THE POLAR STORIES
Hunting for seals and bearded seals, noisy hotels for sledge dogs
and everyday life of the people who live in the winter huts

Winter hut Omulyovaya, the 1970s
A photo from Gennady Potapov`s archive
Since Mangazeya times, the fur and sea animals were the most expensive goods in the North of Siberia. At that time the coasts of the Yeniseyskiy and Pyasinskiy bays were already full of spread winter huts belonged to the Russian industrialists who earned their living by hunting and selling the fur of sables. The very large-scale development of the trade in the Yenisey North began in the 20th century at the time of the trade development of the North Sea path.

Since the 1930s hunters' field artels began to appear along the coastline of the Kara Sea. The hunters went shooting white whales, seals, sea hares and walruses. At the same time the Dikson trade-hunting station appeared. Omulyovaya, Lemberova, Uboynaya, Zalideevo, Staromorzhovoye, Domba and Kamenka are the Russian industrialists' old winter huts which were made habitable by the hunters and fishermen again during the USSR times. The Dikson trade-hunting station was one and a half kilometers to the South from the modern settlement, there used to be some wooden residential houses and an administrative building there. After hunting seasons the hunters and fishermen went to the station to deliver the furs, to share their experiences and to tell each other some tundra tales. At the same place stayed big covered khatuhi for the northern dogs. They were a kind of inns for dogs, included the rooms with ovens and huge kettles where the food for the four-feeted was prepared. "The scenes that took place here sometimes reminded of fragments from the Jack London’s northern stories: the rocky coast of the Ice Ocean, hummocks, snowdrifts, the hunters and fishermen with beards and weather-beaten faces, big shaggy dogs harnessed to the sledges and their many-voiced bark."

During the war years the fishing trade was also developed in the North because "the mainland" was lack of food. In 1955 the fish-factory was built on Dikson which was the reason of making new trade points and winter huts. The Dikson people who went to the winter huts to spend the whole winters and came back for holidays only were called the winterer; their children were usually educated in the boarding schools where they also lived. "Procurement of firewoods, repair of the hut, keeping the team of dogs, provision of the necessary facilities in the hunting area, everyday detour of the traps in the winter time, hunting for deers and catching fish to feed the family, white whales and seals to attract and feed the dogs", reflected the hunter Boris Fadeev in his diary, adding that the trade required enormous strengths and good health.

The Dikson trade-hunting station worked until the middle of the 1960s. The fish-factory was closed in 1990s.