March 07, 2012
Canadian Sportsmen Speak Out Against Negative Polar-Bear-Hunting Story
By Chad Love
Canadian hunting groups are fighting back this week over a series of news stories that tried to portray Canadian polar bear hunts in a negative light.
From this story in the Toronto Sun:
Canadian hunting groups are loaded for bear after the sport hunting of polar bears got some bad international press this week. A story in the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail reported that rich Chinese sportsmen were trophy hunting endangered polar bears in Canada's Far North. "It was very biased and misleading," said Glen Williams, a wildlife consultant with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc in Iqaluit. "Polar bears are not endangered in Canada; they are probably the best managed wildlife species in the country," Williams said. "There's millions of dollars spent each year doing surveys and population estimates on polar bears."
Trophy hunting is when only a head, pelt or antlers are taken by a shooter, leaving the meat to rot and waste. Williams says all of the polar bear is used, eaten and shared in the host village closest to the kill. "It's food. We just had polar bear ribs for supper on Sunday," said Williams, who says the taste and texture is similar to pork roast -- with a bear flavour. "You are legally required to hunt with a dog team; it's not mechanized; you cannot hunt from an airplane; you cannot hunt from a snowmobile; and you have to go with an Inuk guide," Williams said. The hunting of polar bears is strictly controlled and monitored using a quota tag system in Canada, similar to elk tags or moose tags obtained by hunters every season.
Each Inuit community decides how they want to use their allotted tags, either leasing them to sport hunters or using them for sustenance. Young people who are employed as hunting guides raise their own dog teams and make their own incomes with sport hunts. "In Nunavut, hunting is a part of everyday life," said Steve Outhouse, director of communications to Minister Responsible for the North and Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq. "When any hunt takes place, including a sport hunt, the meat from the animal is used to feed community members, no usable part of the animal goes to waste."
Your thoughts? Check out the story of an Inuit polar bear hunter here.