A flood of angry postings by caribou hunters hit several hunting forums on the internet last month when Tuttulik Outfitters (www.tuttulik.com) in Quebec abruptly ceased operations on September 4 in the middle of the caribou hunting season. The company left 150 clients without any place to hunt.
According to Harry Makis, the operations manager for Tuttulik, all hunters who had already arrived in Montreal for their hunt when the company announced cancellations were taken to the hunting camps and had a successful hunt. Furthermore, he says the 150 hunters whose hunts were cancelled all received notification before they left home, although some heard the news on internet chat sites before they heard it from Tuttulik.
At press time, three weeks after the shut down, the situation was, frankly, a mess. While persistent rumors claimed Tuttulik, a Native-owned corporation, was filing for receivership or bankruptcy, no paperwork had been officially filed as of September 22. Also, as of this writing, none of the hunters whose hunts were cancelled had gotten any money back.
What is most troubling about the current situation with Tuttulik is that it is the second time this has happened with this corporation. Back in July of 2001, this same Native-owned corporation, then operating as Umiujaq Outfitters, suspended all its hunts just before the season began. That year, a dispute between the Inuit majority stockholders (51 percent) and the minority white stockholders over management and operation of the hunting camps caused that company to fold. Sixty-eight hunts were cancelled. To the best of our knowledge, all deposits and hunt payments were fully refunded back then.....