Mapping muskox
Counting animals may help hunters

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

Pelly Bay (Feb 28/00) - It might be a lot of work, but the scheduled grown-muskox survey in Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay) means that hunters might get to stay a little closer to home next year, according to Nick Amautinuar, the secretary-manager of the Kurtairujuark Hunters and Trappers Association in Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay).

He explained that the 15-day event, which begins March 11 and wraps up on March 25, will give six hunters with their snowmachines time to count the number of grown muskox that live within the boundaries Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay) hunters currently use for harvesting.

By accurately surveying the number of animals within those limits, Amautinuar said hunters might be able to take animals closer to the community in the future.

"If we have enough muskox, hopefully the boundary will be closer next year," he said.

Funded by the Department of Sustainable Development, as well as the local HTA and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, the survey has to be completed by the end of the current fiscal year. Otherwise, Amautinuar said, the GN funding will return to the government.

"The funding was approved for the fiscal year of 1999, but the snow was melting when we got the money in May so we decided to wait one more year."

The six men involved plan to split into two groups of three, each of which will set up base camps about 360 kilometres outside of Kugaaruk. The two teams will use radios and global positioning systems to stay in touch while accurately covering the boundary.

Amautinuar said by employing local people and using snowmachines, the HTA could divert the money back into the local economy.

"It's cheaper by ground than by air and the money stays in the community and goes to the local people," said Amautinuar.

"It benefits our community."