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Arctic 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.