YTread Logo
YTread Logo

The Coldest Hunt: Nunivak Island Muskox | S5E11 | MeatEater

Jun 02, 2021
When it comes to chasing the mysterious musk ox on an icy


in the Bering Sea, the real challenge has little to do with


ing. As you may know, what's the cold? You see, mine is dirty. And temperatures can drop massively below zero in weather that can leave you stranded for days on end. This


is much more about survival than shooting, but if you can stay calm and keep your fingers warm, there will be plenty of meat to go around. Steven Ronella, to me, hunting is not just about chasing an animal, it's about who we are and what we are made of.
the coldest hunt nunivak island muskox s5e11 meateater
I live to hunt and I hunt to live. I am a carnivore 40 miles from the mouth of the Yukon River in Alaska, in the Bering Sea, land. Nunavak Island can be almost indistinguishable from the surrounding ocean thanks to thick layers of ice and snow. It is here that I came to hunt the strange, woolly musk ox. The Chupik Eskimo lived in Nunavac for thousands of years. In contact with Europe there were abundant. people living in a dozen or more villages along the


's coasts, but waves of epidemics spread throughout the island after outside contact killed three-quarters of the chupik.
the coldest hunt nunivak island muskox s5e11 meateater

More Interesting Facts About,

the coldest hunt nunivak island muskox s5e11 meateater...

How many people live in the village? 200 around 200. around 200 maybe less than 200 right now because of the winter season oh yes, where were you born, you were born here on the island, yes sir, yes, now the remaining residents, around 200 , living in the island's only village, Macoryuk, the Chupik, live a subsistence lifestyle by driving food through reindeer herding, salmon fishing, berry gathering and hunting. seals and walrus most of the cash on the island comes from commercial halibut harvesting and hunting musk oxen in winter if you had to choose between seals, reindeer and


which should you choose plus walruses?
the coldest hunt nunivak island muskox s5e11 meateater
Yeah, look, whether you like walruses or not, I like runners. Tags are awarded through the Alaska Lottery drawing in a given year, you have less than a 5 percent chance of drawing one, and if you get one, you'll have to hire a chubik transporter or guide James Whitman is mine, works with his close friend and relative assistant guide raymond amos both were born in nunavac and have hunted and fished all their lives we sat down to go over the hunting plan when we take off tomorrow morning our first stop will be on the hill up here it's around five miles from here and then from there we would go down to the next bay.
the coldest hunt nunivak island muskox s5e11 meateater
You have your spyglass from the high points you are looking at for miles or yes, miles, then we will enter the bay and go up to the other valleys and I will stay close to the coast and any other hills or where the point of view is really good with glass. There are specific places where you usually find animals. My favorite place was going west, past Harbin, because there were always a lot of animals there. So what time are we leaving tomorrow morning? Despite the dangerously cold conditions, there are all sorts of interesting things happening here and I want to see as much of village life as possible.
The most urgent thing has to do with the moving arctic and red foxes. to the outskirts of the city after the annual reindeer slaughter, you know you can cut some antlers from here and take them home, oh yes, I have a lot of these things, they are free, this is the place of reindeer slaughter, the herders of the town they take the animals to the ice of this frozen lake and then massacre them with shots to the head the remains are scattered to be claimed at the bottom of the lake after the spring thaw I have this macabre fantasy of diving into this lake and swimming over the chaotic tangle of antlers and bones that must have accumulated there after so many decades of use, is an easy meal for the resident red foxes, as well as the arctic foxes that arrive in winter from the other side of the sea ice, so these foxes they come from the ocean uh yeah they originally come from the mainland and they walk on the ice and they come out of here do you only see them in winter oh yeah only in winter yeah really that's a big red fox oh yeah even They get bigger than this, really, oh yeah, in my high school and college years?
I trapped a fox and sold the pelts at the trade markets, not once did I keep a pelt, man that's a nice box, but now that I'm older and have the luxury, I'm going to save this fox so I can make something beautiful for me. wife a little big for you, huh oh, she's a lot bigger than a Michigan fox. My nephew James cut one that is four meters taller than me from tail to head. Yes, this is not like a normal fox, it is the bigger red trucks in this. In the entire world there is nothing that will eat them here, no, they do not have coyotes or wolves killing them so far this has been an amazing and productive trip as long as this weather continues tomorrow we will have a much larger hunt human activity on Nunavak Island I do not know It is governed by the time of day or the day of the week, it is governed by the weather.
The next morning's forecast stops our plants. Things seem fine here in Macquarie, but the southern half is covered in cloud with white conditions. It's a no day trip we move on to plan b we're going to kill a little time going down they're going to show me how the Eskimos fish through the ice in winter we head to a place so close to the town that I hope we cross the ice and hit a sidewalk, we didn't find any existing holes, so we start from scratch and I use a hole in my beaver mitt before reaching open water.
I guess Wisconsin trapped a beaver is no match for burying sea ice. You're getting dirty. Yeah, that's right, oh, so that's the team for Tom Cotton. This is the kit for Tom cards. Snap-on rotating banana weight. A bit of a leader. Split shot beads and a treble hook. Quickly drop it there. Did you hit rock bottom? Are you kidding. Wow guys, there's a regular Macquarie Alaska cart on Nunevac Island in the Bering Sea, that's fast, this is what Steve's looking for there, he's, oh, fat, hit him on the head, I've got the two big ones, Steve , there you have it, if I lived here.
I wouldn't do anything I'd always be down here my wife would divorce me I'd just be out here this is my new favorite activity I still want the fish to stop hitting but I think they'll move on You're going to have to strap me on that snow machine and drag me out of here . You know I can't, it's like I can't stay away from a hot hole, so tell me what all those fish are for. We will cook them and boil them very well with seal oil and pepper or we will freeze them and eat them frozen with seal oil and another thing we do with them also during the summer if we have them is dry them like this.
You cut them and the ladies will braid the gills here and dry them. This is how you dry them to keep them all together. Yeah, do you think we can find some steel oil to dip the frozen fish in? We have some sealant, okay? I would love to try it, you say it's an acquired taste, eh, well I'm going to acquire it right now, don't eat too much because it will make you nauseous every now and then you see a hunter or fisherman cleaning something and just know that hundreds of times have done it. Sometimes something about the fluidity and knowledge of your emotions is like poetry written with a knife and I'm looking at it here it's not like anything I've ever eaten in my entire life and the meat tastes like It's sweet, right mm-hmm, I think It's the combination between the two, the seal oil and the fish, that makes it, yeah, like that, no, I could get used to that, it makes the meat taste sweet, yeah, there's nothing like that, I mean .
I've eaten all kinds of things, I've never tried anything like it. James explains to me that his ancestors would starve if they ate nothing but Tom Cobb, even if they had everything they could eat, but Tom Cotton's seal oil keeps you alive. I reflect on the synergy of those two elements and it makes me think about my own relationship with fishing. I love to fish and I love to eat fish, but it alone is not enough. There has to be some mammal in the mix. A little hunting. And tomorrow that's what happens. This is going to happen lord heavenly father we thank you for everything you have done for us and also for bringing us back safely without any problem in the name of Jesus I pray you amen amen okay let's do it Today, the weather is on our side, we finally can.
Arriving on the tundra being new to the land and new to these animals, I have no real idea what to expect, but I get the impression that when James and Raymond get a window with the right weather, they leave home with little doubt that they will be Iran. coming back with a


is dangerous here and they don't seem to enjoy the idea of ​​wasting time in these conditions with nothing to show for it, guys you live on a cold looking island. The


month is February and then March is Generally it is the stormy month, when the ice comes out, best part of April, yes, but it seems that this year it will be early because it is not completely frozen, when do the whales start arriving, the seals and stuff as soon as it breaks once we arrive?
We're on land, I'm beginning to understand James and Raymond's arrogance about getting the bowl nowadays, with the open expanses lacking any kind of thick vegetation or timber or deep canyons, finding the animals seems a matter of simply cover many success rates on the ground. This hunting is high because as long as you can wait for the right weather you will have a good chance of finding an animal and no one with the dedication to come here does it with a limited time and in a short time, we will surely find it. some there's four there's a muskox over there a few miles it's hard to tell from here what they are they're too far away they should go with a big guy two big yeah so I guess you can come I guess we'll know well maybe hidden a little in my oak, okay, okay, now let's just hope they're bowls for us, that's a bull with all kinds of women with him, oh I see, yeah, three cows in a bowl, yeah, once you get close , it's pretty easy to say. yeah it's a nice ripe bowl it looks very symmetrical oh it's clear no wonder shooting a muskox isn't as easy as you might think man grouping up is the best defense yeah I do its only defense real is snuggling together in a tight place. group that works well against their traditional predators, wolves, but it is easy to see how indiscriminate hunting with firearms would lead to near extinction. 150 years ago today there are very strict regulations on hunting musk ox, which means I have to take extra care to make sure I have a clear Shot only on the boat, but honestly, it's as much a harvest as it is a hunt.
The chase is a prolonged series of stops and starts that lasts a good 40 minutes as I continually have to get into position and then finally wait for an opportunity. Just as I start to think this is never going to work, a narrow opening presents itself, my shot knocks the bull down hard, but then he gets up and curls up between the cows as if nothing had happened even though I studied the anatomy for this. of these strange, woolly creatures is difficult to read this time with clear lungs as I walk. Honestly, I'm a little impressed by the size and beauty of this creature.
What an animal I feel like I'm looking at something unexpectedly thrust into my world from some far away unknown place congratulations this is a pineapple that's a big bowl yeah holy smokes how old is a bowl like that? I'd say probably eight eight year olds between them had three chicks here's the bullet hole yeah a little bit ahead you're trying to get away from those other animals yeah I think you're subconsciously moving from where you're supposed to be nice and clean, I like it, let me see that Raymond thing I like, I caught a big old one right there. hatch there, huh, I've seen a lot of people gut a lot of things, but I've never seen it like that before.
I like that he has an attractive heart. Last capture, there you have it after a long cold day. What could be better than? a stew with lots of fresh dead meat hearty vegetables like carrots, onions and potatoes a good broth is just what you dream of eating while the wind freezes your lungs and numbs your fingers very good that looks good my first muskox thank you raym oh , it's very good. It's a meat with a very different flavor, like the texture, not the flavor, the texture, the flavor is very good, but the texture is like I said, it's like a type of dense meat, you know, man, that It's good, you only know that a handful of times in my life.
I have been on a guided hunt before, but it has been great with you because you have taken the time to explain the process and have put up with all my questions about the life of the Chupik, the deep history they have, it has been very educational for me come here. And seeing how you live, what makes me very happy is that you share the meat, the more you share, the more blessings fall upon you. Well, thanks Raymond. I'm going to do this same thing for my kids. They would love it.

If you have any copyright issue, please Contact