Back by popular demand, here is guest blogger Kim Papaw Warren, to tell you a new moose-hunting adventure. Hope this story makes you laugh as hard as it did me!
I went moose hunting again yesterday afternoon. In my area of Southeast Alaska, our season lasts one month and we are allowed one bull. So far I had seen five bulls but no shooters. (To be a legal “shooter,” a bull must have a spike or fork on one side or three brow tines on one side, or there must be a 50-inch spread between the extremes of the antler.) As I approached the willow-covered muskeg I had chosen to hunt, I saw a cow watching me from about 300 yards away. She continued to watch with mild curiosity as I settled under a spruce tree, levered a round in my Winchester Model 71 and got ready to start calling. I sat unmoving for about 15 minutes to let things settle down. The cow lost interest and moved on, grazing on the willow tips.
I started calling, doing my best to mimic a love-sick cow in season. After the second series of calls, a bull stepped out of the woods on the other side of the clearing, paddles flashing in the late afternoon sun. He was looking around, Continue reading
This story comes from guest blogger, Stephanie Shor. It is a report on the dedication ceremony of the new Tlingit tribal house in Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay National Park. Stephanie is the editor of our sweet local paper, “Strawberry Point Pioneer.” Thanks, Stephanie, for sharing the story of this historical event with us!
“We heard our ancestors singing as we came into the bay. They’ve waited a long time for us. It’s hard to hold back the tears of joy.”
The shores of Glacier Bay were humming with people, young and old, native and non-native, as three traditional Tlingit canoes slowly emerged through the morning mist of Bartlett Cove. Hoonah Tlingit children, grandchildren of the tribe in their ancestors’ regalia, waited with wide eyes to receive them in a long-awaited return to their homeland.
The first day of the week-long tribal house dedication event included a color guard for Hoonah veterans, a naming ceremony for the tribal house, a spirit song and a collective breath of life into the structure.
As the canoes, carved over long months from 400-year-old trees, drew closer to the sight of the new tribal house standing on ancient Tlingit land, elders and their grandchildren began to sing. Hoonah’s youth met the
rowers and were handed the individually carved oars of their elders as the crowd lifted the canoes to carry as a whole onto land.
Huna Tlingit history began in this land of lower Glacier Bay, where there were at least 3 ancient tribal houses, like the modern-day version now in Bartlett Cove. About 300 years ago, they were forced to flee their homeland as glaciers advanced and overran their settlements, Continue reading
(Note from Fran: This article is the first one submitted to my blog by a guest author. Kim Warren is from Gustavus, and is a member of our writer’s group.)
I have a friend whose name is Jim. He has lived in Southeast Alaska for nearly 30 years. He is a trapper, hunter, fisherman and bushman of the first order. I’ve known him for about 20 years. Normally Jim hunts alone, but from time to time he has agreed to take me along to share his natural world. Now, I am no newcomer to the Alaskan bush or to hunting, but I’m not in Jim’s class. He talks to the animals! Not only does he talk to them, but they talk to him and he understands. I was with him once when he talked to the moose. Cows would cautiously approach us to get a look at this bull they heard. When they saw us, they would stand and stare in confusion.
Jim and I went moose hunting awhile back. The weather was lousy; temperature around 40 degrees and raining. It was still dark that morning when we left his cabin and headed for the area he wanted to hunt. I had been to the area before and had way-points in my GPS so I could find the particular spruce tree we were headed for. Of course, Jim didn’t own a GPS or know how to use one.
We picked up the trail that would lead us to the area of the target tree. A limb knocked my hat off. Jim patiently waited while I put my hat and Continue reading
Have you ever thought about buying a piece of Alaskan ivory? Has something stopped you?
Fossil ivory bear
As you are probably aware, because of the tragic slaughter of thousands of elephants for their tusks, national and international trade in the ivory of threatened species such as African or Asian elephants is now illegal, as well it should be. But what about Alaskan ivory? Because it is often fossilized and does not come from an endangered species, ivory used in Alaska is quite legal, and very much a part of Alaskan Native art and culture.
When you hold a piece of fossilized ivory in your hand, let your imagination take you back through the ages to the time when that ivory existed as part of an ancient animal. Can you imagine its prehistoric world? Close your eyes and let the piece float in your mind. What do you feel and see? It is awe-inspiring to try to comprehend the age of the piece you are holding.
Ivory has had a wide variety of uses since ancient times. Prior to the introduction of plastics, ivory was made into cutlery, billiard balls, piano keys, Scottish bagpipes, buttons, false teeth, fans and dominoes, as well as jewelry and simple to elaborate carvings. The ancient Irish decorated their sword hilts with ivory from whale teeth. The Chinese valued elephant ivory for both art and utilitarian objects. Early whalers scratched designs on sperm whale teeth, then rubbed India ink into the scratches, a process known as scrimshaw. In modern times, artists have used scrimshaw to create some beautiful pieces, such as tusks displaying a complete scene from Alaskan life, or a pendant with an elaborate flower or animal scratched into its surface. Continue reading
This adorable bear is carved from mammoth ivory. Created by Zealandia Designs, he hangs from a silver bar which is engraved with a formline bear design. Turn him over and you will see loops for a chain so he can become a pendant, and a pin-back, if you prefer to wear him as a pin. He measures 1 1/2 inches high and 3/4 inches at his widest point. The silver bar is 1 1/4 inches long. He sells for $396.00, with first-class insured shipping included.
You may order this bear directly from me by going to my “about me” page and either emailing or calling. Please do not enter your payment information in an email. Leave me a phone number and I can call to collect your payment information.
According to the Huffington Post, last year a man in a realistic-looking bear costume, complete with head, ran through the area close to a weir on the Chilkoot River near Haines. A crowd had gathered near the weir to watch a sow and two cubs who were feeding there. They were startled when the man, dressed as a bear, began to jump up and down and then got within 5 to 10 feet of the cubs. An Alaska Fish & Game technician moved the sow away for the man’s safety, and then tried to talk to the man, who refused to identify himself. The man then drove off, never removing his costume. The article said troopers were investigating and the man could face wildlife harassment charges.
Why was he bothering the bears in the first place? No one knows. Perhaps he felt they were getting more than their share of salmon.
Alaska is a land of magic and mystery. It is very true that “strange things are done ‘neath the midnight sun.” This column will be an ongoing collection of stories from the Alaskan mystique, designed to amuse and amaze you. Visit it each week for a new installment.
WOMAN PUNCHES BEAR TO SAVE DOG: In Juneau, not far from my home in Gustavus, black bears sometimes roam the streets. A Continue reading