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The Ice Returns... the Hunt Begins

October in the Arctic brings limited hours of daylight and plunging temperatures. The icefields start to re-form quickly and as soon as they are solid enough, hunters, like the polar bears, set out after the seals.

Nets are set under the ice. Experienced hunters know which locations have been best in the past, and a well-placed net may catch several seals a week. With no shortage of refridgeration, the seals can provide a supply of meat for the long winter months.

As winter sets in, the ice pack becomes too thick to be able to set seal nets, and it's much harder to find the seals' breathing holes. Hunters often have to set out on expeditions that can last over a month.

Now the seals have to be stalked. To do this, Inuit hunters use a "blind" - a screen of white cloth mounted to slide on the ice. The rifle muzzle sticks through a hole and the hunter crawls along the ice pushing the screen ahead of him.

It is important to avoid firing before the seal can be killed in the first shot. Otherwise the wounded animal may escape through its breathing hole in the ice - not a good situation for the seal or the hunter.

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A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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