Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Camp life 6

The Ravens... My hunting buddy's. When you live close to the land you have a mental connection to the animals and the seasons . There was a family of ravens that lived in the trees up behind our camp on the hills. At first I thought that they were irritating as they would hang around it the tree branches as we did our daily routine. I would mumble under my breath..." flying rats"... and as if they could read my mind they would squak... rhaa rhaa rhaa... as if to say in protest ... hey watch it !!! . I know that you have heard that the subsistence way of life uses everything possible and it is really true. the caribou is lean and healthy meat. the bones have rich marrow and the 2 to 3 year old young bulls have good fat in the back end . the hide is saved and clothing is made from it and the leg area. we never harvest the older bulls because they breed the heard and their strong seed insures the return of a healthy yield year after year. big horns do not make good soup. these ravens began to interact with me over time and I began to appreciate how smart they really were. I would leave them a small portion of the edible insides . If I had a tool in my hand they would watch from a distance and disappear for a wile during the day. but I began to notice if I was getting ready to hunt they they recognized my white parke and rifle. As I would head out the male would take to the air and fly ahead of me up high to tag along. he would watch as I found the heard and sat watching as I selected the days blessing of life sustaining meat. These birds knew what a snow machine was and that it was mans wings over the snow covered back country. I would always thank the maker of all things in this world before I would harvest a living animal.He blessed me and gave me the gift of an instant kill skill as a hunter. I selected a young bull and trained my sight between his eye and ear and left it there as I prayed and I would time my shot after a long exhale and in between heartbeats. Believe me... anyone who says that you can not feel your heart beating in your chest when you are about to harvest a soul is a liar. The 270 found its mark and the caribou settled into the deep snow as the sound of the shot slowly worked it way around and exited the canyon. I sat for a minute and then started the snomachine and rode down to the caribou. Again I thanked the maker as I rolled the caribou over onto its back and tilted its head back and planted its rack into the snow. Then I pulled its front limbs back and placed them under the rack on each side. this is the way I was taught and the way it had been done for the last 10,000 years. The raven landed on my snow machine and watched as i went to work , I tossed him a meal and he ate it and squaked rhaa rhaa as if to say thank you. I smiled at him and said go get mama and the kids . He kind of cranked his head to the side and took off. I had the caribou in the sled by the time he returned with his family and they made many trips back and forth until they had their portion all packed home. As time passed I observed that this raven would head out ahead of me and I swear he would scout for me from his winged heights. I would watch him soar and circle and hover ahead of me as I traveled into the back country. Then I would see him dive bomb and disappear below the hills ahead of me and as I snuck to the top of the hill there would be caribou. Sometimes 1 or 2 and sometimes 10 or more. I would always reward him well for his scouting missions. One day he rewarded my friendship and I will never forget this day. I had bought my wife a new Polaris 340 snowmachine which in the world of snowmachines in that day would be like a chevy cavilier. My wife's 16 year old sister had borrowed it for the day and she was over due. As I started my machine to leave to look for her I had no rifle or tools just a cooler bungecoarded to the back of my machine. The raven took off ahead of me and I followed him into the back country. He started to dive bomb into a deep draw and I followed him down until I found snogo tracks . She was stuck and dug inn deep snow and she was exhausted from trying to get out. The only way to get out of that situation is to stomp a section long enough to launch from and get up on top again. I swear that bird had followed her earlier that day and knew where she was. On the way home she stopped on the trail made me promise to never tell her dad what happened in that 16 year old... OH PLEEEASE!!! teenage tone . I told her to go on ahead and I would be along in a few hours. I sat there in the silence and thought about the miracles that are waiting for us if we are willing to accept help from the creator and all of his creations. As the years went by I always made sure to leave a large present for the raven at the kill site... and I never told her dad what happened that day . : 0 )


  1. Just looking over your blog and wanted to say that I especially enjoyed this one! Very true about the blessings of sharing.