My Little Corner of Canada

A Hunting Lesson



“Where are you guys going?” My older brother wanted to know as my cousin George and I lashed down the qamutik.

“We’re going seal hunting,” I answered him as I tied the final knot.

“Which way are you headed?” he asked.

“That way,” I said, pointing west.

“I might see you out there,” he said as he walked away. George and I hitched up the dogs and took off.

We had been travelling for just half an hour when George stopped the dogs. He took out a pair of binoculars and started scanning the ice to the south. It was the middle of June and there were plenty of seals basking and sleeping on the ice in the warm spring air.

Most of the seals were on flat smooth ice and could easily see anything approaching them.

But about a mile away we could see a group of five seals with some rough ice around them. The rough ice could be used as a screen to approach the seals for a clear close shot.

George and I flipped a coin to see who would make the first attempt. I won the toss and loaded my rifle.

I started toward the seals on foot while George prepared to make tea. The dogs were dozing in the snow.

In about 15 minutes, I was about half way to the seals. I walked crouched low and dropped to my knees every few yards whenever one of them raised its head to look around.

I was pretty young and inexperienced at stalking napping seals and was extra careful the last few hundred yards.

I crawled on my stomach until I got about 50 yards from the seals. I peeked over a ridge of rough ice and could see that the seals were unsuspecting.

I cocked my rifle and slowly raised it over the ridge of ice and took aim at the nearest seal. I was waiting for it to raise its head when I heard “Bam,” “Bam,” “Bam,” from my left.

In what seemed like a split second, three seals lay dead and the other two dove into the water. I never had a chance to fire one shot.

I looked left and my brother stood up from behind some ice just a few yards from me. He was smiling broadly and having a little laugh. I had been so intent on the seals that I had not noticed him following me to the last half hour.

Less than a minute later, George arrived with the dogs and he and my brother had a good laugh at my expense.

A young boy had just been taught that one must always be alert and aware of what’s going on around him.

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