Fort Severn hosts annual caribou bull hunt
Rusty Miles returns with his caribou and begins to unload just before the 1pm deadline for the hunt. See more photos from the annual hunt on page 8.
With the arrival of fall once again, it is time for the northern community of Fort Severn, Washaho in Cree, to begin preparing for winter. Part of this preparation includes the annual bull caribou hunt.
The people of Washaho look forward to this big event each year with people young and old taking part in the three-day competition. The hope this year was to win the grand prize of an ATV. Other prizes included guns, gas, money, laptops, chainsaws and an outboard motor.
On Friday, Sept. 6 after sign in and a prayer by Elder Stanley Thomas, the 36 participants headed out on the land. Just as they rode off rain began to fall setting the scene for the weekend ahead.
The returning hunters brought their caribou heads to the lands and resources building where a team of three judges spent hours measuring the 17 entries. The caribou meat was then taken to a picnic area where the community gathered to celebrate with a feast.
“The bull hunt is about getting together as a community and sharing our food like it was done in the past, and also with the Elders, widows, orphans, children,” said councilor Betty Bluecoat.
The chill in the air could not dampen spirits as children played and adults worked together to prepare the meat. Caribou recipes of all kinds could be seen among the cooking fires.
There was caribou stew and ribs, cubed caribou and even battered caribou. And, it was washed down with pots of Labrador tea.
The annual caribou bull hunt started as a way of helping Elders, widows, and single parents put away food for the winter and while it still serves that purpose there is now the thrill of the challenge too.
After the feast the people returned to the lands and resources building for the prize presentations. Chief Joe Crowe spoke to open the awards ceremony, thanking the Creator for the wildlife that freely walks on the earth, and also giving thanks that no one was hurt during the hunt.
Everyone with a qualifying caribou head received a prize this year, with Kenny Thomas taking home the ATV grand prize.
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