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Jamie Makpah, 41, brings down polar bear near Arviat

It was a while in coming, but Jamie Makpah of Rankin Inlet successfully landed his first polar bear on the land near Arviat on Nov.2, at the ripe old age of 41.

Makpah said he left Rankin Inlet at midnight Nov. 1 with Albert Netser and his son, Nangnat, to do a little hunting near Arviat.

Jamie Makpah shows the biting power of his first polar bear kill on the land near Arviat earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Jamie Makpah

He said things didn’t go as smoothly as they would have liked on the trip, as bad weather along the way forced them to look for shelter to wait for the system to pass.

“We spent a few hours in the shelter and then continued along our way at daylight,” said Makpah.

“We got to Arviat late in the morning and then headed out south from the community looking for nanuq.

“The first ones we saw were all a little too small, like the ones that go into the dump in the community, so we didn’t bother with them at all.

“The following day Albert’s son got one in the morning and I got mine in the afternoon.”

Makpah said they were about 20 miles from Arviat when they harvested their two bears.

He said they were on the shoreline when they approached his bear and the weather conditions gave him almost a sense of urgency to bring down the bear as quickly as he could.

“The tide was going out when we first saw the bear and I didn’t want it to get too far down from where we were because we would have probably got stuck trying to follow it,” said Makpah.

“We measured it when we returned to Rankin and mine was nine feet from nose to tail.

“We saw, I guess, eight or nine bears in total out there, of which I’d say three or four were really small, but the one I caught was a very healthy bear.”

Being his first polar bear; Makpah said he would love to have the animal displayed in his home as an awesome rug.

He said that might depend, however, on just how big a rug the animal makes.

“I was looking at my cousin’s catch – his bear was actually smaller than mine – but it turned out to be 18 inches longer after it was done and ready to be displayed, or whatever,” said Makpah.

“So, it was pretty wide.

“We gave some of the meat to the guy we stayed with in Arviat, and I sent some of it out to family members in the Kivalliq.

“I also gave some to people in town and kept a little for myself, seeing how it was my first one.”