Let the musk ox population expand for our future generations No illegal hunting, no harassing

Muskox on Nelson Island. photo by Jimmie Lincoln

by Janet Bavilla

I am so proud of our area and the fact that I haven’t heard of any illegal hunting for musk ox in the most recent years. I knew that our area could work together and leave them alone so they could start expanding their range.

I have already heard of musk ox going to areas where we haven’t seen them before. There was even one near my village of Platinum. While one is not enough of a population for hunting, I guess I look at the few musk ox who go around like the scouting crew.

While that may not be the case, hoping it’s just a matter of time that more will find their way to other areas and start to have calves and grow the population.

I asked my parents who have lived in our village area for 79 and 85 years if they had ever seen a musk ox in their entire lifetime. My mom’s answer, “I have only seen a musk ox on tv.”

Hopefully, the next generation will be hunting musk ox close to their homes instead of traveling far. That they’ll have another food source besides what is available at this time.

A friend of mine has seen musk ox near Nunapitchuk which is great. They have seen musk ox every year now and are excited as I am that the population seems to be growing and also seems to be expanding their range.

I cannot tell you how happy and excited I was to hear of a musk ox near my area. Hearing of them in other places as well. It was like when people worked together for the moose moratorium.

We still need people to work together and not hunt musk ox illegally, not chase or harass them. I’m hoping when I’m old and grey I will get a chance to hunt a musk ox near my home – though to be honest, I hope it happens before I’m old and grey.

I know of family and friends who would like to be able to hunt for musk ox as well. It would be a story to pass on to the children. We did this for you, let the population expand so you have another meat source near your homes like I have not seen near mine when I was your age.

Janet Bavilla is a resident of Platinum, AK.