2022-2023 Muskox Butchering Video
Communities in the NWT have long depended on barren-ground caribou and have felt a responsibility to take care of the caribou as related in many oral histories. Traditional harvesting practices continue to show respect for caribou, aiming to keep a balance between harvesters and caribou. However, drastic declines in barren-ground caribou herds across the NWT have limited caribou availability and hunting, compelling communities to seek alternative harvests. Parallel to declines in barren-ground caribou, muskox have seen a dramatic increase in both population and range across mainland NWT and share a large portion of the barren-ground caribou range. These increases in range and population have prompted both regional plans to increase the harvest of muskox; Nunavut subsidizes some harvest of muskox, and the Sahtú region includes priorities of ecotourism and alternative harvest via muskox hunting in the Belarewılé Gots’é Ɂekwé (Deline caribou conservation plan), and the Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board(GRRB) is discussing options for a commercial harvest. Recent surveys in the Sahtu have indicated that the populations are abundant, likely stable, and can support some additional harvest. Consequently, there is a desire from some communities to include muskox as part of their alternative harvest but due to low populations and a moratorium on muskox harvest in the early 20th century, traditional and local knowledge on how to harvest and process muskoxen has been lost. The Sahtú Renewable Resources Board, with support from the Government of the Northwest Territories, created an instructional video on how to harvest and process muskox.
Join us on an extraordinary journey as we delve into the resilient spirit of these communities, witnessing their efforts to preserve traditions while adapting to new opportunities. Experience the revival of a forgotten knowledge and the sustainable coexistence between humans and wildlife. Together, we can forge a future where heritage and conservation thrive side by side. Indulge in the delicious rewards as local communities share their knowledge, revealing the art of processing and preparing muskox. Taste the rich flavors and savor the cultural significance of this iconic game meat, bringing a true taste of the North to your plate. But it's not just about the thrill of the hunt and the exquisite flavors. By participating in muskox harvesting, you are contributing to the conservation and preservation of these magnificent creatures. By carefully managing the harvest and utilizing traditional knowledge, we can ensure the long-term sustainability of the muskox population, promoting a healthy balance between human needs and wildlife conservation.
Manisha Singh, SRRB
Leon Andrew, SRRB
Kevin Chan, ECC-GNWT
- Jaryd McDonald, Norman Wells Renewable Resources Council
Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) - GNWT