Special hunt opens for two musk ox stranded on island off of Nunivak coast

(Jim Dau / Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

special hunt has opened for two muskoxen stranded on a barren island. The unnamed island is located less than a mile south of Nunivak Island.

Boaters from Mekoryuk spotted the animals on March 18. In a cell phone photo, at least one of the muskox appears to be a mature bull.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game opened a special hunt for the muskox because their chances of survival on the unnamed island are low. The special hunt opened March 21 and lasts through June 30. Permits will be issued to Alaska resident hunters via phone from the Bethel Fish and Game office. Tag fees are waived for this hunt, and one muskox may be harvested per person. 

The small island where the two animals are located is approximately 15 acres in size and has no freshwater source and little vegetation. Many similar islands surround the much larger Nunivak Island, where a thriving muskox herd lives. Occasionally, the animals hitch a ride on an ice floe or walk across the sea ice to one of these nearby islands. When the ice recedes, they find themselves stranded.