The galvanized grain bins out on the tundra don’t store soybeans or corn. They’re bunkhouses, meant to keep polar and grizzly bears from fussing with caribou and musk-ox hunters. The best hunting for both species is from the 60th parallel north to the Arctic Circle in both the Northwest Territories and the Nunavut district. The window for caribou hunting is short-about three weeks starting in mid-August. Musk-ox hunting is best in late August by boat and again in March for snowmobile and dog-sled hunters.
The established outfitters operate from fly-in lakes along the caribou migration routes. Some, such as High Arctic Lodge on Victoria Island in the Nunavut region, also offer island caribou hunting. Surprisingly, the featureless Arctic tundra teems with wildlife-from wolves and arctic foxes to arctic hares and ptarmigan.
Musk oxen on Victoria Island number about 50,000. Hunters generally tag out in the first two days, says High Arctic’s Fred Hamilton (800-661-3880, www.high arctic.com). That leaves time for three days of lake trout and arctic char fishing at the scores of lakes within float-plane distance of the lodge. Hamilton’s 2004 rate for a 4- or 5-day hunt starts at around $5,300 (U.S.).