Polar Bear Blog – Fluffy Snow and Off We Go

Well looks like we’re heading out to Prince Albert sound, its pretty white out there today, soft snow falling to me it looks like the makings of a real blizzard but there’s a glow of the sun behind the clouds so who knows – that’s what guides are for…

Wynniatt Bay to the north still sounds like their in blizzard mode. The helicopter researchers seem to be grounded a fair bit and even the local guides setting the hair traps just finally got out of their tents a day or two ago. Probably a good thing that I didn’t make it up there this year… maybe this summer.

Walked out past the point last night, the weather was actually really nice, cold and clear out there although a red line through the sun (the sun’s crutch) means bad weather from what I know. Still it was a spectacular sunset on the northwest passage.

We also watched a polar bear sport hunt video from some guys that came up in 2008. I have to say that until watching that I was probably fine with polar bear hunting but now, I’m not so sure. The hunt is pretty much finding tracks and then chasing down the bear until its exhausted and shooting it. While its not my style, I could accept that (I guess) but the sport hunter is really what got to me.

In the first part of the video, he talks about the respect for polar bears and the importance of the hunt. He talks about the Inuit superstition that bears can hear us so its important not to talk too much about them – I prefer the version where they read your thoughts though, since I talk about bears a lot and still have pretty good luck.

Anyway, this guy tags along with his guides for the trip, they find the bear and chase it down and then he steps off the komatik and shoots it with his bow. He kills it with a couple shots and then starts jumping up and down and cheering, he flops down and starts doing fuckin’ snowangels on the sea ice. I’ve never seen so much disrespect for wildlife from one person…  including the crazy russian tourists that come through Churchill once in a while!  Oh well.

The good news is that there is only one sports hunter looking for bears on this side of the arctic this year. When prices for bear skins were low, only a handful of locals hunted bears up here. Now that they are high, more people want in… plus somehow a grolar bear (polar grizzly hybrid) doesn’t classify as a polar bear so doesn’t count against the quota – a loophole I think we should probably change!

I probably have to show that we can find a bear without chasing it before I can convince folks that photography and tourism is a real option over here.  So far, one of the elders laughed at me and shook his head, ‘Pictures?  Bears aren’t for pictures, they’re for shooting!’  The good thing is it seems like there are a few people interested in tourism here.  Baby steps I guess, ha.

Anyway, enough about that, we’ll see what’s out there – lots of seals and pressure ridges and hopefully a bear or two. Roland, my main guide is just having some breakfast and David’s sleds are waiting on Queen’s Bay with our gas I was scanning the horizon last night around 11pm and it sure looked like one was walking around way, way out there, flickering in the horizon’s mirage… lots of snow covering tracks right now. Probably the best thing for us is a day or two of blizzard and then sun. The bears hate blizzards (and so do we) but they like to get up and run around afterwards – and make lots of tracks. Wish us luck.

I left a couple blogs to be posted later but hopefully, I won’t be back online until May…

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