State wildlife officials have closed a subsistence musk ox hunt near Kotzebue because of evidence of wanton waste of the animals. Area biologists say five cow musk oxen from the Cape Thompson herd were killed sometime during January or February of this year.
According to Jim Dau a biologist with the state office in Kotzebue, wildlife officials were tipped off to the killings when two musk oxen bodies were spotted by census takers last month.
On further investigation, Wildlife Troopers found 5 more cow moose bodies that had apparently been shot, and left unsalvaged.
Dau says the illegal harvests exceeded the harvest quota for the unit. The hunt was scheduled to open July 1. The closure does not affect a similar musk ox hunt on the Seward Peninsula.