The Inuit Circumpolar Documentary

How to Hunt Polar Bear

In Qaanaaq, we met Pauline Kristiansen (80). She grew up in the traditional lifestyle, without a mother, and a father who were out hunting for longer periods of time. She had to learn as a kid how to survive, and later she married a hunter and learned what types of equipment he needed to be happy in arctic storms. Among all the stories she told us in the interview is about the polar bear hunting.

– Usually, the most experienced dog is released first from the pursuing sledge when we spot the bear, followed by two or three more dogs, their traces hauled back by the hunter and cut free. The sledge closes in fast on the bear, distracted by the free dogs from its flight for the nearest open water. By the time the hunter has caught up with the bear, the bear is surrounded by the dogs and we move in for the kill.

On the photo Pauline is making a sealskin jacket.
– If you bring me skins I can still make anything, the 80 year old woman says, laughing. Underneath that statement is the brutal reality. Thanks to politics, in 2013, female tradition bearers in Qaanaaq, 80 years old or 20 years old, have no skin to work with.

Torgeir Higraff

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