'I was so happy I shot that polar bear': The story behind this nursing mom's successful hunt

A photo taken by Lynne Quassa's 15-year-old daughter shows the mother of two holding a rifle with a dead polar bear at her feet and a still-nursing baby in her amauti.

Lynne Quassa's 15-year-old daughter snapped a photo just after her mother killed the polar bear

Lynne Quassa brought her whole family with her after she won a polar bear hunting tag in Igloolik, Nunavut. (Lynne Quassa)

A photo taken by Lynne Quassa's 15-year-old daughter shows the mother of two holding a rifle with a dead polar bear at her feet and a still-nursing baby in her amauti — an Inuit parka that carries a baby.

Quassa's name was drawn for a polar bear hunting tag in Igloolik, Nunavut, last month.

"I only had three days to harvest the polar bear, we travelled quite far," said Quassa.

The 35-year-old also brought her husband, daughter and 18-month-old on the hunting trip.

"I was carrying my baby; I was breastfeeding so I had to bring him and nobody seemed to mind and I didn't want to leave him." 

'I was a little bit emotional'

When they spotted the bear, Quassa left the two kids together while she and her husband sped toward the animal on a snowmobile, getting within about three to four metres, she estimates.

At first, Quassa was terrified. Then her husband told her to shoot.

"So I shot it in the shoulder first, and he told me to shoot it again and I shot it again right near the shoulder again," said Quassa. "I was so happy I shot that polar bear."

Once the bear was dead, the couple drove back toward the kids. 

"While he was driving I was a little bit emotional, I cried a little and when I looked at my son and my daughter I said 'yay!'" Quassa said.

"Of course my son was crying so I put him on my back and we went to go to that polar bear so he could see it."

Back at the bear, Quassa's daughter snapped the photo.

When they got back to Igloolik, the family shared the meat with people in the community. The hide is still drying near her parents' house.

"It was pretty awesome to go out on the land with my family."

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.