stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-007

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- 7 -

and started east to bring back a 4 x 6 plank that had been found a few days
previous. About two miles east of camp I came to fresh bear tracks going
east. The dogs immediately became excited and when I got them stopped I
saw the bear a quarter of a mile ahead. Having an empty sled and no place
to tie the dogs I returned to camp . . . . . We did not go back after the
bear for we already have the carcass of one out on the tundra and no way to
bring it in."

This entry and many others like it in Knight's diary have
been the basis for the criticism clearly implied in Noice’s version of the
story and definitely stated in various newspapers, to the effect that the
Wrangell party were either lazy or incompetent if not both. Before stating a
disagreement with that view we will consider the general practice of those who
live by hunting. We can then see what the attitude of those who live by hunt-
ing must necessarily be towards a narrative such as that of Lorne Knight's diary.

The summer of 1910 we found ourselves in a position typical
for white, Indian or Eskimo hunters in a country where game is scarce. We
were then on the Coppermine River, just a little north of the arctic circle.
Game was unusually scarce; all the cows and younger caribou had left the
country and there were only straggling bulls, found singly or in pairs. I
would frequently hunt from ten to twenty hours before seeing the first caribou,
and it might then take from one to several hours to make the approach. When
the animal was killed I would spend an hour or two cutting the bones out of
the meat to make it lighter, for I knew that any meat left behind would be
eaten within a few hours by wolves, wolverines, ravens or gulls. I would then
make up a back load of anything from seventy-five to a hundred and twenty-five
pounds and carry it home, sometimes as far as twenty miles. This, as we have
said, is bound to be the ordinary routine of a hunter's life when traveling
with a party through a section where game is scarce.

Critics who know this have said that here in Wrangell Island
was a much simpler situation but one which the party completely failed to meet.
The abundance of fox and bear tracks showed that these animals were certain to

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