COVID-19 or not, the snow is melting, the geese are loose and Paulatuk is ready.

Residents have been in and out of town readying their camps for the spring as the bounty of ptarmigan harvest are distributed to elders and families in need.

“We had with 70 and so far about a dozen households received anywhere from three to six ptarmigan,” said Mayor Raymond Ruben in between trips to his own camp. He estimated approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the hamlet was out on the land.

When Dr. Kami Kandola laid down restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, one of her recommendations to best self-isolate was to head out on the land.

Most people were planning to do that anyway.

“A lot of people go camping eventually when the geese have all arrived and they just got here,” said Ray Lennie. “It’s nice to see videos and the pictures starting to show up of the camping or hunting. That’s what makes a wave of people get out on the land.

“Just doing our seasonal hunt and forgetting about the crazy year we’re having so far.”

Ruben added that poor weather at the start of May had delayed a lot of families from getting out to their land. But now there was at least five set up, which would harvest geese and fish as the spring set in.

He added caribou were present in the area, but were not being hunted because many are carrying young or are not in the best shape at this time of year.

Eric Bowling

Breaking News Reporter and Digital Editor for NNSL, Eric operates out of Inuvik in the Beaufort Delta. He's four years into his Northern adventure and is eager to learn more about life in the Arctic Circle....

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