Rankin Inlet’s HTO is raising alarm bells over the wasting of caribou meat after council shared images of unharvested carcasses with the organization.
Thomas Comer, a casual employee with the Kivalliq Hunters and Trappers Organization, said the images were first shared with him by the hamlet.
“They wanted us to respond to a picture of a photo that has been posted on Facebook,” Comer told Kivalliq News. “There were about five or more caribou carcasses that had been left behind. Their body parts were taken and the rest was left behind.”
After seeing the pictures, Comer decided to write up a public notice that was shared on the community Facebook page.
“The Hamlet of Rankin Inlet and the KTHO are very disappointed with this kind of practice.”
The notice reminds hunters that fines for improper harvesting start at $575 under the Nunavut Wildlife Act.
According to the act, hunters are legally allowed to leave behind the head, the legs below the knee, and the guts. The skin can also be left behind if the animal is shedding and wounds can also be cut out to avoid lead poisoning.
Even if there are parts of the caribou the hunter does not want, they should not waste it, Comer wrote in his statement.
“If there are certain parts of the meat which you do not wish to keep, please bear in mind that there are Elders and other members of the community who will gladly take the meat.”
Comer said the difficult thing about prosecuting illegal harvesting is that it requires a witness.
“In order for us to investigate someone needs to contact us. If any hunters or any people come up to us and report this activity then we’ll be able to respond to it and talk to our wildlife officers. They can conduct a full investigation.”
In order to raise awareness about meat wastage, Comer said he planned to circulate the HTO’s statement to the local radio station.
“We’d like to see their participation in this whole thing and get Elders talking on local radio. “There’s got to be some kind of a stop put to it. Leaving food out on the land is not IQ compliant. A lot of the Elders here will speak against it.”
Comer added the he’d like to see all the communities within the Kivalliq region come together in an effort to stop irresponsible harvesting.
“If we as a community are going practice what we preach we should not be wasting meat.”