Hunt opened for two stranded muskoxen on island near Nunivak

Muskox on Nelson Island. photo by Jimmie Lincoln

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has opened registration for a resident permit hunt for muskoxen stranded on unnamed islands south of Nunivak Island in Unit 18. The opening is by Emergency Order by the ADFG and is from May 21, 2020 to June 30, 2020.

Reports of two muskox stranded on an unnamed island located to the south of Nunivak Island, approximately 15 acres in size located less than a mile south of Nunivak Island, were received on May 18, 2020.

There are no sources of fresh water and forage is limited on the island. Long term survival of these muskox is unlikely. Non-lethal removal is impractical due to cost. Muskox on Nunivak were above their population objective at the time of the last population survey in June 2019 and harvesting any stranded animals through a permit hunt is the most prudent course of action due to current COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Muskoxen are occasionally stranded on islands with inadequate food and water resources for survival and the Alaska Board of Game has addressed this situation through regulation 5 AAC 92.046, which allows the Department to open a special season by emergency order, waive tag fees, and issue permits to take stranded muskoxen.

The unnamed island where the two muskox are stranded is located to the south of Nunivak Island, located 6.1 miles east of Ingriruk Hill and south of the Oongalambingoi dunes at 59.866˚ N, 165.870˚ W in GMU 18.

Permits for these muskox will be issued to resident hunters by the Department in Bethel via phone. Fees are waived for this hunt and one muskox may be harvested per person.