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bear which had made a hole in the roof of the storm shed. In two different
places he found where a female bear had given birth to cubs. Saw a few
bear and fox tracks, also several snow buntings."
About the middle of May the weather had become so
perisistently warm that the winter camp was [anbenable] any longer. It was
leaking and the surroundings had become soggy. On May 18th they pitched a
tent about a hundred yards away and moved to it. Such a camp as they had
lived in is suitable only for extremely cold weather. It was a great relief
to get into tents.
On May 25th, "shortly after breakfast a large bunch of
geese flew up the river bottom near out camp from the south and landed on a bear spot some distance up the river. .... all day we have heard (other)
geese without seeing them. In the afternoon two seals were seen on the ice
and Crawford started for them but they went down long before he got near
them. He hid near one of the holes for a long period but a cold breeze arose,
keeping them down in the water."
From this time on the spring and summer was enlivened by
the presence of great numbers of birds of various sorts. Seals, too, were
basking on top of the ice in every direction from camp nearly every day, and
the party now began to practice what the Eskimos call the "crawling method"
of hunting. This method is simple in theory xxx but a little difficult in
practice and required unlimited patience. Patience, indeed, is so important
that it is the chief characteristic and, therefore, the probable explanation
of why Maurer very quickly developed into an excellent hunter and remained
the best of the four at sealing, although there seems to have been little
difference in the hunting of the four polar bears.
Essentially the crawling method of seals depends on the
assumption that you must get within range of a basking seal without his seeing.
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