Grey whale shot with machine gun

According to MS-NBC.

Question: Did the Makah really shoot a whale with a machine gun? If so, where did they get it? Machine guns are illegal in Washington. Or did they use a .50 cal. Barret semi-auto or bolt-action?

The news report I saw stated that it had been shot up to eighteen times after being harpooned, but didn’t mention a machine gun.

They also ran an interview with a Makah who knows the accused, and he basically said he had no idea WTF they were thinking.

Why is it relevant that the man is a Native American?


Indians have special rules and regulations regarding whale-hunting granted to them by the US and the IWC. The Makah tribe in particular is noted for its disregard of animal rights protests.

Pending further info, I’d say this is substantially more likely.

Yes it seems unlikely that someone is fishing with an illegal machine gun that is over 5 feet long and expects to keep it hidden from the authorities. A .50cal MG is hardly concealable. More likely it was a legal semi auto of the same caliber.

Yes, it sounds like the reporter is making fun of the cultural tradition of machine-gunning whales.

I’ve always wanted to do this personally, but had to settle for live-trapping woodchucks.

Combine the lack of media knowledge of firearms and peoples’ tendency to exaggerate, and you get a lot of tall tales about machine guns.


I thought they’d killed one legally a while back with a Barrett semi-auto! Or was that another tribe?

Pro-animal rights, anti-gun, and anti-Native American biases aside, Native Americans and Canadians do in some instances follow different game laws than the rest of us. And in most, if not all instances, the use of modern firearms are allowed.

The Makah did legally hunt a grey whale back in 1999 and 2000 (I think they only killed one whale in one of those years, although they hunted in both.) They use some sort of specialized high-caliber rifle, but not a machine gun. AFAIK, they are the only U.S. tribe allowed to hunt whales, and their quota is actually shared with that of indigenous tribes in the Chukotka region of Russia.

The article says that the people arrested were involved in the 1999 hunt, so I would imagine the equipment they used was probably the same.

It’s a real sad situation, kind of a lose-lose-lose.

The whale obviously lost, it’s been declared dead.

The tribe may now have more difficulty continuing the hunt now that some members have gone off without legal permission on their own.

The hunters are going to jail and may face substantial fines.


In any case, I hope the people responsible serve serious jail time and get fined out the wazoo. You want to whale like your ancestors, then use the same equipment they did. Otherwise, stay at home and shut up.

The article linked to has apparently been changed.


Here’s the link again.

They hit the whale with a traditional weapon and quickly kill it with a large caliber rifle so that it suffers less than it would towing a canoe about by the harpoon impaling it:

Its legal, so long as right before you shoot you shout:

"He’s coming right for us!!!


They might be the only tribe in the lower 48 allowed to legally hunt whales, but legal whaling is routine in Alaska.

Ack! You’re right - I forgot about Alaska. :o

Do they hunt any whales besides Bowheads up there?