodge is slightly north of the Arctic Circle yet offers as much in the way of luxury or amenities as can be expected in this isolated wilderness. Logistics are simple and clients only need to get themselves as far as Yellowknife. Charter flights are already included in every package, and this is a great opportunity for a non-hunting observers or fishing buddies to tag along – on what usually becomes one of life’s great adventures!  Perhaps the only Musk Ox hunt you can drive both your meat and trophy home if desired!

Typical Day & Tactics

The outfitter’s staff greet our clients in Yellowknife and chauffer them to the hotel. The charter flight departs early the next morning which gives hunters just enough time to enjoy this unique northern territorial capital for half a day with the other hunters. Visit artist boutiques, museums, overlooks, taverns and feature restaurants showcasing locally sourced northern ingredients. Assemble in the lobby at 7 am the following morning and depart on a 1.5-hour flight due north arriving at the main lodge nestled in the hunting area. The reminder of the day is spent confirming your zero, securing your licensing, preparing your equipment, getting to know the guides and staff, and perhaps some quick fishing and a lovely dinner. The following six full days are now spent hunting and fishing.

Fly out from the lodge to one of the corners of the vast lake the following morning and continue by boat or on foot, using the coastal lake dunes to traverse this landscape in search of trophy Musk Ox who are often observed not far inland. Plan for classic, long range spot and stalk type hunting. It’s the peak rut and bulls are quite aggressive this time of year warding off rival males for breeding rights. They emit a low guttural roar (that so few hunters get to experience) that can be heard for miles and sounds like a lion! Same with the thundering and clash of battle! At times we come across lone bulls cruising between herds – either ostracized or looking for a fight. More often however, it’s a herd of roughly a dozen or more animals. The dominant herd bull will often not be the highest scoring bull, and usually an aging “past-his-prime” satellite bull with a regressed body but ever-growing horns finds himself in our hunters’ crosshairs. This is the perfect no-net loss animal to take when thinking of conservation, and so the guides take the judging process very seriously. For many, inspecting all the animals is their favorite part of the hunt.

At the end of each day, head back to the lodge for dinner, drinks and story-telling with the gang. Once tagged-out enjoy some of the finest guided trophy Lake Trout and Arctic Grayling fishing on the planet, already part of each package. Specialty fly-outs to select corners of the lake, or other waterbodies for Trout and Grayling, as well as Arctic Char and Inconnu may also be available, weather and logistics dependent. At the end of the week, fly back to Yellowknife in time to get your Musk Ox export license and catch your flight home.

Landscape & Climate

Soak up some of mainland Canada’s most remote region, in this seemingly endless and mysteriously beautiful landscape. Each stalk has the potential to be the first person to ever plant their foot in a certain spot. Its vast, sprawling and expansive and is best appreciated during the low flying charter flights. Here the boreal forest and tundra clash to form the Taiga biome best identified by sparse, stunted black spruce and tamarack trees. Low lying areas are comprised of peat bogs and marshy, willow choked river valleys, while the high ground exposes the rugged granite bedrock of the Canadian shield. Pitcher plants, sphagnum, sedges, cotton grass, blue berries and current bushes make up the understory, which provides for hosts of other wildlife, often seen during these Ox hunts. This region is also home to Barren ground Grizzlies and Caribou, huge Moose, Wolves, Wolverines, Foxes, Eagles, Loons and Ptarmigan.

This is a fair-weather hunt with pleasant early fall hunting conditions. Don’t expect to see any snow, or temperatures much below the freezing mark, except perhaps overnight or as a freak occurrence. Generally, weather is mild, hovering above the freezing mark with frosty mornings that warm up throughout the day. High wind can be prevalent up north, and some sheltered wet areas may still have some insects buzzing around. Some light rain as systems blow through can be expected, but heavy rain is not typical.

Meals & Accommodations

For above the Arctic circle, this is considered 5-star luxury! Enjoy private lakeside cabins with separate bedrooms and three-piece bathrooms heated by wood stove or baseboard heaters. The main lodge is connected by a wraparound wooden walking path complete with a large stone fireplace, recliners and couches, wifi, a full bar and billiards table adjoining a large dining room. The camp store is nearby and has all the local fishing gear, another bar, and gift shop. A great place to grab a beer, hang out and chat with all the guides and hunters about the day.

The meals are fabulous. A chef is hired each season creating incredible gourmet three course meals. Enjoy a full breakfast with all the popular menu items. Bagged and boxed lunches are usually taken in the field for the day, complete with hearty sandwiches, freshly baked goods, fruit & soft drinks. Once back in camp for the day, enjoy cocktail hour with delicious hors d’oeuvres as dinner receives its final touches. With a constantly changing menu of both imported and locally scrounged, you are sure to leave each meal both impressed and satiated.

Key Equipment Suggestions

Due to the all-encompassing nature of this package, these Musk Ox hunts only requires a basic equipment list. A quality layering system, good internal-frame day-pack, 10x binoculars, rangefinder, comfortable trekking waterproof boots, shooting/walking stick, rain gear, sunglasses, some insect repellent and a digital camera cover the essentials.

Pricing 

Hunting: 6 full days – 2×2 guided – x1 Barren Ground Musk Ox – August – September – $20,000

Fishing: 6 full days – 2×1 guided – Lake Trout & Arctic Grayling – August – September – $5000

Included 

  • Round trip airport and hotel pick-up and drop-off services in Yellowknife, NWT
  • All meals and lodge accommodations during the hunt
  • All NWT non-resident Musk Ox licensing and tag
  • All charter flights and transportation during the hunt
  • 2×2 professional guiding with an experienced local guide and meat packers
  • Rifle rental and ammo for the duration of the hunt (if requested)
  • FULL meat preparations; deboning, trimming, packaging, freezing and boxing for home
  • Detailed trophy skull & hide preparations for permitting and taxidermy
  • Fully guided bonus opportunities at trophy Lake Trout and Arctic Grayling at NO COST

Not Included 

  • 5% Government Sales Tax (GST)
  • Travel to the destination city of Yellowknife, NWT
  • Any pre and post hunt meals and hotel accommodations
  • Gratuities to guides and staff
  • Taxidermy, as well as meat & trophy export and shipping
  • NWT Musk Ox Export Permit ($300) purchased at Yellowknife government office on the last day
  • Personal side ventures or tourism or purchases of a personal nature (alcohol, souvenirs etc.)

Additions 

  • Extra hunting days: Not available due to change over logistics
  • Non-hunting observer (includes all fishing): $5000
  • NWT non-resident Fishing license – $25
  • Specialty (Arctic Char) fishing destination fly-outs (once tagged out): $500-1000

Destination City

Hunters are asked to arrive to Yellowknife, NWT, where the outfitter helps arrange corporate rates in an overnight hotel, giving you the evening to enjoy Yellowknife. Bright and early the next day hunters are greeted at the hotel lobby and ushered to charter plane base and flown to the lodge.

Travel Suggestions

Yellowknife is best reached from connections from select Canadian hub airports either in Ottawa (via Air North), or Calgary or Edmonton, (via West Jet and Air Canada which service Yellowknife daily).

Airport Shuttles

Round trip airport and hotel shuttles between the charter plane base are available and already included with every package

Special Info

Passport required for all international travel. Visa’s or Immunizations may be required for certain destinations.