Muskox in the NWT
||The muskox (Ovibos moschatus) is covered all over, except for the horns, hooves, lips and nose, with an under layer of short fine wool of exceptional warmth. A much longer outer coat of shaggy hair about a half meter long covers the animal, often hanging nearly to the ground, giving the muskox its characteristic appearance. Rounded hooves with sharp rims provide traction on ice and rocky surfaces. Muskox are gregarious animals and live in loosely organized herds of about 15 animals but sometimes larger.
The coat is generally dark brown or nearly black. The shoulders are extremely shaggy and forms a distinct mane, especially noticeable on bulls. Behind the shoulders is a short white or creamy yellow "saddle". The lower legs have light brown to white "stockings". The muskox's inner wool or "qiviut" is of exceptional quality, having the weight and warmth of cashmere.
About 90,000 years ago when the Bering Straits were dry land, muskoxen crossed into North America from Siberia. When the last glacier covered North America, muskoxen survived in ice-free areas or "glacial refugia" in the northern arctic islands and Greenland. As the ice retreated, they spread throughout northern Canada and Greenland, then westward into Alaska.
Today muskoxen in the NWT are found on Banks, Eglinton, Melville and Victoria Islands, and on the mainland from the Arctic coast southwest to Artillery Lake.
Currently in the NWT, muskox are managed by controlling the hunting season for resident and non-resident hunters. Muskoxen are harvested under quota on three areas on the Arctic islands (Melville Island I/MX/01, Banks Island I/MX/02, and northwest Victoria Island I/MX/03) and four areas on the mainland (I/MX/05, I/MX/06, S/MX/01, and U/MX/01). On Melville, Banks and northwest Victoria island the hunting season is open from 15 August to 31 March for resident and non resident hunters.
Hunting season for muskox on Banks Island is open from 15 August to 30 April.
Updated: November 7, 2012