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Between February 26th and March 1st Maurer and Galle made a trip twenty or twenty-five miles east along the coast to visit Rodger's Harbor, the site of the main camp of the Karluk crew while they were on Wrangell Island. The scene was familiar to Maurer and they found everything as it had been left by our men in 1914 except for the inevitable effects of wind and weather. They saw "a few fairly fresh bear tracks but no bears." Although this was about the coldest week of the year, with the temperature ranging between -16° and -42°, the trip seems to have been made in entire comfort for that aspect is not even mentioned.

In March Crawford and Maurer again began to spend part of the time at the trapping camp. A few foxes were caught and tracks of bears were frequently seen, but bad luck in not seeing the bears themselves began to be monotonous. Ravens were occasionally seen but there is no mention of other birds in February or March.

March 22nd "Crawford and I would like to make a trip around the island but the question is dog feed. I am still cooking for them and could also cook for them while traveling although it would be a nuisance. We are like Mr. Micawber, waiting for something to turn up, and we are keeping a good lookout for bears."

There was a slight turn in the hunting luck when on April 16th three bears were seen and two of them secured, an old one and a cub. April 26th they saw another bear with a cub but made the mistake of trying to get them with dogs instead of by careful stalking. Two or three fairly good hunting dogs will usually stop a bear on level ice, but not always. In rough ice the rule is that the bear cannot be stopped by dogs and the danger is also correspondingly greater to the dogs. In this case three dogs were sent after the bear. One of them soon came back wounded, though not seriously; the other

Last edit 13 days ago by Samara Cary
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two chased the bear several hours and, although they were able to delay it some, Crawford and Galle never caught up. They could doubtless have shot the bear but one does not fire at a great distance when the bear and the dogs are almost in line and when each dog is worth ten times as much as the bear.

The method of hunting bears with dogs is inherited from the old Eskimo period when no other way was available, the weapons being bows and arrows. Even with the most powerful modern rifles some Eskimos still use dogs. This seems especially true in eastern North America and in Greenland where the arctic explorers have usually followed the Eskimo custom. It has been the experience of expeditions through ten years of living by hunting that any average hunter can secure bears two or three times as well without dogs as he can with them.

After a detailed account of the bear hunt, Knight closes the entry; "After six hours the hunters returned stating that the bear had kept on going regardless of the dogs. They saw several fairly fresh bear tracks, but the going was nearly impossible for often they sank to their waists, and to their knees at nearly every step. Fed the last of the bear meat and unless another bear appears soon shall have to start cooking again."

April on Wrangell Island was stormy and snowy. Still, it was spring. On the 28th the temperature rose to 40° F., or eight degrees above freezing. Parts of the land occasionally became bare through thawing but were covered again by the frequent snowfalls that are typically of an arctic April if you are on a seacoast or on a small island.

On april 29th Galle went for a short trip inland from which he returned in two days. "He camped the first night in the hills in a snowhouse after climbing a peak 1950 feet high (by aneroid barometer). He was unable to see very far to the north because of a ridge farther on. He then went to the other camp where he found the tent slightly damaged by a

Last edit 13 days ago by Samara Cary
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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 untenable 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 our camp from the south and landed on a bare 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 and but a little difficult in practice and requires 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 of 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

Last edit 13 days ago by Samara Cary
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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 clothing 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

Last edit 13 days ago by Samara Cary
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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

Last edit 13 days ago by Samara Cary
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