Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bison hunters

It's a beautiful day! Before 10 am i am off skiing.(what's new?)
I leave kind of in a rush, because my family members are bugging me.
Ah, it had to be, so thank you boys.
As i am happily gliding along. Seeing lots of fresh tracks (this morning's) from big ungulates. A thought comes into my mind, that i actually don't even know what to do in case i have a close encounter with a Bison.
Bison are fairly recent around here.
I come out of the forest and there they are!

This photo totally zoomed in, i guess they are half a kilometer away from me.
I first ski towards them a bit, following the trail and then turn South towards the mendenhall river. They never even move.
I ski away from them and soon they are out of sight. I suddenly here a gun shot, it seems farther away then the Bison.
The sound of the shot does hurt me right in the gut....

The river is all frozen again, with 2 inches of fresh snow.
skiing the string of pearls. (the meadows)
Through forest, into the willow swamp.
2 hours later, coming to pond creek.
It is totally frozen! I had hoped for at least some open water.
I follow the creek, coming out of Jo-Jo. I have never gone this way before. I love that, and following little creeks is always a delight.
I hear or see no open water, untill

A big hole! it drops down almost 2 meters from the top, where you see the tip of my ski. There is ice way below and 2 openings, and the sound of running water!
I sit in a beautiful willow chair (bush) and you know what, i will have a sun tan, before all you out there. (well some of you probably already have a tan)

I try to take a picture of the hole, as the crystals on the side are 2 inches long, one ice crystal!

One could stay here forever....
On the way back my companions the birds; chickadees always cheerful, grey jays checking me out, woodpeckers drumming. And i talk with a raven, at the the end he says something i cannot repeat,
I carry on, but as i come off the Mendenhall river, he flies overhead and into the direction of where i saw the bison this morning.
Suddenly i see at that spot, some bright orange creatures.
Hunters. I make a b-line, and ski towards them.
Indeed they took down an animal this morning. They had seen me, and wondered if they scared me. They were very nice, and taking good care of the meat, taking everything home except the guts. which to me are all good hunting ethics.
The land provides us with all we need.
the animal
the herd
and great provider


Robert V. Sobczak said...

Whoa! That hole sounds sort of dangerous. It reminds me of the "Call of the Wild" Jack London story where the protagonist falls through the ice, into a stream of water ...

Be careful!

jozien said...

I know! and i will be careful. At least there are no crocodiles here, lurking under water.

christopher said...

Yes, both reactions, the pain and loss, then the acceptance that the earth provides, that life eats life.

I will never hunt. To me this is not necessary. As a child I killed animals and found my heart twisted in it. I enjoyed it and knew it was sick, the feeling was sick. I will not explain except to say that killing like that is not for me. I would be lost, might never recover.

RachelW said...

Jozien, this distresses me terribly, the story of the hunters. It would frighten me to encounter them.

I live without meat, happily. I've been vegetarian for my entire adult life, and my kids have never eaten meat. I'm vegan these days. So I find it hard to sympathise with the hunters, not seeing any need in taking the lives of animals to support our survival. Those shot sounds would hit me in the pit of my stomach, too. And I would grieve for the herd animals that have lost one of their companions, irrevocably.

Be careful around those holes! It sounds like it's becoming less safe for snowmobiles.

Cicero Sings said...

I haven't been keeping up like a should being away from my own computer and all but just thought I'd stop by and say HI! What an interesting hole you found ... and the crystals! I'm glad the hunters were doing it up right ... using everything. Trophy hunting ... now that is another matter!!

Faith said...


I think of you everytime I walk in the tame woods I have here in our town. I think of your wilderness and your bravery. And I look at the tops of the trees -- white pine and beech-- and watch the wind blowing and the crows flying overhead...and I think of you.

I am also a vegetarian but not vegan like Rachel -- I have friends who hunt -- mostly deer-- Sometimes it is hard for me to understand, and yet, this feeds their family through the winter.

When my daughter was 2, we used to sometimes eat chicken -- until she said one day after reading a book with me "Chickens are too cute too eat" That was the end of that:).

Be safe in your wilderness Northern Goddess.:)

jozien said...

Hi, i am going to say something about the hole.
The creek i was on, i always like to go there in winter, because most years it stays open. This year with the way the overflow was, it created a high ceiling of ice, and snowed over. I don't know why the hole was where it was.
Always expecting the unexpected.
Thank you for reminding me to always be careful.

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RachelW said...

I have a story a lot like Faith's... we used to eat fish, off and on, but eventually my kids put a stop to it. My daughter made some really sweet posters with a picture of a fish, a hook, and a circle with a line through it over the whole thing. She did that when she was about four years old, and there is one on the fridge still. :) I love how this parenting thing is such an evolving process, with lessons being taught and learned both ways.