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have begun to pour their incessant sunshine upon the frozen sea, the seal comes out upon the ice to enjoy a sun-bath, and then is approached and slain by the treacherous hunter, who has succeeded in convincing him that he is only another seal.
Walrus are approached in a similar manner on the ice, and are sometimes struck in the water from the edge of the ice-pack.
A most novel and interesting method of bird-catching is practiced during the spring and early summer, while the ducks and geese are molting and unable to fly. The Esquimaux puts his kyack-that is, his
seal-skin canoe-on his head, like an immense hat, and repairs to the big lake, or the sea-side, where he has seen the helpless birds swimming and feeding in the water. Here he launches his frail bark, and, when seated, which is not always accomplished without a ducking, takes his doublebladed oar in his hands, and at once starts in pursuit of the game. Before him, on his kyack, where he can seize it at the proper moment, lies his duck-spear, together with other implements of the chase. Cautiously approaching the featherless flock, he sometimes gets quite near before his presence is
observed, but even then, before he is within striking distance, there is a great spluttering in the water, as the band scatters in every direction, vainly beating the water with the curious-looking stumps that soon will wear their plumage and once more do duty as wings. Some dive below the surface and come up a great way off, and always just where you are not looking for them; but as the flock takes alarm, the hunter dashes forward, feeling the necessity for speed rather than for caution. He is soon within fifteen or twenty feet of the struggling mass, and, seizing a curious-looking spear, with three barbs of unequal length, he poises it for a moment in the air, and then hurls it with unerring aim at the devoted bird, impaling it with a sharpened iron or bone spike in the center of the barbs. The handle of the spear is of wood, and floats on the surface of the water, so that the hunter can recover his weapon and the game at his leisure.
In some sections of the Arctic, the game thus captured forms a great staple of food; for winter use the birds are packed in bales of about three feet in length and two feet square on the ends, looking very much like small bales of cotton that have been tarred and feathered, for it must be remembered that the inside and outside of the birds remain intact when packed away. is no objection to an Esquimaux palate that they decay before winter freezes the bale as solid as a rock.
While traveling through the Ookjoolik country, on the west coast of Adelaide Peninsula, we found the natives well supplied with this delicacy, and did not hesitate to accept some of the many cordial invitations to game dinners that we received from these hospitable savages. We found here, also, that the natives were supplied with goose-grease preserved in bags for winter use, and a most seasonable and dainty fare it proved to be. Salmon-oil is also similarly preserved, and is equally palatable. In a temperate climate it would probably seem objectionable, but in the Arctic winter everything of that character is demanded by the system, and, fortunately, instead of proving nauseous, is really delicious. The roe-called by the natives shu-way of the salmon is kept in bags, and only needs pickling to rival the famous Russian caviare.
Nearly all the rivers and lakes that empty into the Arctic seas are filled with fish, usually salmon and trout of unusual size. Pahpah, an aged Inuit from Amitkoke,
which is about half-way up the Melville Peninsula, on the Fox Channel side, told me that in an immense lake near his old home were salmon "as large as a man," and so strong, that, in capturing them, occasionally the fishermen were drawn into the lake. They sometimes caught them by striking them with a seal spear, the head of which separates from the shaft and turns in the wound like a harpoon. These, however, were larger than the usual salmon, though I saw some, while on Back's Great Fish River, that would measure more than twelve inches across. As a general thing, they are speared while passing the rapids; their bodies are then piled upon the ground, and stones are built around and over them to protect them from the ravages of wolves and wolverine. Like the ducks and geese, they are "cachéd" without cleaning, and the summer sun soon reduces them to a condition that would seriously impair their value at a Fulton Market stand. Around the numerous rapids in the vicinity of our igloos, at the point on the river which is marked as the Dangerous Rapids, and is known to the natives as E-tam Nartz-zook, we found a great many caches, covering several tons of fish. The rapids occur at intervals of a mile or two for a distance of about ten miles, and it was here that Lieutenant Back, upon the voyage in which he discovered the river, was compelled to disembark and convey his boats and material by portages, a task in which he was materially assisted by the natives.
It is more the position than the nature of the animal hunted which gives the spice of danger to the sport, and adds the excitement of action to the chase. Sealhunting through the ice is intensely monotonous and dull, while, on the contrary, when the seal is lying upon the ice, half dreaming and half awake, on the slippery edge of his hole, the question as to whether or not the devices to deceive and insnare him will prove successful adds great interest to the work, which increases in proportion as the distance between the sportsman and his game diminishes. It is no unusual experience to see the provoking animal slip swiftly into his hole just as the hunter is about to pose himself for a shot or to throw his spear. This occurs, perhaps, after about an hour's work in sliding closer and closer to the seal, while he is lying upon one side, the hunter hitching himself along during the occasional naps indulged in by the unsuspecting animal. But so
tomed is he to such a termination of the chase that he merely arises from his recumbent position, says, “ Mar-me-an-nar," and, lighting his pipe, strolls off to look for another opportunity.
So is it with bear-hunting. While the bear is in the water, and the hunter follows him in a boat, there is little excitement in the sport; but when upon the ice, and the bear is seen before he knows that danger is near, then there is something feverish in the hasty and whispered preparations for the chase. The load is unceremoniously dumped upon the ice, and the hunters, seating themselves upon the sled, drive off in the direction of the bear. The dogs, relieved of the weighty load, imagine that something is about to happen, and dash ahead, their ears erect and turned forward, their eyes eagerly scanning their limited horizon. Presently they see the huge beast before them, or the wind brings a sniff of bear's grease to their hungry nostrils, and then they are off with a will. Nothing can exceed the impetuosity with which they now fly along, each one straining every nerve to reach the distant foe, the sled swinging from side to side, splashing through shallow pools in the ice, or bridging an ice-crack that tries the mettle of the best jumpers in the team, and compels the others to swim. Once in a while, the best efforts of the driver cannot prevent the front end of the sled coming in contact with a hummock that brings the vehicle to an abrupt stand, and sends the team sprawling in every direction. Again released from its arrest, the excitement increases when the majestic animal is seen more distinctly, as the sled draws nigher. It is not long now before instinct warns him of approaching danger, and, pausing in his leisurely walk in search of a sleeping seal, he turns around to survey the surface of the level ice. He soon recognizes an enemy, and away he goes at full speed, with a rocking, lumbering canter that impresses you more with his size and strength than with his grace.
rushes at the most importunate of his foes, who eludes him with true canine dexterity. Occasionally he rises upon his haunches and strikes out furiously with his fore paws. Woe to the dog within reach of that terrible blow, for his fate is sealed. Sometimes an unfortunate brute comes near enough to be caught and squeezed in an embrace that nothing but death can loosen. And now the hunters come panting upon the scene of action, and have to use great care to avoid killing their faithful dogs, as I have known them to be killed, by the bullet passing entirely through the bear and striking the dog on the other side. A rifle, or pistol, is the favorite weapon in these days, when most of the hunters have firearms, but a few years ago they were not so well supplied, and relied upon the spear, with an iron barb, or one made of walrus tusk, worked to the proper shape and sharpened to the greatest possible extent. With such miserable weapons these brave Esquimaux do not hesitate to attack the polar bear, the largest and one of the most ferocious of his species. They rely upon the dogs engaging the attention of the animal while they come in to their support, but often the enraged beast turns from his little tormenters and attacks his still more dangerous foe, the hunter, who now needs. all his coolness and skill to overcome his adversary. At Depot Island, in North Hudson Bay, during the summer of 1880, I met an old man named Noo-loo, the top of whose head had been bitten off in a contest with a bear. Few people can boast of such an experience as this. Had it been dragged off with a ponderous claw it would have seemed strange enough, but to have had it bitten off seems to indicate a proximity that must needs be decidedly unpleasant.
Now the hunter leans forward, and with his knife severs the traces of the team, and follows them as fast as his sinewy legs can carry him, reckless of water-holes and icecracks, his whole soul bent upon coming up with the bear at bay, in time to get the first bullet into the body, in which case the carcass belongs to him. The dogs have now come up with Bruin, and, snapping at his heels, compel him to halt and defend himself. Turning around and growling angrily, he lowers his head, and with opened mouth
On the 3d of July,-the day we reached Cape Felix, the most northerly part of King William's Land,-Too-loo-ah, one of the best men I ever met in any land, chased a polar bear about ten miles out on the ice of Victoria Straits, in a nearly northerly direction. The chase is described in the foregoing paragraph, but when Tooloo-ah came up, and before he could get a chance for a shot, the bear, disregarding the dogs, made a rush for the active young hunter that almost brought his heart into his mouth. Recovering his composure in good season, he sent three bullets from his Winchester rifle, backed by a charge of seventy-five grains of powder behind each,
right into the animal's skull, and the huge beast lay dead almost at his feet.
Not so exciting as this was a chase we had in a whale-boat in Hudson Bay, in August of 1880, when two bears were killed. We first saw them asleep on a cake of icea mother and cub-and lowered a boat to capture them. Lieutenant Schwatka, the mate of the vessel, and the writer, got into the boat, armed with rifles; but the bears had an impression that danger was brooding, for they lowered themselves into the water and swam for dear life. The cub kept close to his mother; and occasionally rested himself by riding on her back. Closer and closer came the boat, and no amount of exertion on their part seemed sufficient to draw them away from their pursuers. When within about forty yards of them, they clambered out on a cake of ice and stood at bay. The mother crouched upon her haunches, swinging her head from side to side, growling all the while, and bidding defiance to her enemies. Lieutenant Schwatka, who was seated in the bow of the boat, sent a bullet from his magazine gun through the old bear's backbone; he had aimed at the heart and the motion of the boat had thrown him out that much. It was an effective shot, nevertheless, and the huge animal was rendered powerless by it. Just then the mate, who sat beside Lieutenant Schwatka in the bow, got a good chance, and shot her through
clung to his mother's body with the most touching fidelity, vainly endeavoring to cover her with his little body, and protect her from her adversaries. Occasionally he would pause from licking her wounds, and, rising on his hind legs, would growl defiance at us, and smite the air with his little paws. He was not a foe to be despised, for already he was nearly as large as a Newfoundland dog, and had teeth like a wolf, which we had occasion to notice when he opened his mouth so as to display them all. The boat was rowed to the opposite side of the cake of ice, and Lieutenant Schwatka, recalling his experiences on the plains, landed, holding in his hand a lance-warp, with a slip-noose in the end, and, after several ineffectual attempts, finally succeeded in throwing the noose over the cub's head, whereby he was dragged into the water and towed, with his mother's lifeless body, alongside of the ship, where he was hoisted on deck. To say that he was angry would scarcely indicate the fury he expressed. He bit at the rope that held him in bondage, and growled most terrifically and incessantly, and, when on deck, flew at everybody that came near him. Two ropes were attached to him-one around his neck and the other around his hind leg-and, tied to opposite sides of the ship, kept him reasonably safe. The captain, however, when he
came on deck, ordered him killed, and the mate put him out of the way with a bullet from his pistol. I could not bear to see the cunning little rascal shot, and went below before the tragedy.
Lieutenant Schwatka felt especially grieved at his fate, for he had hoped to bring him home, a living
witness to his prowess. It
the head, ending her career then and there. would have been easy enough to have shot her at any time, but there was a risk of killing the cub, which we were very anxious to capture alive. Now that the mother was hors du combat, all our energies were devoted toward securing the little fellow, who
BEAR-HUNTING: THE ROMANCE AND THE REALITY.
does not fall to the lot of every man to lasso a polar bear, and a picture of the affair would make such a startling illustration for the pictorial press! I could already see the event spread before the public with two immense polar bears standing erect, their mouths opened to the fullest capacity, and paws extended to seize the intrepid Schwatka as he advanced to the attack, swinging his lasso around his head. To show him what a fine subject it was, I made a rough sketch of it. But on the other page I sketched the occurrence as
it really was, and presented the contrast: the big bear dead upon the ice and the little cub standing over the body, while the brave lieutenant held on to the gunwale of the boat with his left hand, to keep from falling on the slippery ice as he threw the rope with his right.
If it were not for the inconvenience they put you to, and the fact that carrying a heavy load upon your back has the effect of quieting any tendency to inordinate mirth, a pack of dogs loaded for the march would afford no end of amusement. In