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Baker Lake HTO planning community’s first bowhead whale hunt

Wildlife File photo Bowhead whalePhoto courtesy DFO
The Baker Lake HTO initially was planning a bowhead whale hunt this last spring, however Covid-19 impacted those plans. Another attempt will be made this year, says Philip Putumiraqtuq. photo courtesy of DFO

The Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO) plans to host its very first bowhead whale hunt this upcoming summer.

“We want to try and get a bowhead whale hunt going,” said Philip Putumiraqtuq, a board memeber with the Baker Lake HTO who has been appointed to look after the initiative, adding, “It’s ongoing.”

With Baker Lake being Nunavut’s only inland community it was the only community that hasn’t yet had a community bowhead whale hunt.

“This is our first time trying something like this since the bowhead whale hunt opened in Nunavut,” said Putumiraqtuq.

There were plans being laid out last spring, Putumiraqtuq said, however it was interrupted by the onset of Covid-19.

“It did change (it), it took a while, most of the time we were having technical meetings. Once the pandemic (lockdown) was lifted in our community, we started to push it from there with our HTO board members.”

With various public health measures in and around Nunavut being eased, the Kivalliq Wildlife Board gave the go ahead for the community’s plan to begin a hunt.

“We weren’t too sure it was going to go ahead but as soon as we got the OK from the regional board, we started to work fast from there, fundraising, preparing,” he said. “A bit of hard work in the beginning but it’s surprising that an inland community is trying something like this.

“It’s a very first for Baker Lake.”

-by Ezra Black

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