Inuk man hunts down polar bear at midnight

·2 min read
Joseph Kuptana with the polar bear he hunted from behind an iceberg. (Submitted by Joseph Kuptana - image credit)
Joseph Kuptana with the polar bear he hunted from behind an iceberg. (Submitted by Joseph Kuptana - image credit)

He's one heck of a hunter, and he's game to go get a polar bear no matter what time it is.

"It was late at night when we found out about the bear," said Joseph Kuptana from his home in Ulukhaktok, N.W.T. —12:00 a.m. to be exact.

He got a call that a polar bear was spotted near "3rd river," said Kuptana.

Kuptana jumped into action and immediately took off for the location. Once there, he decided to hunt like he has never hunted before … behind an iceberg.

Joseph Kuptana says this bear is a big one at nine feet long.
Joseph Kuptana says this bear is a big one at nine feet long. (Submitted by Joseph Kuptana)

"[I] see it walking head on, straight towards me while I was hiding," Kuptana said.

He watched the bear come closer and closer for nearly 10 minutes.

Kuptana says he was "calm" as he hid out of sight until the bear was 50 metres away.

"That's when I shot it," he said.

Kuptana says the bear was nine feet long and not one bit of it will go to waste.

"I love to live off of traditional foods most of the time and bear meat is one of my favourite foods," he said.

Kuptana says his family loves to eat polar bear. This is meat from the rump, foot and tongue.
Kuptana says his family loves to eat polar bear. This is meat from the rump, foot and tongue.(Submitted by Joseph Kuptana)

Not only that, Kuptana says he's sharing the meat with the community and elders.

"Every bear hunter shares their catch with the community, [it's] an Inuit tradition."

Another tradition is taking full advantage of the beautiful pelt.

"We wash it in cold water first to take off all the blood," he said.

Then he stretches it out to get a good idea of the condition of the fur so he can sell it to help provide for his family.

Joseph Kuptana says he hopes to sell this polar bear pelt, if not his partner will use it for sewing.
Joseph Kuptana says he hopes to sell this polar bear pelt, if not his partner will use it for sewing.(Submitted by Joseph Kuptana)

"We keep it up for a few days to make sure all the water is gone from the hide after washing it," he explained.

Kuptana says they hope to get up to $3,000 for the pelt.

But if they don't, that's OK.

Kuptana says his partner will use it for traditional sewing and crafts.

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