Jimmy Iqaluq may be in his 70s, but he is not about to let his age dictate what he can do. The hunter from Sanikiluaq, Nunavut is back with his family this week after surviving a harrowing journey on the Belcher Islands when he fell through the ice in his snowmobile. A renowned artist and carver, Iqaluq is also a subsistence hunter—one of the oldest who still goes after polar bears.
The CBC reports that Iqaluq was hunting alone when his snowmobile crashed through the ice far from help. The hunter managed to pull himself back up and walked to a small island nearby. Iqaluq was able to save some of his gear, and lashed the snowmobile to an iceberg in the hope that it was able to be retrieved later. He later told reporters that he built a small igloo on the island but was increasingly worried about his lower body, which was still wet from being submerged under the ice.
Iqaluq decided to innovate. Earlier that day he had checked on his traps and recovered a few foxes. Taking a knife, the hunter was able to skin the foxes and fashion a pair of pants—or rather more accurately, a skirt—out of the animals and survive the night. Not the most hygienic of methods, but it kept him warm in one of Hudson Bay’s notoriously bitter nights. Rescue crews spotted his shelter the next morning and transported him back home. No injuries were reported, although he later did confirm that the snowmobile sank and could not be recovered.
Iqaluq has lived near Sanikiluaq all his life and is a well known carver in the area. His art, which was featured in multiple exhibitions over the years, is based primary on his experiences hunting and depict animals such as bears, seals, loons, and various species of fish.