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#1 sealhunter

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:37 AM

Given a chance would any of you ever go seal hunting?

#2 TerryfromAR

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 12:18 PM

Depends on alot of factors with me. Is there a legitimate season? What is the meat quality like? I don't want to hunt something that the meat would just go to waste. What are the licensing, and equipment regulations?
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#3 Jeremiah

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 02:47 PM

I have an aunt who lives in Iqaluit. I gather the locals (Inuit) go sealing. They still use the hide for clothing and oil for fuel, etc. I have a feeling it would be a lot harder than it may seem to hunt those rascals. But, if I were assured that someone would keep an eye on this greenhorn's behind, I would tag along any time. Like Terry, I wouldn't personally participate unless there was an open season and tag(s) available for me to do so. I gather there are still places where that's possible. But, there are quite a few other hunts on my list before that. (Moose hunt, anyone?! :) )

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#4 mudduck

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 03:05 PM

Well, I have seen shows on television, where biologist are walking amongst them on shore, and they look like fat bloodsuckers with flippers. But with that being said, and the price being right, I'd shoot one or club it.

#5 runNgun

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:12 PM

What is seal hunting like? Do you wait for them to come out of a hole and then club them? That doesn't sound like much fun. Spot and stalk seal hunting with gun or bow - that might be more fun.
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#6 mudduck

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:00 PM

What is seal hunting like? Do you wait for them to come out of a hole and then club them? That doesn't sound like much fun. Spot and stalk seal hunting with gun or bow - that might be more fun.



I'm thinking that whacking a Walrus with a wooden billet could get pretty exciting, especially one of those 3000 lb males with those long white fangs.

#7 sschneid73

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:34 PM

I am with you Jer. Bear and bull elk are on the top of my list.

#8 sschneid73

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:36 PM

Pretty funny Jeff. Now that would be something to see.

I'm thinking that whacking a Walrus with a wooden billet could get pretty exciting, especially one of those 3000 lb males with those long white fangs.



#9 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:59 PM

After giving it some thought it could be a real challange. Considering that seals are #1 on a polar bears diet list seal hunting could get real exciting because people are #2 on a polar bears diet list. Seriously seals are not on my bucket list and I hear it is kinda cold where they live.
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#10 Geoff / TBow

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 12:58 AM

There are a couple things to consider before you can understand what seal "hunting" or harvesting is all about.

On the east coast of Canada, they refer to the legal harvesting of seals as "the seal hunt". It's really not hunting, but rather a harvesting of animals for market purposes, much the same as fishermen go to sea and harvest fish for food and their byproducts. It's a legitimate occupation for some of the hard economically hit people of the maritimes and Newfoundland provinces of Canada. Unfortunately organizations and mislead celebrities stick their noses into lifestyles they have never experienced or have never taken the time to understand. Rich celebrities like Paul McCartny (billionaire) and his ex-wife or Bridget Bardeau take camera crews out onto an ice flows thinking they know best. McCartney's comments indicated that the meagre $10K acquired by each of the seal hunters, was so little that it wouldn't matter. Is that right Pauly? That's all good and well for a billionaire to say that. But try and tell an out of work fisherman in a small community in Newfoundland that $10K is nothing. Well that $10K will likely be the difference between putting food on the table or not for that family.

And the seal harvest hasn't been hindered because it was stopped. It has been hindered because the animal rights advocats have created an environment on the world economy where no one will by their products, irregardless of how good a food source or a product it can provide.

I've worked with people who've been on observation vessels and aircraft during the east coast seal hunt/harvest, and they've told me about the unbelievable numbers of seals on the ice flows. The harvesters really only take animals in a very very small percentage of the ice flows. The remaining hundreds of thousands, if not millions of seals remain untouched, and according to local fishermen and backed by government biologists, the remaining seals have aided in the decimation of the east coast fish stocks. The unchecked seal populations are a resource that needs to be managed.

This type of hunt/harvest is mostly done using east coast fishing vessels that go into the ice flows and drop the harvesters off on the floating ice. The hunters are no longer allowed to harvest seal pups and there are regulations now on the humane killing of the adult seals that are taken. And there are quotas that must be adhered to.

The type of seal hunt the Inuits traditionally do in the arctic, depends a lot on the season as to the type of technique used. Today most hunting is done with a rifle. During the summer, hunters travel in large square-back canoe type boats and pick off seals that are swimming in the water. They may only see a nose or the seal's head sticking out of the water to make their shot. They may be gone all day on the hunt for one or two seals, or they may be out on the land for days requiring camping. In the late fall, winter and spring conditions, hunters take to the ice pack on snowmobiles usually and will shoot seals as they come out of their breathing holes. Before rifles, an Inuit hunter might have had to stand by a seal breathing hole for hours waiting to see a few air bubbles in the hole and try to harpoon the lurking seal as it tried to emerge.

I was into an Inuit community a few years ago and walked into the community church. All of the front pews were lined with seal skinned cushions and it made me smile to see how much seals are part of the Inuit lives.

Would I go on a seal hunt? Because I have no need of the revenue, I likely wouldn't participate in the east coast harvest, but would certainly love to travel with the sealers or legitimate observers to experience the event. I highly applaud the east coast people and their efforts to attain self-sufficiency and their hardy life styles. I would however love to accompany the Inuit out in their cargo canoes or out onto the ice on a seal hunt. The hunt after all is never just pulling the trigger or releasing an arrow. It's the whole experience and adventure from start to finish, irregardless of whether you get something or not.

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#11 Jeremiah

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 08:28 AM

Sounds about right, Geoff. Just like with several other species, extremists prey upon the ignorance of most people to make it seem as though a given animal is practically extinct, or should generally be protected rather than hunted for some other reason. But, just a few minutes spent speaking with someone actually in-the-know often reveals that they are practically overrun and just about begging people to help reduce the numbers.

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#12 mudduck

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 03:24 PM

Traveling to the Arctic would be sweet, never done that before. Also, going there to hunt seals, I pesonally don't know anyone who has done that, so that would be another plus. As for eating one, I'd give it a shot. Heck, here in Minnesota, we eat Lutefisk (cod fish soaked in lye) gets kinda like Fish Jello in texture. When you get so you can keep that stuff down, one can eat almost anything,lol. But, I dont eat coyotes or fox either, but I still shoot them. But on a hunting trip anywhere, if I got a gun,bow, or even club in hand, I can guarantee you that I am about to have some fun. Are there records kept for seals? how do you tell the difference between the sexes? Can you use bait?

#13 Geoff / TBow

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 05:18 PM

I worked in the eastern arctic during the summers for 13 years. I was fortunate enough to be transported all over the eastern arctic by ship and helicopter and was able to see the arctic in a way few others do. Tourists or even contracted workers typically spend most of their time in and around the scattered communities throughout the arctic. That really doesn't provide a real concept of what the arctic and the life on the land is all about. Getting out onto the land and ice will provide a totally different perspective of what the arctic is and its peculiarities.

I worked on multiple navigation sites that were scattered along the shipping routes throughout Frobisher Bay, Ungava Bay, Hudson Strait, Hudson Bay and the routes around and north of Baffin Island. As the helicopter would ferry me from the ships to these nav sites, we would frequently see groups of seals swimming in numbers from a few to groups of 30 or so. When we did encounter Inuit hunters during the summer, they were using cargo canoes with 20 or 25 hp outboards and would travel considerable distance from the communities. We also saw remote camps built out on the land that were used by the Inuit. Occassionally we'd hear shots fired and once or twice we witnessed hunters shooting from a canoe as we flew over an area in the chopper. The majority of those shots were at seals in the water and all you'd see was their heads or noses so determining male or female was virtually impossible.

The 1st year I traveled to the acrtic, I was working with a helicopter on Hudson Strait just west of Ungava Bay, when we got a SAR call from the icebreaker we had flown off. Apparently an Inuit family was missing and the chopper was requested by the local community to look for the overdue family. They dropped me back on the ship, refueled the chopper and the pilot headed out scouring the bays and inlets along the Hudson Strait looking for the missing family. He found them stranded on an island with only tents and a few provisions. Apparently they had been seal hunting with approximately 6 family members in two cargo canoes when they encountered broken ice flows. They were forced to wedge the canoes into the ice and carry their provisions over the ever moving ice to shore where they awaited their fate. One uncle went back to the canoe to retrieve a few items and try to secure the boats, but he slipped in the shifting ice and fell beneath the mass. He was never found. Those types of occurances are a fact of life in the arctic and is a cost of preserving the Inuit ways of life on the land.

We also had a telecommunications site on Ungava where we'd be able to observe seals on the ice in late June just before the ice moved out of the shoreline bays. We had one Inuit working for us who considered heading out onto the ice to try for the snoozing seals, but given the number of polar bear sitings we'd experienced on this site, he decided otherwise. A couple years prior to that, two of our construction workers were near the beach and observing seals on the ice with their binoculars, when they turned around to see a polar bear not 10 feet from them. They polar bear attacked them and lascerated one of the workers scull rendering him unconscious. Why the bear didn't tear him apart after that we may never know. The bear left and the workers scurried back to the survival quarters where they radioed for medical assistance from the icebreaker a day away. Just another example showing that seal hunting is not neccesarily a walk in the park.

On another island that was no more than a 3rd of a mile long and half as wide, we'd encounter 1000 to 2000 walruses there every year. When we'd fly onto the island, we'd have to circle the island looking for polar bears. The walruses which were resting on the smooth rocks by the shoreline, would slide down into the water and provided a Natioanal Geographic vision. Frequently polar bears would be sited on this rock that was 20 miles from the closest piece of land. Polar bears are incredible swimmers. Walrusses can have ivory tusks over 2 feet long and can weigh as much as 2000 to 3000 lbs if not more. Even adult polar bears rarely will attack a large walrus and prefer the younger pups or juveniles. Any thoughts about trying to club one of them bruisers over the head is nothing short of suicidal. While working on that particular island, I always had bear watch personnel standing in close proximity to me with a 30-06 or slug laden shotgun while I worked. One year we kept firing shots over the head of a polar bear sow and cub not 250 yards from us to scare them away, but they just sat there looking dumb-founded at the silly rag clad figures bumbling around on their island! I never strayed to far away from the ladder on the tower I was working on while there.

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#14 TerryfromAR

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:51 PM

Geoff, with the info you have provided, and archery seal hunt sounds like a real adventure...... Leave it to this board to have someone who has first hand knowledge on a subject like this. That is why I love this board. Thank you for the information.
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#15 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 07:40 PM

Wow and to think I was sort of in jest about the polar bear thing but it seems I was right on. I think I will let the seal hunting to those that make use of the animal.
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