Polar bears are out on the ice in the Hudson Bay hunting seals. At least in the Western Hudson Bay. The Eastern coast and extending out some distance has been lacking in ice as a result of weather patterns, currents and an unusually late freeze-up in the bay overall. As a result bear population on the Western half  is more saturated.

Town of Churchill, MB

Photo: Steve Selden

The weather is settling back into normal, frigid Winter conditions as mentioned in my last post. Despite some Churchillians claim that this winter has been “warm”..yes warm, the temperatures are currently in the -30C range almost daily. The outlook for the next week or so is for the mercury to drop close to -50C with winds of 60 kilometers …more like the mean for January in the North. With extended cold such as this, the Eastern Hudson Bay should play catch -up fairly quickly. Seal populations should remain steady as they will still have ample birthing platform available to the West. This condensed area could be opportunity for polar bears to have a solid Winter of  energy storage. Should be interesting to observe their weights this Summer.

Churchill polar bear heading to ice.

Photo: Steve Selden

With the good also comes..well…the not so good. Unless your an Inuit hunter holding a polar bear tag this Winter. Hunting around Baffin Island and the Davis Straits has commenced with quotas increased this year. Limits on takes have increased from 16 males and seven females to 32 males and nine females. The Inuit contend that unused tags from previous years are being totaled for this year’s limit rather than an increase in quota overall. I’ll dig up more information on this and keep you all informed in future posts. It will be interesting to see how ice conditions factor into this year’s hunt as well.

CBC News Story On Iqaluit Polar Pear Quota Increase

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