Comparative Guts

Close this search box.

Towing bladder / hunting float

keeping a hunted whale floating. Photo: Bodil Begtrup, Danish Arctic Institute

This important hunting implement, when hunting seals from a kayak is, despite of the name, usually made from the stomach of a narwhal or, if this is not available, from waterproof seal skin. Its length is usually 35-50 cm. At the open end it is heavily lashed with sinew thread to a mouthpiece or nozzle, through which the hunter can blow up the device. Attached to the line of the harpoon, the air-filled float will make the harpooned seal come to the surface. Spiritually, or symbolically the hunting float could be somehow connected to the human stomach. If a hunter’s wife was pregnant, for example, the air should be let out out of the hunting float during a thunderstorm, or her stomach could explode.