Video: Inuit Building Bows and Shooting 3-D Snow Targets

Any bowhunter will appreciate this look at how Inuit built bows from wood and bone, and carved 3-D targets from crusted snow for practice and even shooting contests.

Video: Inuit Building Bows and Shooting 3-D Snow Targets

This 14-minute film called “Tuktu and the Magic Bow” showcases Inuit cultural practices, skills and values in Nunavut in northern Canada. (The term “Inuit” is interchangeable with Eskimo, Inupiaq, Yupik and other regional names.) This episode is part of a documentary series produced by the National Film Board of Canada in the mid- to late-1960s. As explained in the YouTube description for this video, Inuit of all ages and genders “have a deep respect and spiritual connection with the land and its resources.”

There’s so much to enjoy in this film. I like the moment at the 1:28 mark where a father simulates a polar bear charge with a snow bear. The young son runs away but then turns to throw his spear. Excellent!

Later, you’ll see Inuit pursuing swimming caribou with aid of kayaks. This tactic might seem unfair by some modern hunters’ standards, but these men are trying to survive and provide for their families. This isn’t about fair chaise; I applaud their efforts. 

I find the arrow-building clips fascinating. The Inuit understood the need for straight arrows, as well as fletching to help stabilize an arrow in flight.

Finally, I laughed when the archery competitors are looking for buried arrows after missing the snow targets. Every bowhunter who has practiced outdoors has done the same. In this regard, not much has changed through the many decades.

Enjoy this step back in time.


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