The following, provided courtesy George C. Collier, is an exerpt from a book version of a PhD dissertation in Anthropology which applied ecological foraging theories to Inuit hunting. It contains a lot of interesting data on the energy and time budgets for modern Inuit hunters.

Inujjuamiut Foraging Strategies

E. Smith, Aldine De Gruyter New York, 1991, pg. 383-34

A number of authors with more expertise in the matter than I have discussed the pros and cons of snowmobiles versus dogteams in Inuit hunting (e.g., Graburn 1969a, 162ff; Loren Smith 1972; Freeman 1984c); there is no to repeat their arguments here. However, I do think it worthwhile to attempt an estimate, even if approximate, of the relative labor costs involved in reproducing these two modes of transport. I have already detailed a method for calculating the labor cost of using snowmobiles, via conversion of dollars into the labor time (and energy) entailed in earning the cash expended for capital equipment, maintenance, and operation. Using these figures, and the mean earning rate of $7/hr, this would mean about 500 hr per hunter per annum. To calculate a comparable figure for the dogs, we need to know the answers to three questions, how much does a dog eat, how many dogs in a team, and how much time would a hunter spend in provisioning and otherwise caring for his team?

The first question is the easiest to ascertain. Of the several estimates available, I have selected two: that of Saladin d'Anglure (1984a:491, after Saladin d'Anglure 1967), based on research on the Ungava Bay side of the peninsula, and that give by Riewe (1977:634) from his work in Grise Fiord in the high arctic. The former gives a rough figure of 400 kg of meat and fat per dog per year, while the latter calculates consumption at 680,000 kcal/dog/year. Comparability of these two estimates is complicated by differences in the type of food involved. Riewe specifies walrus as the main ingredient, whereas Saladin d'Anglure says only "meat and fat," suggesting a diet fairly rich in blubber but in any case containing a variety of game. For want of a better estimate, we can take the mean caloric value of the prey harvested by the Inujjuamiut as an estimate for the unit value of Saladin d'Anglure's 400 kg; this amounts to 1650 kcal/kg, or a total of 660,000 kcal/dog/year -- remarkably close to Riewe's figure. The mean of these two estimates comes to 1840 kcal/dog/day, or just over 1.1 kg/dog/day, the estimate adopted here.

The next question -- how many dogs in a team? -- is somewhat less amenable to a precise answer. As noted in Chapter 4, the size of dog teams among the Inujjuamiut and other Inuit is known to have fluctuated considerably over the postcontact period [precontact it was between 2-5 dogs pg. ], reaching its maximum during the height of the fur-trade era when high cash incomes allowed the purchase of Peterheads [boats] and whaleboats for provisioning large dogteams via walrus hunts. Although exact numbers are not available Inujjuamiut, information on the adjacent Taqramiut indicate that a century ago team size varied from 1 to 10 per household (Graburn 1969a:44, quoting Tuttle 1885:65), while in the early 1960s, just prior to the adoption of snowmobiles, the dog population in Sugluk numbered "almost as many as the human population" (Graburn 1969:162). Each of these figures would justify a rough estimate of ca. 5 dogs per household. More precise numbers are given in Riewe (1977:634), who states a pre snowmobile estimate of 150 for the 96 Inuit of Grise Fjord, divided amount 18 families and as many adult male hunters. This averages 8.3 dogs/hunter. Keeping in mind that many Inujjuamiut not longer run long traplines, I settled on a figure of 7 dogs/team as my benchmark of what an average team size would be if snowmobiles were replaced by dogs in the contemporary foraging economy.

Using the dog consumption estimates summarized above, and the 7-dog team, we get an annual dogfood requirement of over 4.7 X 10^6 kcal per household (or per active hunter). Assuming this is all in the form of country food, each team would require over 2850 kg of meat and fat per year. Some of this food could be supplied from discarded portions of the existing harvest (e.g., offal, whalemeat, excess blubber), but surely this could only cover a fraction of the total demand. Assuming (generously) that this discard could contribute 20% of the required dog provisions, the need for additional harvest can be reduced to 2280 kg per team. If we assume further that the harvest rate would be the mean rate measured in this study (1.53 kg/h-hr [hunter hour]) we obtain an estimated labor cost of provisioning a dog team of nearly 1500 hours. Although this at best a rough estimate, it is so much larger than the 500 hr figure estimated for snowmobile labor investment that I think the burden of proof falls on those who would assert that the Inujjuamiut shift from dogteams to snowmachines is economically irrational.

To supply the full annual requirement of 2850 kg for a 7-dog team from these rather specialized hunts under extremely favorable conditions would thus require some 500 h-hr of hunting and butching time alone; if we reduce demand by 20% to represent use of scraps from other kills (see above), the requirement falls to 400 h-hr.