Successful rescue of Arviat hunters prompts preparedness reminder
"Your preparedness saves tireless hours and resources"
Two Arviat caribou hunters are back home after they failed to return from a hunting trip when expected, prompting the RCMP to remind hunters to be prepared before they head out on the land.
Martha Otuk, 68, and Robert Hakuluk, 23 are experienced hunters and “thankfully were prepared by bringing enough equipment and clothing to survive the harsh conditions,” the RCMP said in a Nov. 27 news release.
“This is a good example of being prepared for travelling during the winter months no matter what our experience levels,” police said.
Members of the Arviat RCMP detachment learned Nov. 23 from the community’s local search and rescue team that Otuk and Hakuluk had headed out on the land Nov. 22 to look for caribou, but hadn’t come home.
The search and rescue team told police that searchers were out looking for the Otuk and Hakuluk, after having received a request for assistance.
Their search lasted more than 24 hours in –30 C temperatures and stormy conditions until they found the two at about 2 a.m. on Nov. 24, a few kilometres south of the community.
High winds and low visibility are believed to be responsible for the hunters losing their track as they were attempting to find their way back, police said.
The advice from police: when you go out hunting, stop by your local hunter and trappers organization or RCMP detachment to sign out emergency Spot GPS messenger devices.
The Government of Nunavut handed out 500 of the satellite messenger devices to communities across the territory in 2010, to be made available to residents free of charge.
“When activated, these beacons send signals that rescuers know exactly where you are. Your preparedness saves tireless hours and resources, reducing the risk to volunteers and greatly increasing the chances that everyone makes it home safely,” said the news release in which the Arviat RCMP thanked all the volunteers “that made this a successful rescue.”
Other tips for safe travelling include:
• Check the weather forecast beforehand ;
• Tell someone your trip plan (where, how long, with whom) ;
• Whenever possible, travel with another person (preferably with another snowmobile);
• Don’t overload your snowmobile and-or qamutik;
• Avoid thin or dark ice ;
• If you get stranded do not abandon your snowmobile unless necessary ; and,
• Ride smart — Ride sober .
You should also bring along:
• Extra fuel (gas, naptha and oil);
• Spot tracker;
• Survival tools (knife, lighter/matches, stove, rope, tent, tarp, food, sleeping bag, caribou skin, flashlight, flare, etc.);
• Other communication and navigation devices (GPS, satellite phone, radio, etc.);
• First aid kit ;
• Snowmobile parts and repair tools (socket wrench set, spark plugs, belt, etc.); and,
• Rifle and-or shotgun with plenty of proper ammunition for hunting and safety.