Education: Trapping Fox trapping course in high schools
Students learn traditional hunting skills

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (OCT 28/96) - Students in Coral Harbour are taking to the wilderness in search of fox for a new high-school course.

"Fox trapping in Nunavut," as it's called, promotes traditional and contemporary Inuit knowledge and skills. Offered through the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) program, it comes from the Inuit-designed Inuuqatigiit curriculum.

Ken Beardsall, who teaches the course at Sakku school in Coral Harbour, says the course does a good job preparing youths for fox hunting.

"It could be a dangerous course if it's not taught properly," he says. "We'll be very careful in showing them safe procedures. What would be less safe is if they start to trap without the course."

The course was added to the Coral Harbour curriculum after a fox trapping workshop held last year proved popular. It was developed by the Keewatin Divisional Education Council, the Renewable Resources officials, and community elders.

Fox is the main animal trapped in Nunavut - other fur-bearing animals like seal and wolf are shot.

Eight male Grade 10 students are taking fox trapping this term.

The course combines classroom instruction with practical training from a community elder. Students learn about fox biology and habitat, trapping regulations and bylaws. They even learn the economics and politics of trapping.

They will use both high-powered quick-kill traps and leg-hold traps that take longer to kill animals.

But as of Jan. 1, 1997, animal products derived from leg-hold trapping will be banned by Europe. For this reason, Beardsall says it's important for students to learn the proper way to use quick-kill traps.

Students who want to take the course must also have a firearm safety certificate.

"This enables them to take a firearm into the wilderness with them," he says. "It's important to be prepared."

Jim Kreuger, who headed the development of the course for the Keewatin Divisional Education Council, says the course will be only offered every few years, but the goal is to ensure every high school student has an opportunity to take it.

While the course was developed for fox trapping above the tree line, Kreuger says the curriculum can easily be adapted for tree-covered areas.

Kreuger says the locally-designed curriculum has a course number registered with the Department of Education, making it available to other schools in the North.