Hunter´s Dream



Truman M. Godfrey relata su experiencia como cazador en el Yukón a través de la revista Outdoor Life. Al final antlers, muskeg, stalk, shank´s mare, scion, Tlingit y un poquito sobre Outdoor Life…

Our bush pilot set us down at an unmapped lake to meet our horse train and guides. For two weeks since then we´d been riding north along the boundary between the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and were now nearing a glacial lake north of Mt. Keele.
We´d seen quite a few caribou, but none that had the hatrack antlers and long white capes we were after. Though ours was probably the first party of trophy hunters to explore this area, you´d have thought the big bulls had been warned to stay out of sight.
There were three of us looking for trophies, and it might be argued that we were all a little too old to be wallowing through the muskeg 80 miles south of the Arctic Circle. For me the trip was a present for my 70th birthday. Both my fellow hunters, John Bodman and Roy Kelly, were celebrating their retirement, each at the age of 68. But two weeks in the saddle had toughened the muscles that complained at first, and now we actually looked forward to mounting our sturdy trail horses in the morning.

It was almost dark when we sighted some good bulls high on the snowy ridge above us, so we decided to push on to the lake and make camp. We´d stalk the bulls in the norming.
The rain that fell through the night stopped at daylight. With a little imagination, you could see the weak sun behind the overcast. We rushed through breakfast and were ready to go even before the Indians got our horses saddled. Roy Kelly and I rode back to where we´d sighted the lordly bulls on the high ridges, while John Bodman hunted the other side of the lake. With Roy and me was an Indian guide called Big John, “big” meaning chief of his tribe.
As usual, Big John walked ahead of us. I don´t know whether he was allergic to horses or just preferred shank´s mare, but he never rode. We worked our way up a long, steep canyon to within half a mile of the top. From there we sighted a caribou that looked as if he´d caught some dry branches in his horns and was lugging them around.
Outdoor Life Magazine, August; 1957
Outdoor Life Magazine, August, 1957
“That´s the biggest bull we´ve seen,” said Roy in a whisper.
Big John motioned for us to get off our horses. Then, to my surprise he grabbed a handful of dry caribou moss and lighted a small fire. Soon it gave of a cloud of white smoke.
“Caribou smell smoke,” he chuckled. “No smell people.”
There was nothing taciturn about Big John once he got warmed up. No scion of a first family rattled off as much about his ancestors. His grandparents, he said, actually lived under Stone Age conditions –no firearms, not even knives or steel instruments. They were of the Big Lake tribe, which originally lived on the coast, but the warlike Tlingit Indians of southeastern Alaska drove them back into the isolated Ross River region. They found peace but had to scratch for food.
While Big John calmly fed more moss into his fire, almost as if it were a tribal ritual, he told us how his people used to roam far and wide for caribou, about their only source of food. About 20 Indians, he said, would herd the caribou to about 10 others of the party, who snared them and slaughtered them with spears made of horn. Bears? Big John said the bruins hunted his ancestors more often than the Indians hunted bears. One Indian, braver or more foolhardy than the rest, would allow a bear to chase him into along pen. Then the brave would club the bear as it stuck its head into the pen… (Outdoor Life. August, 1957)
Vocabulario
Antlers: cuernos.
Muskeg: pantano.
Stalk: perseguir.
Shank´s mare: piernas.
Scion: descendiente.
Tlingit: indígenas de la costa noroeste del Pacífico de Norteamérica.
Para saber
Outdoor Life fue fundada en Denver, Colorado en 1898. El fundador y editor, J. A. McGuire, quería que Outdoor Life fuera una revista para los hombres de deportes, escrita por deportistas, que cubriera todos los aspectos de la vida al aire libre.
Artículos relacionados
De la web
Outdoor Life, the site that developed from the vintage magazine
Want to read more from the history of the magazine? Outdoor Life in Wikipedia

Acabamos de ver en video: Linda Lovelace in an interview with Howard Dando, y Todd Smith giving tips to survive when you´re lost. Ya los comentaremos…