The Musk Ox Code of Conduct

Although musk oxen may seem both unafraid and tame when you see them, they have an unusual defense strategy. Unlike other animals that run away when threatened, musk oxen do not try to flee if they sense danger. They attack. Therefore, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Musk Ox Code of Conduct before visiting them.
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Dovrefjell nasjonalparkstyre
Hjerkinnhusvegen 33
2661 Hjerkinn, Norway
E: fmopdovrefjell@fylkesmannen.no

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Photo: Ole Thøring

1. Keep a proper distance

200 meters is a safe distance from musk oxen. A fully grown musk ox can weigh 450 kilos and can run 60 km an hour. You can’t, so it is a good idea to observe this safe distance.
 

2. Keep a general view of the situation

As you approach musk oxen, count the number of animals in the herd so you have a general view of the entire herd. Then you won’t be surprised by a full-grown musk ox that you failed to notice.
 

3. Indicate where you are walking

Musk oxen hate surprises, so playing hide and seek with them is not a good idea. Clearly indicate to the musk oxen where you are and never try sneaking up on them.
 

4. Stay alert

Stay alert to the signals being sent by the musk oxen. As long as the animals know you are there and as long as you behave normally and keep the recommended safe distance, you can take your time.
 

5. There is no shame in turning back

If a musk ox looks annoyed (paws the ground, throws its head back, snorts or starts quarrelling with other musk oxen), it’s time cut short your visit. Calmly return the same way you came in.
 

6. Bring the necessary gear and equipment

To have a good experience, you should wear sturdy shoes and pack warm clothes and sufficient food and fluids. You should also bring binoculars so you can study the musk oxen up close, even if you keep a safe distance.
 

7. Be prepared for stormy and cold weather

Mountain weather can be unpredictable, even in midsummer. Check the weather forecast before setting out on a hike and be prepared to turn back.
 

8. Enjoy the experience

Take your time in the mountains. Relax, enjoy yourself and soak in the scenic impressions.

Moskus in Dovrefjell. Photo: Ole Thøring
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