Canadian Ctories

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Location: Eastern Townships, Quebec, Canada

I'm a father, a seakayaker, a guitarist, a writer, a geocacher and a lover of all things arctic. I try to dream big, journey far, kayak well, and above all, cherish my family and friends. I believe in self-sponsorship, Team Zero and being as carbon neutral as I can.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ilatsiak - 72 - Agayuq's Bear

All three men and their dogs were in action now. Hurrying back the way Tulugak had come they followed the dogs. Noting the wind was coming directly from the south, they stayed slightly to the west so as not to excite the dogs too early. Finally cresting a hill just to the west of the trail, they peered down at the boat. Sure enough a bear was still there and was busy dragging something away from the boat. All three untied their dogs and sent them racing down the slope. The bear only looked up at the last moment and raising on ts hind legs, spun around to face the dogs.
Agayuq readied his harpoon. This was the bear he’d been given. He knew it immediately. The dogs raced about the bear howling and jumping at it. The bear would spin to give a clout to the nearest dog, but kept missing. It was obviously hungry and slower than it would have normally been. Agayuq wait for his chance. He was only a few yards from the bear. Suddenly he grunted and the harpoon struck the bear in the chest, just below the throat. The bear tried to paw at the harpoon, then leapt towards Agayuq, the shaft swinging to the side. David could see Agayuq was in danger. He ran to face the charging bear. Agayuq grabbed David’s harpoon and pushed the end onto the ground just as the bear fell towards them. The harpoon head pierced the bear’s chest , the shaft broke with a loud crack as the bear hit the ground. The dogs were all over it, biting its neck and back wherever they could. The bear slowly stopped struggling. It was dead. Agayuq having made the first hit, had got his bear.
After skinning and cutting the bear, all three men began collecting rocks to bury the meat until it could be retrieved during the winter when sledding was easy. That finally done, David wandered back up the trail to look at the boat for the first time. The others stayed behind. The bear had been dragging a skeleton still inside a Navy greatcoat. There was little to eat. Inside the boat were two other skeletons also bundled up as if they needed protection from the cold. The boat was full of items , but little food. Only some chocolate squares remained that David could recognize. Sadly he returned to the bear cache.
“Let’s head home, father. We’ve got your bear. There’s nothing else to do here...”