Hunters Make Amends After Killing Sacred White Moose


Hunting big game on the lands of indigenous people carries with it a unique responsibility, as one New Brunswick hunter recently learned. Native peoples may have special beliefs and customs about birds and animals, so it’s best to know their customs before you hunt. I once killed an American bison (buffalo) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Although tatanka has special significance to the tribe, the old bull had become dangerous and I hunted it at their request. After downing the magnificent beast with an arrow, the tribe conducted a special ceremony which I was not allowed to attend.

This albino moose hunt has been reported on several sites and on The Weather Channel, but as usual, those with an agenda termed it “murder” and “slaughter.” does an excellent job of reporting the facts:

200901220858-300x225[1]Hunters who killed an albino moose later admitted to making a mistake after being chastised by local aboriginal communities. The rare creature is considered to be a sacred symbol to the Mi’kmaq people, who call it a Spirit Moose, but according to Jim Hnatiuks, the owner of a hunting and taxidermy store in Lantz, Nova Scotia, the hunters had no idea.

“The hunters are saying, ‘We wouldn’t have shot the moose if we had known it meant that much,’” Hnatiuks told CTV News.

After taking down the moose on their hunting trip in the Cape Breton Highlands, the hunters brought the animal to Hnatiuks’ store to be stuffed and mounted, having no knowledge they had killed a Spirit Moose. “They thought they had a successful moose hunt,” Hnatiuks said. “It was odd that they shot a white moose, but to find out, wow, there’s a lot more behind it…”

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.