Hunting in Greenland

By Verified Expert

When visiting any country, we all need to bring something back home to remind us of the great journey we had, we have the same tradition in Greenland, but our souvenirs are often made out of bones from animals we hunted.

In Greenland, there are many things you can buy and most of them are handmade. The hunters go out to catch musk ox, reindeer, whale, seal, polar bear, etc. and all of the animals are being used! We eat the meat and guts, use the bones for making equipment or souvenir, and make clothing from the skin.

My nephew shot his first reindeer.

My nephew caught his first reindeer when he was 10 years old. In Greenland we need a certification for hunting, but not a license. The certificate is for tracking how many animals are shot per season. There are different certificates for which animal you want to hunt, and there is a certain number of each species you are allowed to shoot per season. When your child shoots their first animal, it’s a big celebration and everyone is invited to Kaffemik.

A musk ox head.

I took this picture outside a house in Qeqertarsuaq. It is typical that when a kid in the family has caught their first animal, they will show their proudness by using the head or the horns as decoration. 

Some come to Greenland for trophy hunting. The hunting season is from the 1st of August till the 1st of October and many go to the Kangerlussuaq area for the musk ox. 

Tupilak is made from reindeer bones and horns.

The horns of reindeer and musk ox are then used to make souvenirs. These handcrafts are made by the locals and anyone is welcome to come and see their work. They sell their products at the art workshops and some even have their own store, but please notice that many of these shops only take cash. The Tupilak is a very important element in the traditional Greenlandic culture and meant a lot to the Inuits and it still does.

An artist carving a Tupilak.

Here you see a man in a typical art workshop carving a Tupilak. It’s such a joyful place to visit, and I would definitely recommend it. I personally think it’s amazing that you can go hunting for so many different species of animals, bring home the meat and even use the bones for art. It’s a very sustainable and creative way to use nature.

If you are interested in visiting Greenland, take a look at our tours here.

If you want to taste Greenlandic food, try our amazing Taste of Greenland tour.

Want a sneak peek of the traditional language in Greenland? Take a crash course in Greenlandic here.

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