Eighteen-year-old Olive Duval’s pink BB gun may not pack a huge punch, but it gets the job done.

On most days when the weather is good, the Baker Lake hunter can be seen stalking her favourite prey on the outskirts of town.

Her target of choice? Ptarmigan.

“It is fun to use but it’s not the most effective,” Duval told Kivalliq News. “I’ve got a be sharp shooter and hit the head or the neck.”

Ptarmigan is not usually the first menu item that comes to mind when thinking about country food.

But for Duval it is a delicacy that she has been hunting since she was 13.

“Before the BB gun all I had was my arm strength and rocks to hunt,” she said. “A lot of kids do that growing up.”

She may have only had a gun for a short time but she has been cooking ptarmigan for herself ever since she could kill them.

“The first time I tried them I baked them in the oven and they were pretty good,” she said.

Over the years she has experimented with new ways to cook the bird. She has made ptarmigan stir fries, roasts and even cooked them on the open fire, which is one of her favourite methods.

Another is to marinate ptarmigan with Montreal steak spice, then cover it with bacon and add vegetables before baking it in the oven.

“I like it that way,” she said.

An unfortunate run-in with RCMP

Although she enjoyed harvesting ptarmigan with rocks, Duval said getting the BB gun has made her love hunting even more.

“It’s my first weapon – any kind of weapon I’ve owned,” she said. “I’m really adjusting to this one gun and learning to use it.”

Unfortunately her first weapon also ended up drawing some unwanted attention from a qallunaat teacher who tried to tell Duval that it was illegal to hunt with a BB gun near town.

“The first thing she said to me when she saw me was I couldn’t use my BB Gun in town. But the next day I went out hunting. I told my dad. He told me not to care about what she says because she’s just that kind of person.”

But it didn’t end there. RCMP were called to investigate Duval and her gun twice that week. Duval said she was always aware that her gun might raises eyebrows in town. Nonetheless the encounter with RCMP left her upset.

“It did bring me to tears but that’s how my anger comes out,” she said.

The bright side of the story is that after RCMP were called a second time, the police told her she was free to use her BB gun to hunt ptarmigan in town.

“That was really surprising too. The teacher said it was against the law and the law turned around and told me it was OK,” Duval said.

Duval said she usually likes to hunt near the airport early in the morning before most people are awake.

“I try not to shoot it in town. I try to be away from people,” she said. “I don’t even know how to drive. I just walk myself everywhere.”

Despite the caution Duval takes, after RCMP were called a second time her mother, Karen Duval, ended up making a Facebook post on Baker Lake’s community page to inform the public about her daughter and her pink BB gun.

“I had to step in as her mother,” she said. “Now she’s free to do what she enjoys without anyone thinking she’s a person walking around with a gun.”

Her mother added that she is proud to see her daughter our hunting and putting food on the table.

“She chose on her own and I support her way of thriving,” she said. “Our young people are so stuck in the cyber world that they forgot there are still people who lived the way our ancestors have for centuries.”

Aside from the teacher who tried to discourage her, Olive Duval said the community has been largely supportive of her hunting.

“If a lady goes out hunting and she posts her catch on Facebook, people are equally supportive whether it’s a girl or a man.”

Join the Conversation


  1. If someone who is not law enforcement tells you something is against the law, ask them which law? Then ask a professional, like Municipal enforcement, rcmp, a lawyer for the correct answer. People assume too much. Check your facts. Know your rights. This is an amazing young hunter, we should be encouraging, not deterring. Good job RCMP for straightening this out for her.

    1. Hi Know your rights – I’m not against the RCMP or law enforcement in any way (and they did good here too). A lawyer or judge is a far better informed source for legal opinion and interpretation of the law (otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many people whom the courts rule in favour of – against the RCMP).

      I agree, “Know your rights” but also know who can best provide a legal opinion on (and that is not the police).

  2. It’s amazing; a teacher is involved, and then the RCMP. why isn’t a Conservation Officer involved in this matter?

    1. Why do we have to involve more people than necessary? The issue has been solved, it’s over. Nor is it a conservation matter, she wasn’t poaching.

  3. How can I say this without offending qallunaat?!? Unfortunately there are no good words to use. For that teacher, go the f back to where you came from or surrender your ignorance and stop trying to control Inuit as you have during the colonial times. We do not live there anymore, we now live in a society where we know our human rights. Adjust or go!!!

    1. I agree with Concerned Inuk 100% I think most Inuit forget how, we still live amongst racist, ignorant Qallunaat. The Qallunaaq has absolutely no clue about our Canadian history. Colonial system, Manipulative, & out of control, control freaks. Truth is hurtful to them also for a simple fact. Living in a lie…

  4. The person who called the RCMP on her a second time needs to be charged with filing a false police report. Harassing hunters is actually a crime of it’s own, in some jurisdictions.

  5. It’s incredibly disappointing that you chose to highlight that it was a hallunaat teacher. As if hallunaat’s and teachers don’t get treated as villains enough. Many people would think that you can’t fire a gun in town. I didn’t realize that you could either. No need to make this an issue of race or or ethnicity. Shame on you Nunavut News.

    1. Considering it’s a BB gun, not an actual firearm, the laws are quite different. If it WAS an actual firearm, then using it within city/town limits is a huge criminal issue.

      But it’s a BB gun, and is far less regulated. And, as a result, perfectly fine for the function it’s being used for.

      1. It will be unlawful if Libs pass bill C-21. All airsoft guns and any look alike guns will be outlawed.

    2. It shows how southerners (white or not but usually are the white people) come up here and think they know how we should live.

      1. I think you meant to say Liberals or Socialists. Right leaning and libertarian people (south or north) support hunting.

  6. God love her you keep doing you I started at 12 year’s old with a 22 caliber with my dad of course and I’m 46 today and still hunt strong be proud of yourself to many children stuck in the internet now a day’s your family is raising you right

  7. Because we’re not living stone age anymore we’re in the 2000. And there are laws. I’m full 1000% native American. And I would hang my head in shame if any of my children were out doing such a thing. There’s no need for it today. And I’m sorry but we just don’t live like that anymore so we’re it’s stated ‘because it’s fun’ throws any argument for doing so out the window. All this marks you as just some crazed pink bb gun carrying ptarmigan stalking loon. There are other ways to get noticed in this day in age you know. There are rules and rules are to be followed if you can’t follow them then go where there isn’t any and don’t have to cause others in your surroundings havoc not to mention she’s at an age n should just no better

    1. That’s where southern indigenous people went wrong. Believing you need to “assimilate”.

  8. I’ve had to gently, yet with conviction, explain various sensitivity issues to opinionated teachers many times. By now I had hoped course work in teacher training would have progressed somewhat and made certain incidents ‘things of the past’.

  9. The identity politics in play here, wow. A citizen calls the police. Because they are WHITE it is now a news story. How dare white people phone the police about their concerns. How dare white people tell Inuit people anything. If this girl is so deeply offended by being told by a concerned teacher that she ‘could shoot someone’s eye out’, just watch when she starts working and her white boss tells her she needs to show up on time. How is this news? Maybe you should also do an article about the Inuit myth that white people cannot fish at the Sylvia Grinnell falls. I’m told that all the time.

    1. What makes you assume she gonna be late for work? Because you’re white and she’s Inuk. You can’t hide it.

    1. because idiots need to be exposed, with as much detail about them as possible, no matter what genetics.

  10. Sounds like you have a liberal teacher trying to discourage someone from their rights maybe it’s time that the teacher finds themselves a new job because calling the cops on a student for putting food on the table and following in her heritage not once but twice means that the teacher doesn’t respect the community or their values liberalism is a disease that kills off peoples heritage without giving them a suitable alternative

  11. It is sad to witness this kind of behavior still exists at this time and age (racial discrimination) due to being different some make a big deal out of a situation that might not turn out to be a fact.

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea to make an effort and extra time to do a bit of research about a conflict you are unsure of? Before thinking about reporting to the authorities, get your facts right!

  12. She should invite the teacher to go hunting with her, so the teacher can learn how difficult it can be…..And then teach the teacher how to cook ptarmigan….The kind of teacher she is depends on whether she accepts or not……A simple test….

  13. Well I am white if that even matters. More power to her as she is gathering food for herself and family and it is with a pellet gun. I got one when I was ten to learn to shot so when I was able to get my license I would be able to kill the animal fast so it would not suffer if wounded. People should worry about themselves and not everyone else. Good for you and happy hunting.

  14. I’m not interested in getting involved in the racist name calling that seems to have infected this comments thread, what I am interested in is the hunting regulations for the territory. The racist crap needs to end. It’s just stupid.

    As a lifelong hunter, firearms owner & conservationist I was interested to learn how hunting rules work up North. Are Inuit hunters subject to the same hunting regs as non-Inuit hunters? The reason I ask is because it looks to me as if Olive is using a Daisy springer (?) BB rifle to harvest ptarmigan. I’m guessing that said rifle delivers a 0.177 BB at a velocity of around 400fps, probably less in the cold, thick winter air. That would serve to seriously reduce the range and amount of energy each BB delivered on target to ethically harvest a live ptarmigan.

    That’s why the use of BB guns to harvest small game is prohibited across much of Canada and the .22LR or .410ga are the minimum calibers permitted. Is this not the case in the territory, or are Inuit exempt?

    I applaud the young lady for joining the ranks of the generations of hunters that came before, I’d just wish she was properly equipped and taught the ways of ethical harvest. However, she seems to have a healthy grasp of the limitations of her BB rifle by noting she limits herself to head & neck shots.

    Are there any local hunters willing to mentor this young lady, or help her obtain her PAL so that she can legally acquire, through gift or purchase, a new .22LR rifle? Kids who grow up hunting and fishing, learn respect for life and nature; respect for themselves; And don’t grow up to knock over the corner liquor store or little old ladies.

    1. We have slightly different regulations in terms of how much we can harvest compared to non-inuit e.g. non Inuit are only allowed one fish a day, another difference is that we don’t require hunting licenses, tags are only allocated or used to hunt when populations decline and what not, also I find alot of southern folk use big calibres or have a larger calibre for the minimum calibre, for an example alot of us Inuit use a .223 Remington for caribou (roughly deer sized) and alot of people use the .243 Winchester for larger game such as bear or whale and I feel I must add alot of these animals harvested with these guns do drop with a single shot, while in the south these calibres would be called “below minimum” , I myself use a .243 for everything from goose to bear and a .410 for small game, but I also grew up hunting ptarmigan and rabbit with air rifles and see no issue with that daisy pink Ryder, as I caught many ptarmigan and rabbits with a daisy red ryder

  15. The police officer did NOT KNOW the law or the court order suspending criminal code conviction for Inuit who engage in subsistence hunting.
    This court ruling protected Olive from conviction – the officer was in the wrong.

    NTI v. Canada (Attorney General), 2003 NUCJ 1 (CanLII)
    Citation: NTI v. Canada (Attorney General),

    2003 NUCJ 01


    Date of Judgement: 20030708

    Docket: 0000316CV

    Registry: Iqaluit




    – and –



    – and –



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