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devour any meat left exposed for a day or more. Then there were the sea-
gulls and ravens, which Knight frequently mentions in his diary, and these
even without the larger meat enters would quickly account for a bear carcass.
The critics would say that when a single hunter as a matter of daily routine
devotes ten to twenty-five hours to the securing of a hundred-pound load of
meat, it is absurdly simple for five sturdy people such as the Wrangell Island
party to go out two miles and bring home five back loads averaging one hundred
pounds each. With the bones cut out this would be all the meat of even a large
bear; with the bones left in, the entire carcass could be brought home with
two such trips, each round trip not occupying more than three hours.
One who desires to take this attitude will find more
material for criticism in the diary entries of the next two or three weeks.
One of them, for instance, is to the effect that Knight stepped out of the
tent and "saw bears in the every direction" but the party decided they would not
try to kill any of them because no snow had fallen as yet. They would wait
until the sledging was good and then secure the meat they needed.
The correct word for this is not "incompetence" nor
"laziness" but "over confidence" or excessive optimism, and the true explana-
During his three years on my expedition, whether under
Storkerson's immediate leadership or mine, Knight had frequently seen our meat
supply dwindle until we were traveling with almost empty sledges in a region
where no human being had ever been before and where we had no knowledge of
game conditions except the general theory xxxx we held about the Arctic as a
whole. In one or two of these cases we had been compelled to go on half
rations for a few days but that had never been directly the result of absence
of game but due to some special circumstance, as out great hurry to reach a
given destination and the consequant unwillingness to pause for hunting. The
Notes and Questions
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