November 1st mark the opening day of Polar Bear season. Now I know many southern's are saying, "hey Wait, you can't hunt Polar Bear's, They are endangered". Well, you can hunt Polar Bears. They are not endangered, they are on a watch list. The reason they are on a watch list is not alot is known about them and thier numbers, there has been recent concern about the bears in Churchill as they seem to be heading north, but there isn't alot of long term data on thier numbers or what recent enviromental changes are doing to the population. Now, even southern's can hunt Polar Bear's, for a hefty price (that americans are very happy to pay). As a non-resident you can buy a Polar bear tag for around $15,000, they you must hire a local certified guide to go with you (another $15,000 to $20,000) and finally if you'd like to take your catch with you out of territory I'll cost you approx $20,000.
The majority of bears harvested are done locally by Inuit hunters. Each community get's a number of tags based on its population and economic circumstances. Removed from this number is any bears that were killed in the off season for personal protection reasons, and killing a mother with cubs takes three tags from the communities number. This is why whenever possible locals will chase bears away instead of shooting them. Many local hunters need Polar bear skins for econimic reasons. for example a wolf skin will bring the hunter about $250, and hunting wolves is very challenging as they must be chased for miles before the hunter can get a good shot. Polar bears skins pay about $100 a foot but the bigger the skin the larger the payout, a 12 foot bear will get about $2,000 and above 12 foot is aprox $700 a foot. so one bear can feed a extended family for a month. Bear meat is also eaten so there isn't alot of waste. This community recieved 15 tags this year. Other communities may be unable to collect thier tags unless they can afford to visit another community to do so. For example Baker lake gets its allotment of tags, however there are no Polar bears in Baker, so the hunter must fly out of the community to use thier tags, and this is done rarely.
Should everything go well with my new helper arriving Sunday I hope to go out Polar bear hunting next Thursday, provided my buddy doesn't get one before then, If he does we'll have to go after some caribou or wolf (wolverine if we're lucky).
Still no sign of ice on the Bay, so the bears will still be pretty far inland, hopefully.
PS. Check out that sunset tonight, Wow