|Your Inuit Hunting Guide
4,000 years of experience ...
Up before dawn & ready
to hunt at daybreak...
That may be the usual
procedure in a hunt camp, but in
Canada’s far north it is the exception,
not the rule.
Unless the hunter understands the reasons
behind this approach, it can cause some
dissatisfaction in camp and cast some doubt
on the guide’s dedication. Inuit are experts
in their field. They have to be as they are
one of the few peoples left in the world
that still live largely “off the land”-and
in harmony with it.
In the Arctic, weather is man’s worst enemy.
A sudden blizzard or ice fog on the ice can
limit vision to only a few feet. Lost on the
frozen ice pack is not the place where
anyone-including the Inuit- wants to be.
Similarly, oncoming strong winds can make
boat travel impossible resulting in an
uncomfortable stay on the rocks. Couple this
with fluctuating tides in excess of 25 feet
in some areas and the fact that a long range
weather forecast in the Arctic might just be
the next 3 hours and you will quickly
appreciate the fact that your guide wants to
know, to the best of his ability, what the
day will bring before heading out.
While it may look to you that your guide is
dragging his feet loading the boat or
drinking one too many cups of tea, before
starting out, the exact opposite is probably
true. Your guide knows that it will be at
least another hour before the rising tide
brings enough water over the rocks. He also
knows that by noon the west wind that was
blowing early this morning will either swing
to the south and settle down, or suddenly
shift into high gear from the north bringing
fury with it-and he wants to know which
before heading out on the water or ice for
the day. How does he know? Experience. He
has probably been caught by surprise before
and the last thing he wants to do is repeat
the exercise-especially with a hunter in
tow. In his mind, everyone already knows
this so he will see no reason to explain
such a simple fact. Remember the shy nature
of Inuit with strangers. Patient, quiet
questioning will probably result in an
answer while making demands to get started
will just widen the communication gap.
Hunters should always keep in mind that
in this wilderness, the guide always knows
best. He is constantly aware of safety,
both his and yours. He has to be...He
lives, and survives there.