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explanations, I concluded I could do it whenever the
necessity arose and did not trouble to practice till the
necessity did arise. I followed the same plan with others
later. In 1917, for instance, we were 500 miles from the
nearest people or supplies when I, who had been doing
the hunting, sprained my ankle so badly that I knew I
would not be able to walk for a month. Neither of my
companions had ever secured a seal by the crawling
method and we were in a region where that was the
only practicable way. But we all had confidence in our
theories and they bundled me up on the sled (no one on
any of my expeditions ever rode instead of walking un-
less he were ill or injured) and we continued traveling
away from home. When the occasion arose, I explained
over again to one of the men, Karsten Andersen how a
seal should be approached and killed. He did exactly as
he was told and after an hour’s crawling got his first seal.3

I have always maintained that the method can be
learned from a book but I have always added that direc-
tions must be followed explicitly and that if the beginner
fails it will be because he lacks the patience to follow
every rule. A beginner “takes chances,” the seal discovers
that the hunter is not a seal, and dives. It is evident
from Knight’s diary that the Wrangel party were always
in too much of a hurry—they tried to make in one hour
an approach that required three. Knight had killed a
great many seals on my 1913-1918 expedition, especially
in 1918 when he was on the seven-month ice drift with
Storkerson two hundred miles north of Alaska, but he
had never tried the crawling method. He felt, however,
when we discussed this before the Wrangel party sailed

3 See Chapter L, “The Friendly Arctic.” Mr. Noice gives his version of
the same circumstances pp. 127-218 “With Stefansson in the Arctic.”

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