WARNING: The picture below are very gross
Guns not at ready before bear attack. A misunderstanding about firearms legislation may have contributed to the severity of a polar bear attack near Kimmirut on Tuesday.
The Inuit guide who was the victim of the brutal bear attack did not have a gun to defend himself.
I thought I was going to die Kootoo Shaw says as far as he knew, he wasn't allowed to have a gun while he's working as a guide.
"We Inuit are not supposed to have any guns when we guide people from down south, that's why we didn't have a gun," he says.
However, that's not what the law says. While Nunavut's Wildlife Act says Inuit cannot use guns to hunt while they're guiding, they can carry guns for protection against bears.
Shaw says that isn't how he understood the rules. The U.S. hunters also seemed to have misinterpreted national rules.
John Clark, one of three hunters with Shaw, says his group was told they could carry guns but that the bullets had to be removed when the gun was idle.
"The reason we left is because we knew there are more bears out there, they've been seen and there's no way of protecting yourself," he says. "Unless you can sleep with a loaded weapon, and even that is a little chancy."
The Canadian Firearms Act governs how firearms are stored, and stipulates when guns should be unloaded.
Hal Major, the district manager of the Canada Firearms Centre in Winnipeg, says hunting trips are one of several exceptions to the rule.
"The firearm does not have to be unloaded, it does not have to be rendered inoperable," he says.
Major says that if confusion exists about Canadian gun laws, it's possible that more public education about the rules and regulations is required.