By Mark Heinz, Outdoors Reporter
It’s one animal that Wyomingites don’t have to worry about getting killed by. And usually, no one does in any location.
In an extremely rare attack by an animal not generally known to be aggressive, an Alaska Court Services officer was killed by a musk ox near Nome, according to news reports.
Curtis Worland apparently fired several rounds from a .40 caliber handgun before suffering a lethal goring wound to one of his legs on Tuesday, as reported by KTUU news in Anchorage.
He was the first Court Services officer to ever be killed in the line of duty, KTUU reported, and apparently went down firing his service weapon at a herd of marauding musk ox.
“Worland was armed and in the process of defending his dog yard from a herd of musk oxen when the attack occurred,” the news report says. “Worland was using his snowmachine and a Glock 22 .40 caliber handgun that was discharged several times.”
Worland, a former Alaska state trooper, was found dead by first responders.
Coveted By Trophy Hunters
Musk Ox are an arctic animal native to northern Canada and Alaska. They are also sometimes kept in domestic herds.
They are a popular species among big game adventure hunters. People from across the globe will hire guides and venture into the frozen north for a chance to shoot one. The Boone & Crockett Club (B&C), a premier ethical hunting and conservation organization, recognizes them as a trophy game species.
There is currently a two-way tie for the all-time musk ox record, according to B&C.
They both scored 129 inches – according to official measurements taken at several points along the animals’ horns.
The first was shot by Craig D. Schott in 2002. Hunting celebrity Jim Shockey killed the other in 2006.