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Muskox Hunting in the Pandemic (Greenland)
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Muskox Hunting in the Pandemic



This trip report is probably as much about traveling in the Pandemic as it is about actually muskox hunting. The Pandemic had a significant effect on the travel and the degree to which I could “relax” in camp. Also, this trip report is light on photos, as it was just too cold to keep fishing out the camera!
Trip report – Muskox hunting in Greenland, near Kangerlussuaq. On the side – hunting for Arctic hare, Arctic fox, and ptarmigan; ice fishing for cod.


Booking Agent: Sam Farrow, who posts here as Hunt Inter. Sam had previously arranged roe buck and muntjac stalking for me in England. He posted this hunt here as a “special”.

Guides: Carl-Jørgen Enoksen and Stephen Diegidio.
Dates: March 13-16, 2020. Originally planned to leave Greenland on the 17th, but travel chaos due to the Pandemic made me decide to leave a day earlier.

Location: Near Kangerlussuaq. We stayed in a cabin about 15 minutes’ drive from the airport; the muskox hunting was about 2 hours away by snowmobile.

Rifle: I borrowed a Tikka 308 for the Muskox, and a .22LR and a .22WMR for the Arctic hare.

Original Ad: http://forums.accuratereloadin...2100588/m/6261049452

Having flown over Greenland many times, and having looked down from seven miles high a number of times, Greenland has been on my bucket list of places to visit. And when Sam posted his ad, I decided to inquire if the dates would work out to go right before a meeting scheduled in Germany for March 19-20. It turned out that I could return from Greenland to Copenhagen late on the 17th, giving me a day to get to Germany. So in late October of 2019, I decided to go. I also planned to do some work in Lund, Sweden (30-minutes by train from the Copenhagen airport) beforehand and booked flights leaving the US for Monday, March 9.

In the days leading up to my trip, COVID-19 had gotten out of control in China, and was starting to have a significant effect on Italy – 7400 cases on March 8. By the time I left, there were more cases cropping up in Sweden (200 on March 8) and Denmark (35 cases on March 8). Germany was worse (1000 cases) but it seemed most of them were in the south. In any case, I was not going to let that stop me! Probably brave or foolish, depending on your perspective.

About the time I arrived in Lund, my employer (a large state university) instituted an international travel ban, but since I was already gone, there wasn’t too much I could do. I looked carefully, and didn’t see any statement compelling me to come home. In fact, I didn’t hear from my employer until Friday the 13th, at which time I was already in Greenland, when they asked me to come home “at the earliest possible occasion.”

On Wednesday night the 11th, the meeting in Germany was cancelled, as many of the participants had employers that revoked permission to travel. So that night I also changed my travel to come back from Copenhagen on the 19th, allowing an extra day in case there were any problems getting back on Air Greenland.

I awoke on Thursday the 12th to find that Trump had “banned” travel from the Schengen region (where I was in Sweden at the time) and was closing the borders to the Schengen region at midnight on the 13th. I seriously thought about coming straight home, but I could not reach American Airlines all day on the 13th. I was on hold for an hour when the call was dropped. The second time I tried, they promised I would not lose my place in line if I chose the option that they would call me back. They never did, so… I decided I would go to Greenland anyways. There seemed no point to sitting in Copenhagen hoping I could get a flight out.

When I arrived in Kangerlussuaq, I met another hunter from Pennsylvania (Jesse) that had previously hunted with Carl and was back. Jesse has hunted all over the world, so had a lot of interesting stories.

The first day, after settling in, Carl took Jesse out muskox hunting, while Stephen and I went ice fishing and hare hunting. Living in Oklahoma, I haven’t had too many opportunities for ice fishing, but on both previous outings in Sweden, I caught exactly zero fish. So I had low expectations. Kangerlussuaq is at the end of a fjord, and we drove out on the fjord in a Landcruiser. We fished through about a meter/yard of ice in saltwater. We drilled a hole, tried it for 10 minutes or so, then moved and drilled another hole. Five holes were drilled, tried, and given up on. On the sixth hole, after we drilled it and I let down the line, Stephen said that this was quite deep and would likely be a good spot. Sure enough, in about a half hour, I had five Greenlandic and Atlantic cod on the ice. Nice to have finally caught something ice fishing!





We then took an ATV out about 30 minutes from the cabin and walked some hillsides looking for Arctic hare. We saw lots of tracks, but no hares. After a few hours tramping around through foot-deep snow, we gave up and returned to the cabin. When we were about 200 yards from the cabin, we spotted a hare, but we didn’t pursue it. Later, hunting with Carl, I shot an Arctic hare, and had the opportunity to shoot more, though I didn’t see a good reason to do so.



View from a hillside while out hunting hare


Elmer Fudd gets his wabbit!

The cabin is heated continuously with fuel-oil; electricity is provided intermittently with a generator.


The cabin.


Me, behind Carl, getting ready to leave for some muskox hunting. (Photo courtesy of Stephen)

The next day, it was my turn to go out muskox hunting. We traveled about two hours by snowmobile and started looking around. Carl spotted a herd of about 20 that I think he had seen the day before. They were on a large flat plain, eating vegetation below the foot of snow. We watched them through binoculars for awhile, then got back on the snowmobile and took a long way around to some higher ground. We than snuck down as close as we could get, which was still a long way off. Carl estimated it at 500 m. We watched for a few minutes before Carl urged me to shoot the one with the light-colored boss. I won’t regal the reader with tales of my outstanding shooting, but I did with (too many) multiple shots succeed.

Under warmer circumstances, I would have taken some photos of the herd and our vantage point… but it was just too cold to fish out the camera!

That evening, we ate muskox and continued listening to the news, and Carl made some contacts to ascertain the situation getting back to Denmark. Greenland is a territory of Denmark, but it wasn’t immediately clear if the border closing applied to Greenland. My wife sent me some news stories about travel, including accounts of people waiting 5 hours in a packed line to get their “health screening”.

The next morning, we went to the airport, but they couldn’t change my ticket, and suggested that I come back Monday morning. We had a good meal that evening with a variety of Greenlandic foods, including narwhal blubber. The fat was OK, but the skin was awfully hard to chew.



Some Greenlandic foods; top-to-bottom: dried fish, caribou jerky, narwhal blubber

Later that evening, we had a fantastic show of the Aurora Borealis, though I left my good camera at home, so don’t have any great shots to show.

Then, the next morning, I packed up, and went back to the airport. They couldn’t change my ticket at the airport, either, but let me use their phone to contact their customer support center. After holding for 20 minutes, I got through, and was able to change my ticket for $300. That seemed a bit steep, given that they had already told me there were 275 open seats on the plane! But I paid it, and flew back to Copenhagen. That night, I was able to get right through to American Airlines, and they changed my flight to go back Tuesday instead of Thursday. They could not change it to Wednesday, because the BA flight from Copenhagen to London was canceled.

So, I came home Tuesday, and everything was smooth – the Copenhagen airport was nearly empty; the flight to London was nearly empty; Heathrow was very quiet; the flight to Dallas was a little more crowded, smooth and on time; the health screening took maybe 10 minutes. I was told there to self-quarantine for 14 days. The only hitch was the last flight, to Oklahoma – it took off, but a large thunderstorm prevented landing, so we flew back to Dallas, stayed overnight, and I got back mid-day on Wednesday.

So, the trip to Greenland, was great, but not exactly a restful break from reality! For one thing, it was between -40°C and -30°C (-40°F and -22°F) the whole time I was there, and, secondly, we had to keep listening to the news, hoping that Greenland wasn’t going to close its borders. So, the Pandemic took its toll on the trip enjoyment, even though, in the end, it amounted to a minor inconvenience.
To answer dogcat’s question: would I go again? Yes, to Greenland, to hunt with Carl for caribou. I doubt at this point I would go back to hunt muskox in March again, having done it once. I think it’s probably one of those experiences for me where once is enough. But who knows? Maybe I’ll change my mind.

Regarding the travel experiences during the Pandemic- the worst part was the uncertainty and the run for the exits when first Trump, then Denmark, closed their borders. That created a situation where American Airlines could not keep up with the phone queries. However, the fact that I didn’t get through on Thursday may have been a blessing in disguise, as it allowed me to go to Greenland with a “clear conscience”- I tried to see if I could get home sooner, but couldn’t get through. My other interactions with American Airlines, changing my flight twice, were both very good. They were very helpful both times.

Air Greenland is not quite so well organized, and I thought the $300 was a bit high, given the circumstances, but on the grand scale of things, it wasn’t that much. Their flight actually used a rental plane, which was an older Airbus-330 with no amenities, but it was reasonably comfortable and I had enough room to work both ways.

Written on Day 4 or my 14-day self quarantine!


Ex-USAF installation: Satellite tracking? Distant early warning?


Aurora Borealis, last night. (Photo courtesy of Stephen)


A caribou calf, near the cabin.


Getting ready to go

 
Posts: 403 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the report. Glad you were able to hunt and make it home. These hunts always intrigue me but the -40 stuff keeps me from pulling the trigger.


DRSS
 
Posts: 601 | Location: OK USA | Registered: 07 June 2009Reply With Quote
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Love it! I'm a cold weather freak so this has been on my bucket list for a while. Congrats and glad you were able to get it done. On another note, I would imagine a place like Greenland has a highly vested interest in keeping this rotten virus offshore going forward.
 
Posts: 2717 | Location: NH | Registered: 03 February 2009Reply With Quote
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Hannay,

Great read, thanks for posting. I've got this booked for next spring with Sam. Shockingly, my wife is more excited than me, and she hates the cold.

Nice animal you took.

Jeremy
 
Posts: 1386 | Location: Indiana | Registered: 28 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Congratulations for the great experience, a bit different of mine: I went there hunting muskox and reindeer in summer. However is a wonderful place to visit. You were also very lucky to get home in this terrible situation.


mario
 
Posts: 1415 | Location: northern italy | Registered: 01 June 2002Reply With Quote
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Great report. Interesting times to try and be an adventurer! I hunted that area in August... a world of difference! Looks like a nice trophy, well done!


On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of ten thousand, who on the dawn of victory lay down their weary heads resting, and there resting, died.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch...
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
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Life grows grim without senseless indulgence.
 
Posts: 6916 | Location: Victoria, Texas | Registered: 30 March 2003Reply With Quote
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Great report and certainly looks like a fantastic trip! Thanks for posting. This may be one of the very last hunt reports (as far as traveling hunts) that we get for quite some time.
 
Posts: 187 | Registered: 04 February 2012Reply With Quote
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Wow great report & saves me doing one I think, as I was the hunter just before you & all the pics would be the same !

Sure was a fun & different place !
 
Posts: 317 | Location: New Zealand - Australia - South Africa | Registered: 14 October 2007Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Overland:
Great report and certainly looks like a fantastic trip! Thanks for posting. This may be one of the very last hunt reports (as far as traveling hunts) that we get for quite some time.


Regarding giving one of the last traveling hunt reports for the time being - I'm afraid that may be the case. Here's to hoping we can start traveling again soon!

And I'm sure there are quite a few forum members that had procrastinated on writing up an early hunt. I'm sure those reports would be especially welcome in the coming weeks!
 
Posts: 403 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Sarg:
Wow great report & saves me doing one I think, as I was the hunter just before you & all the pics would be the same !

Sure was a fun & different place !


Sarg - If you're the hunter who also took ptarmigan and a caribou, and got the "Greenland MacNab" ... I'd like to hear more about those parts, for sure!
 
Posts: 403 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Norton:
Love it! I'm a cold weather freak so this has been on my bucket list for a while. Congrats and glad you were able to get it done. On another note, I would imagine a place like Greenland has a highly vested interest in keeping this rotten virus offshore going forward.


Indeed, I think they were hoping to keep it offshore, but the first case was reported right after I left. On my flight out to Greenland from Copenhagen, it was pretty full (300 passengers?), and had what looked like a high school class trip returning from Denmark. So I'm afraid they are not isolated enough to have avoided the virus.
 
Posts: 403 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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Great trip and photos. Glad you made the adventure.

Great price!

How was the Narwhal?


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Posts: 732 | Location: Idaho/Wyoming/South Dakota | Registered: 08 February 2006Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by dukxdog:
Great trip and photos. Glad you made the adventure.

Great price!

How was the Narwhal?


Good question - I don't know anyone else who has eaten Narwhal besides the four people in the cabin! It was interesting to eat. It's raw. I had no problem eating the fat, but I chewed and chewed and chewed on the skin and couldn't break it down. It's like chewing a 3/8" thick piece of leather! So, I gave up on swallowing it.
Smiler
 
Posts: 403 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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Posts: 8958 | Location: Denver - Go Rockies!! | Registered: 12 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Looks like you had quite the adventure. Beautiful winter coat on your Muskox.
If I had to be stuck somewhere in the world while traveling, I would pick Greenland above all other places.

I hunted with Karl in September 2019. He is an incredible host and did his level best to make everyone in camp as happy as they could be. I spent a good bit of my hunting time with Karl’s brother Gerth. Even though there was a language gap, we were able to communicate well. Gerth’s enthusiasm, good nature and sense of humor made hunting with him a pleasure. I was lucky enough to kill a very nice Caribou on the first day and a beautiful Muskox on the last day. Jesse was in camp with us when I was there and got his Caribou but luck wasn’t with him on muskox. Did Jesse get his muskox this time around?

Beyond the hunt itself, I came away from the experience making a good friend of a fellow AR member Jason, whom I had never met until we were in camp together. Hopefully once this Kung Flu thing passes over there will be more time spent in hunting camps together.


All We Know Is All We Are
 
Posts: 994 | Location: E Central MO | Registered: 13 January 2014Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by TREE 'EM:
Jesse was in camp with us when I was there and got his Caribou but luck wasn’t with him on muskox. Did Jesse get his muskox this time around?


Thanks. Yes, Jesse got his muskox the first day.
 
Posts: 403 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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.

Just saw this now! Congratulations on the ox, the hare and the fishing! 100 % on my bucket list!

Thanks for posting and writing up the report.
A great read and glad you got home safe!

Cheers

Charlie

.


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1491 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Congrats that Narwhal looks tasty.


Golf is for people that don't know how to Hunt and Fish.
The Al-Bino Vest

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Posts: 2190 | Location: East Wenatchee | Registered: 18 August 2008Reply With Quote
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I think I will have to try this some day...

But I like the warmer weather of Africa!
 
Posts: 5671 | Location: Minnesota USA | Registered: 15 June 2007Reply With Quote
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Have this same trip booked with Sam Farrow for September with two other friends. This report made my day


diego
 
Posts: 578 | Location: madrid spain | Registered: 31 October 2007Reply With Quote
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Great report. We hunted with Karl last summer.


I hunt, not to kill, but in order not to have played golf....

DRSS
 
Posts: 803 | Location: LA | Registered: 28 May 2002Reply With Quote
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