The secret is in the approach. Running and swearing is not the answer. The creature will not be kowtowed either; therefore surprise is the prudent option. Wait till dusk, but be advised, the task will be easiest on a night when the moon is in fierce glory. Wear a thick brown robe that reaches your feet. Approach from the back left quadrant. This is important because the creatures have a congenital frailty in the left ear, which leads to a slight loss of hearing. It is better to wear socks than shoes so as not to create unnecessary reverberations on the earth’s surface. Carry an axe. Bullets cannot penetrate the thick hide of the musk ox so it is not advised to use a gun. Also, the sound of the gun will inevitably cause a stampede, which will lead to your death, likely. Make sure you are choosing a medium-sized ox. A smaller ox will not satiate your appetite during the coldest months, while a much larger ox will prove difficult to slaughter. Expect a struggle. As you approach, it is usually a good idea to hire a flutist to stand 400 yards away. As the flutist plays, it will create an atmospheric distraction because the musk ox is typically attuned to very high whistle-like sounds. When you are within five feet of the musk ox you may or may not smell a strange odor. It is the musk of the ox. Ignore this. It will be unpleasant and pungent but if you breathe or cough the ox will likely spook. Raise the blade high overhead and strike down on the left side of the belly two/thirds of the way across the torso. The animal may or may not react to this strike. Sometimes the ox will lose feeling in its stomach region. This is typically when the creature is either pregnant or in the process of digesting a large quantity of grass. Your axe will now be caught in the hide of the ox. Use this to vault yourself on the back. Hold on tightly. Oxen may buck. Once on the back of the creature, retrieve your axe handle and slice off its nose while gripping the mane with one hand. You are nearly finished. The musk ox will have stopped fighting at this point, mesmerized by the stream of blood coming from its face. Watch the blood flow onto the ice below. Now is a fine time to silence the flutist, but first, savor this moment. Flatten yourself against the body of the musk ox, tucking your head into the robe. Be still as life flees from the ox. It will take approximately nine hours for the ox to bleed out. During this time you will remain on the ox’s back as the creature sinks slowly to the ground. When the sun rises step off your deflated musk ox. It will take roughly two hours to cut up the beast. Place the meat in a series of plastic sandwich bags. Work with haste or else you will be picked off by a sky bird. Once the meat is detached from the body, break off a single tusk. Take a bone saw and drill a small hole through the base. Thread a piece of leather through the hole and wear it about your neck. Congratulations. You’ve earned it. Now enjoy your winter’s worth of meat. She is delicious.
March 15, 2011