Musk oxen can be quite a sight (and smell) to behold, especially during the fall rutting season. During this time, bull musk oxen fight for control of harems by sprinting towards each other and bashing their heads with such force that it can shake the ground from a long distance away.
It’s a wonder how these animals still survive, but it's estimated they’ve been around for 187,000 to 129,000 years. In the 1800s they were extirpated from Alaska, but after they were successfully reintroduced in the 1930s, the populations grew. Currently there are several thousand musk oxen in Alaska, though their populations have been declining in recent years.
It can still take some time to find these animals in the wild, but one of the best places to see them is in Nome, Alaska, where they regularly wander near the small tundra town. Nome is also the famous end point of the Iditarod dogsled race, which you can watch in early-to-mid March.
Make sure to also check out Nome vendors selling qiviut, the delicately soft underwool harvested from captive or even wild muskoxen. This wool is some of the finest and warmest in the world (what would you expect from an arctic animal?), and is even rarer than cashmere.