stefansson-wrangel-09-29-036

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185

whenever he wakes up. At something over a hundred yards the seal will see you.
He then studies you carefully for several minutes, occasionally lowering his
head and pretending to sleep but really 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. 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 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 an incline of a wet, slippery mound of ice. The
mere shock of instant death may start him slipping and it happens occasionally
that the body 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. even though There is enough buoyancy in the lungs
and blubber to make him rise. but The original dive will send him twenty or thirty
feet diagonally down and he will come up under the ice where you cannot reach
him.

Knight has 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

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