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Nine of 12 polar bear tags used so far in Rankin Inlet

With polar bear season in full swing across the Kivalliq region, things have been going especially well this year in Rankin Inlet.

The season got underway in Rankin on Saturday, Oct. 31, and runs until the final day of June, 2021, with Rankin having 12 tags in total.

Lutie Kaviok, 18, of Arviat landed his first polar bear earlier this month.
photo courtesy Johnny Kaviok Sr.

Kangiqliniq Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO) spokesperson Andrew Akerolik said there were 12 tags in total available this season in Rankin, with nine tags being open and a lottery draw being held for the final three.

He said the season's ratio is the normal one-to-one ratio of six male polar bears and six females available to be tagged.

The season has been going pretty well and, as we speak, nine of them have been caught already,” said Akerolik.

I'm not sure exactly how many people have been out hunting so far this year, but I can say we've been receiving nothing but really good co-operation and communication from every hunter I've been in contact with to date.

Every time so far a hunter catches a polar bear, I get apprised of the catch right away.

When the communication is flowing that well, then we're never in any danger of accidentally going over the tag-limit quota that's been set for the community this season.”

Akerolik said just like in other Kivalliq communities, there are many hunters in Rankin Inlet who feel the quota of polar bear tags available for their community should be higher this year.

He said they push every year for more tags and every year they're rebuffed by the Government of Nunavut.

It's not just Rankin Inlet, itself, that is asking for more tags to be made available every year. That's being asked from communities with tags right across the Kivalliq region.

Asking for a higher polar bear quota is going to be an ongoing battle across our region for a very long time to come, from what I've seen.

The problem starts when someone from the federal government states that they do their counting of the polar bear population but they don't say where the counting took place.

Every year they always say the same thing, that they've already did their counting and there aren't enough bears active to justify increasing the quota in our region (western Hudson Bay). I mean, come on. Why don't they come and count the bears in the Kivalliq region and make the results known to all?”

Akerolik said the Rankin hunters have been perfect in following all the rules of the hunt this year to the best of his knowledge.

He said the Rankin hunters have been very respectful and those with any questions text or message him right away from wherever their location is.

I simply tell them the rules our HTO board set- up to be followed, we pretty much agree on any point being asked about and they continue their hunt in compliance with those rules.

I encourage the females in our community to go hunting for polar bears when they can, as well, because they have every right that our male hunters do.

Our wildlife department is also paying the hunters a stipend for samples of different parts of the bear they bring in if that's possible.

We inform the hunters about it but we're not going to tell hunters that they have to bring in the samples. That’s left up to the hunters and is not something that we're going to enforce on the condition they use a tag.”