Young Inuk hunter gets his 1st beluga whale in Kugluktuk, Nunavut

·1 min read
Kugluktuk residents wait as hunters return from hunting beluga whales. (Barb Arjun - image credit)
Kugluktuk residents wait as hunters return from hunting beluga whales. (Barb Arjun - image credit)

A young Inuk man harvested his first two beluga whales in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, recently as he joined his father and grandfather on the hunt.

"We spot the belugas and go after them and once they go up for air, we hurry fast towards them and harpoon them," explained JJ Ihumatak.

He and his family kept one whale for themselves and shared the other one with the community.

"We brought it to shore and we let people take what they wanted from it. They were all so proud and happy, thankful. I probably wouldn't be able to do this without my family," he said.

Nuka Bolt
Nuka Bolt

His father, Darren, said his son learned how to hunt by " watching, observing and listening" to his father and grandfather.

"He seems like the kind of young man who is going to be right into hunting and so far it's showing. We're very proud of him also," said Darren.

He said he's not worried about his son's family and friends "because he already knows how to share his catches."

"It feels really good when we see people sharing their food, especially my son, because it's how I was brought up and now my son is doing the same thing," he said.

JJ's grandfather, Peter, said he was proud and happy for his grandson and happy for the community.

Barb Arjun, who lives in the community, said her father told her whales appear about every 10 years in the area. She remembers seeing some in 2010.

She said about 200 whales showed up this year and that, according to a community Facebook page, hunters in the community had harvested 14 of them so far.

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