This track of a polar bear is actually quite old. It measured about 6” across and was probably left by a 7’ bear. I took this photo on my 2006 polar bear bowhunt. It was the first real polar bear sign that I ever saw in my life. The track is actually a raised surface relative to the surrounding snow – the weight of the bear compressed the snow, making it last longer than the surrounding snow.
This is a seal breathing hole. If you look to the left of the hole, you can see where a bear laid on it’s belly(the snow is somewhat compressed). The bear had one paw to the right of the hole(see the claw marks?). However, either it missed the seal, or a seal never surfaced, because there was no blood.
This is the Ring seal that we caught on a seal hook(as described in my post about the hunt itself). The blood trail is because Walter killed it with the sharp end of the hatchet, between the eyes, shortly after the hook was pulled through its flipper. We dragged it back to camp from here. The foxes had quite the midnight snack-but no bears.
Yours truly with a daily update(via satellite phone) to the Bowsite.com.
Again, this is a photo from last year(because I was
too focused to take many pictures this year). Therefore, the dogs will be different from the photo that shows us being pulled by the dogs. The purpose of this picture is to show how the dogs are tethered each night. The chains are JUST short enough that they can’t reach each other to fight.
This is a photo of my “carriage”, referred to as a qamituk. It is constricted mostly of wood and ropes, not nails and screws. I rode in the “box”, but it could be removed quickly, and it doubled as the chase sled. It is one bumpy ride, especially if you have BRACES and your muffler is pressing your braces into your skin – did I mention we covered a couple houndred miles like this? My lips still haven’t forgiven me!
This is like a TOYOTA commercial! Oh, what a feeling! The eight dogs that are pulling this sled could go all day, They are tough SOB’s. Walter is in the front of the qamituk, I’m behind him, and the bowcase is behind me. The black dog furthest to the left is the “LEADER” . The ride is about 8-12 mph depending on how fresh the dogs are. Those suckers can really pull too. The ”brake” required to stop them is a GIANT grappling hook that must weigh 10 pounds. On smooth ice, it is quiet-almost surreal. In rough ice, trying to free that sled while the dogs have the harness in constant tension is another SOB. Sometime Walter would really belt the hell out of the dogs if they wouldn’t obey.
Sometimes a picture says it all. If the bear looks pink( and you don’t know why) – read the story about the hunt – then you’ll understand.
You are looking at the skinned skull of a 9 foot boar polar bear. The front canines are almost exactly as long as a dollar bill is wide – which I believe is 3 inches.
This is the front left paw of the bear – minus the fur and claws. The Inuits really enjoy eating the feet. I preferred the red meat. My left hand might be 1 ½ inch thick – the bear paw is more like 4 inches thick, but the camera angle doesn’t show it.
Back foot compared to my hand. Again, the foot is 4-5 inches thick – MUCH thicker than my hand. Notice how massive the foot joint is--.
That is my size 12-13 foot next to the bear’s skull.
Again, my foot for scale – I’m estimating the skull at 24.5 – 25.0 inches, based on the yardstick and 2 bookends back at Walter’s house.
Yours truly starting to skin the bear. The women soon took over. They could do as much skinning in 15 minutes as I could do in an hour! It’s really neat to watch them handle those ulu knives. Notice how one whole side of the bear hide is blood stained? If you don’t know why – read Pat’s post where I described the details of the hunt. Good luck counting all of the “holes”! My taxidermist has already been warned.
Remember how “red” the bride looked in the previous photo? This is how well four Inuit women fleshed the bear hide – in less than 2 hours! They said that the bear fat did wonders for their hands- better than hand lotion.