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Trooper court services officer killed by muskox near Nome

Alaska State Troopers Court Services Officer Curtis Worland was killed Tuesday by a muskox, which attacked him by his home near Nome. CSO Worland was attempting to chase a group of muskox from coming into contact with a dog kennel when one of the muskox attacked him. Worland was declared deceased at the scene.

“Curtis proudly wore the Court Services Officer uniform and honorably served the people of Alaska for 13 years. He was a proud member of the Nome community and a dedicated member of the Alaska law enforcement family,” said Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell. “I hope that Alaskans will keep Curtis’ family, friends, loved ones, and the Alaska State Troopers in your thoughts as we process this tragic loss for our state. He will be sorely missed by the DPS family.” 

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The Alaska State Troopers, in coordination with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Alaska Department of Fish and Game, are investigating the incident.

CSO Worland has served as a Court Services officer since December 2009. He has worked at the Nome State Trooper post his entire career.

It was not the first time Worland had to protect his dogs from muskox. In 2020, a mature bull muskox that got into the dog yard owned by Kamey and Curtis Worland wounded one of the sled dogs. The must broke through a fence of the dog lot, which is close to the Nome-Teller Highway. That attack was discovered by an employee who came to feed the dogs, and found the bull in the dog yard. Troopers moved the dogs to safety and tried to remove the muskox, but it was uncooperative. The muskox became more and more agitated until Troopers found the only way to deal with it was to put it down. It was killed and the meat salvaged by a subsistence permit holder.

In that incident, a female dog was injured and required a medevac to Anchorage, where it underwent lifesaving surgery. Read about that incident at the Nome Nugget.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.
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13 COMMENTS

  1. Very sorry to hear that. My thoughts and prayers to his family and all who knew him.
    .
    Reminder to all of us, wild animals are wild and unpredictable. Be safe out there.

  2. Very sad. Been around musk ox at the large animal farm outside of Fairbanks. The bulls can get to 750 lbs and have some nasty horns. Deadly, if gored. Not unlike a steer. RIP officer.

  3. So sorry to read about this. A horrible way to die. Muskox are dangerous. But if I had been in his place, I would have done the same. You naturally try to protect your dogs. Thank you for your service, Trooper Curtis Worland, and may you rest in peace. And may your family and loved ones be comforted.

    • He didn’t just kill it because F&G and wildlife protection do not recognize dogs as legitimate property to defend by deadly force. I used to live in Nome and I don’t believe anyone has ever killed an Ox in defense of their dogs. That should change now.

      • All true. But as he’s being attacked, why didn’t he try to dispatch the animal? I think that’s the question others are asking. He may not have had time, was unconscious.

      • A State Trooper not being allowed to kill a wild musk ox that is trying to harm his dogs on HIS property? Give me a effing break! Shoot to kill. And send the deadly horns to the F&G department as a bloody present. Send the spent cardridge to them too, and invite them over for some Musk ox stew.

  4. Didn’t know that these animals are so dangerous. God bless the officer for trying to protect the beloved dogs. RIP Officer Worland.

  5. Musk oxen (which are actually much more closely related to goats and sheep) have never actually been domesticated, only sometimes tamed. They are still fundamentally wild animals, and just as dangerous as any other wild animal of similar size and weight.

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