Coral Harbour man wants to capture bear hunt

Noah Kadlak has asked the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board for permission to hunt a polar bear using traditional methods – in order to capture it on film for future generations.


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT – Noah Kadlak didn’t get his bear this season, but he counts himself lucky anyway.

At 33, the Coral Harbour native is one of just a handful of Inuit men his age who can still claim to be full-time hunters.

Now he’s anxious to add movie-making to his resumé.

“It’s been my dream since I was a kid,” said Kadlak, who recently asked the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB) for permission to film an authentic traditional polar bear harvest.

Kadlak said his company, Arctic Bear Productions, has already raised much of the financing in partnership with a documentary film crew from Toronto. If the proposal gets NWMB approval, production could begin as early as next spring.

Capturing culture

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” Kadlak said, “because I wanted to get it across to younger people that… they can capture their culture.”

As the rapid transition from traditional to modern ways of living in the Arctic pushed many of his peers to despair, Kadlak said he drew strength from his own identity with the land. That’s a message he hopes to bring to others by documenting the hunt on film and encouraging his fellow Inuit to rediscover these skills for themselves.

“I wanted to help those people who are kind of lost in between,” said Kadlak. “Maybe they could go back to their elders and talk to them.”

The hamlet of Coral Harbour lies close to an important migratory route of the great white bear, making it an ideal location not only for local hunters, but also for that other important migratory creature – the tourist.

“That’s one of the [other] reasons I’m trying to get in on film, so that people could start coming in to take pictures,” Kadlak said.

A polar bear hunter since he was a teenager, Kadlak first gained a love of hunting as a child by observing his father. Now a father himself, Kadlak has begun to pass along those skills to his own son.

“It’s been by interest most of my life,” said Kadlak, whose bear-hunting trip earlier this winter proved unsuccessful. Only once before in his 17-year-long hunting career has he ever missed his mark.

Traditional methods

Kadlak still uses a dogteam instead of a snowmobile and has appealed to the wildlife management board for special permission to use a spear or unaq, instead of a gun to kill the bear for the movie camera – something he’s never attempted before.

At their annual meeting in November, NWMB board members agreed that Kadlak’s proposal deserved careful consideration. They’re to announce their decision at their next meeting in February.

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