71° NORTH – A GREENLAND HUNTING ADVENTURE

A trio of hunters tackle their tundra trophies in the desolate wilds of Greenland. Browning, Outdoor Life and Leupold team up for a wild safari hunting musk ox and caribou.

Some people will go to the ends of the earth for an epic hunting experience.

For filmmaker Luke Renard, Browning’s Rafe Nielsen, Outdoor Life writer Andrew McKean and Leupold’s Shane Meisel it was a demanding journey to the far reaches of Greenland for an epic hunt for native caribou and musk ox.

Renard, Nielsen, McKean and Meisel stand under a directional sign at the airport.

The Greenlandic town of Narsarsuaq.

Headed to base camp.

Browning's own Rafe Nielsen, Shane Meisel of Leupold optics and Andrew McKean of Outdoor Life began their hunt for musk ox among the local herds with guide Frank Feldmann of Greenland Outfitters . “Native Inuits call musk oxen ‘the bearded ones,’ and while they look like modern mastodons, they’re more closely related to wild sheep and goats than to cattle, or to mammoths,” observed McKean. “The herds we hunt are transplants, brought to southern Greenland from the northern part of the island 40 years ago to provide meat for local Inuit villagers.”

The trio, along with local guide Frank Feldmann, accessed some prime hunting ground via a large rigid-hull inflatable boat.

The hunters head off in search of musk oxen.

Native Inuits call musk oxen "the bearded ones."

Stalking among the ridges and valleys of the coast, Feldmann put each of hunters in shooting position and in short order all three filled their musk ox tags.


“Feldmann, a native Dane who had guided hunts in Lapland for decades, recognized that Greenland’s musk oxen could also sustain a sport-hunting economy, and gained permission from the provincial government to guide international hunters...,” McKean related.

“If you imagine Greenland, as I did, as one continental-­size sheet of ice, you’re not far off,”  McKean begins. “Something like 90 percent of it is covered by an ice cap a thousand feet thick…Where the ice meets the edge of the island, towering glacial headwalls calve icebergs into the bays… some as big as Kentucky courthouses.”

Virtually all human settlements and most hunting takes place along a narrow band of ice-free coast, sandwiched between the frigid waters of the North Atlantic and the barren ice of the interior. Hence most of the transportation is by boat.

“Because southern Greenland’s caribou are nonmigratory, finding a herd is the second-hardest part of hunting them,” explains McKean. “It’s like wild-sheep hunting, Feldmann says. You must cover miles of similar-looking rocks and hanging valleys before finding a herd, and then you must solve the hardest part: figuring out how to get into rifle range in an open, featureless landscape with vegetation no taller than a coffee can.”

“We’re either lucky or good because in our first prospecting hike, we find a herd,” McKean recalls. “The caribou are 3 miles up a gorgeous valley full of musk oxen, and cheerful waterfalls.”

Again, in short order all three hunters are in shooting position and each takes a worthy trophy from the herd.

“As we break down each of our three caribou…we pluck blueberries from the low-slung bushes and fill our canteens with water from the sluicing stream nearby,” McKean recounts. “We lash the capes and antlers onto our packs and turn toward the coast, a couple of miles down the valley. We can just see Feldmann’s boat, which will take us to his warm cabin perched on a cold rock in a lonely bay.”

Shane Meisel, Andrew McKean and Rafe Nielsen pack their trophies back to base camp.

Greenland is a most unforgiving environment for game, guns and gear, and there is little or no room for failure. Each of the three hunters carried a Browning X-Bolt Pro rifle in 300 WSM, loaded with Browning BXC 185-grain big game ammo.

Each rifle was topped with a 3-15x44mm Leupold VX-5HD scope and each hunter carried Leupold’s excellent 10x42mm RBX-3000 HD range finding binos for game glassing, ranging and shot spotting.

Guide with McKean, Nielsen and Meisel resting on their way back to base camp.

McKean’s colorful account of the hunt, titled “The First Frontier,” is featured in the Winter 2020 issue of Outdoor Life magazine. During the hunt, outdoor film-maker Luke Renard has also created a dramatic and magnificently photographed film of the trio’s Greenland exploits entitled “71 Degrees North.”

You can read the entire Outdoor Life article by Andrew McKean and see Luke Renard’s beautiful film online at

https://www.outdoorlife.com/story/hunting/greenland-musk-ox-and-caribou-hunting/


Greenland is a "constituent country" of the Kingdom of Denmark. This amazing hunt was conducted following all rules, laws, and regulations for hunting and transporting firearms in Greenland.

The hunt was conducted by Greenland Outfitters. https://www.greenlandoutfitters.com/  The Musk Ox and a portion of the Caribou in the area were brought to southwestern Greenland many decades ago for the hunting and benefit of the native peoples. Today, hunting by outsiders is accepted and greatly encouraged for its value to the local economies.  

Importantly, all meat was transported from the field. After some delicious camp meals, and as is customary for hunting in much of Greenland, the meat was transported and provided to people living nearby as part of the local tradition. 

The harvested meat was transported and provided to people living nearby as part of the local tradition.


Original article copyright Outdoor Life 2020. All photos are copyright Luke Renard, Outdoor Life or Browning and/or are used with attribution or permission or are in the public domain. Review written by Browning staff writer Scott Engen. Copyright Browning 2020.