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Hunt from home
Northern News Services
Published Monday, November 10, 2008
The female bear was one of several that had been seen wandering through the community, sniffing around at the local dump and leaving dog teams howling in their wake.
This particular polar bear, however, had been haunting one family's home and was unfazed by their attempts to chase it away.
"The bear's been coming here and this bear kept coming back all night," said Martha Idlout. "We tried chasing it away with snowmobiles, with trucks, but she wouldn't go away."
Eventually, Idlout and her husband contacted her step-brother Simon Idlout, the chair of the local hunters and trappers organization, who told the couple to go ahead and shoot the bear.
But the bear was standing between the family and their rifle collection, which was stored in the garage near the house, about 40 feet away. The only weapon they had handy was a bow and arrow.
"It was there, so I told him, 'Can I shoot it?' So, yeah I did!" Idlout recalled.
It must have been providence because she had been waiting for an opportunity to use her bow and arrow on a polar bear.
"I caught my bear with a bow and arrow before, so I wanted to do it again," Idlout said.
After she hit the animal with an arrow, the HTO chairman and her husband went out on their snowmobiles, rifles in hand, to finish the job. Idlout later went on the local radio to invite the community to share in the meat.
"That was the excitement of the night," she said, laughing.
Her step-brother wasn't at all surprised by her good aim. It runs in the family.
"Fifteen years ago I started with a bow and arrow," he said. "We are good hunters."
There are always a lot of bears around this time of year and it's always a treat for the community when one is harvested.
"They come into the village. They're all over the place, like foxes," Idlout said. "It's good meat. The best."
Since starting to hunt with a bow and arrow in recent years, Martha Idlout and her family have harvested several polar bears using the traditional method.
"My son got his bear with a bow and arrow last spring and my husband got his bear with a bow and arrow I think it was a couple of years ago," she said. "It's more challenging because you've got to get closer to the animal before you shoot it."