stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-029

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you and that when he does see you your success will have to depend on your
ability to convince him that he is looking at something that is not dangerous.
The easiest, and practically the only way of doing that, is to pretend that you
yourself are a seal. For that purpose the hunter should dress in dark cloth-
ing and should begin crawling snake fashion while he is still so far away
that the seal cannot see him - say four or five hundred yards. The seal on
first crawling out on the ice spends a minute or so in looking about for a
possible bear. When he had made up his mind that there are no bears near,
he begins to take naps but he does not try to take long ones. I have frequently
timed the waking and sleeping intervals of seals for hours, and have found
that they seldom sleep as much as a minute and a half and that the average
nap is a good deal less than a minute. At the end of each nap he lifts his
head about twelve or eighteen inches, makes a complete survey of the horizon
for from five to ten or twenty seconds and then drops to sleep again, perhaps
for fifteen seconds, perhaps for a minute.

The hunter crawls ahead while the seal is sleeping and
stops whenever it wakes up. At something over a hundred yards the seal will
see you. He then watches you carefully for several minutes at a time,
occasionally lowering his head and pretending to sleep but actually watching
intently. During this period you must behave exactly like a seal. After
dropping your head on the ice, you should raise it and look around for
several seconds before dropping it on the ice again. It is preferable also
to wriggle around as if you were itching and trying to scratch yourself on
the ice, for seals are infested with a sort of louse which makes them wriggle
and scratch continually. With care and patience you should be able to get
within fifteen yards of a seal in two hours time. An expert hunter gets at
least two out of three and sometimes three out of four of the seals he goes
after. When within shooting distance you wait till the seal raises his head

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