stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-030

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Samara Cary at May 15, 2024 07:52 PM

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-030

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and put a bullet through his brain. Then you drop your rifle and run as fast
as you can, for the seal is lying on a wet, slippery mound of ice. The
mere shock of instant death may start him sliding and it happens occasionally
that the seal will slide into the water and be lost. Sometimes you get there
just in time to manage to grasp a flipper as it is disappearing. This sliding
of the killed animal is the reason why a shot at a hundred and fifty or
two hundred yards is impracticable even for the best marksman. You may kill
your seal but you won't get him although there is enough buoyancy in the
lungs and blubber to make him rise. The original dive will send the seal
twenty or thirty feet down and he will come up under the ice where you cannot
reach him.

Knight records a typical entry of this spring under date
of May 28th. "After breakfast four seals appeared on the ice and Crawford,
Maurer and Galle each went after one, Crawford fired at too great distance
and his seal went down. Maurer's and Galle’s seals went down (before they had
a chance to fire) and they each lay near the holes but the seals did not
return. A fog then arose and all hands returned to camp. While they were
away I saw a great many bands of geese flying north. Three bands of ducks
flew West. One band, I am sure, were "old squaws" but the others I was
unable to determine. A single tern also flew west. I later took a walk up
the . . . river and saw the first snipe of the year, a "kill deer," I think.
Saw one very fresh fox track. A lemming came out of his hole near camp,
making the first one of them that we have seen this season. Needless to say
that I am still cooking dog feed."

By the end of May the Wrangell Island summer had come.
The maximum in the shade was 52° although the minimum on the last of May was
ten degrees below xx freezing (22° F.). This maximum of 52° on the seacoast
probably meant that fifteen or twenty miles inland the temperature would have

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-030

- 30 -

and put a bullet through his brain. Then you drop your rifle and run as fast
as you can, for the seal is lying on a wet, slippery mound of ice. The
mere shock of instant death may start him sliding and it happens occasionally
that the seal will slide into the water and be lost. Sometimes you get there
just in time to manage to grasp a flipper as it is disappearing. This sliding
of the killed animal is the reason why a shot at a hundred and fifty or
two hundred yards is impracticable even for the best marksman. You may kill
your seal but you won't get him although there is enough buoyancy in the
lungs and blubber to make him rise. The original dive will send the seal
twenty or thirty feet down and he will come up under the ice where you cannot
reach him.

Knight records a typical entry of this spring under date
of May 28th. "After breakfast four seals appeared on the ice and Crawford,
Maurer and Galle each went after one, Crawford fired at too great distance
and his seal went down. Maurer's and Galle’s seals went down (before they had
a chance to fire) and they each lay near the holes but the seals did not
return. A fog then arose and all hands returned to camp. While they were
away I saw a great many bands of geese flying north. Three bands of ducks
flew West. One band, I am sure, were "old squaws" but the others I was
unable to determine. A single tern also flew west. I later took a walk up
the . . . river and saw the first snipe of the year, a "kill deer," I think.
Saw one very fresh fox track. A lemming came out of his hole near camp,
making the first one of them that we have seen this season. Needless to say
that I am still cooking dog feed."

By the end of May the Wrangell Island summer had come.
The maximum in the shade was 52° although the minimum on the last of May was
ten degrees below xx freezing (22° F.). This maximum of 52° on the seacoast
probably meant that fifteen or twenty miles inland the temperature would have