Lots of work

Several people have told me I should write about my days. A day in the life of a seal/sea otter hunter. Granted some people can make a living off hunting 7 months out of the year, but usually not with same type of targets. I must also say that I do make beautiful unique apparel and donate most of the meat to local trappers and elders who still eat seal meat. So if this type of stuff sounds interesting, I’ll keep typing.

Today started a little slower than usual. I usually try to hunt at least once a week. I don’t have to go far living 500 yards from the beach and a mile from the boat harbor. My destination was a small group of islands that have a small population of harbor seal most of the year. It was sunny, 45 degrees, and not a ripple on the big ocean. What could be better. Ravens were chasing each other and eagle were packing sticks to a high tree. As I approach my grounds, the smell hit first before the visual. Can’t mistake the rotten herring, flounder, squid, poo wafting in the wind. Almost in visual range, I motored ever so slowly behind a rock 200 yards behind them. I was down wind and knew they wouldn’t bolt off the rocks if I didn’t slam into the rock or drop my noisy anchor to hard. All was good so far. It was going to be about a 120 yard shot to one of the 5 perched like sausages on the rocks. They looked like fat hot dogs over cooked bent up in a “U” shape. All different colors…hmmm which to take out first. One shot is usually all you get before they’re out of here! At this time of year, it’s best to pick the dark ones. The whiter ones in fall are brilliant but not for long come spring after basking in the sun and their poo. I decided to go grey, and took a very large older male. Usually you spare the females so you don’t deplete your hunting stock, but not sure that will happen since seals number around half a million in this area. He was a large bull and upon examining after fetching him up…I mean tying him to the side of the boat, because I am not going to try to lift 175 pounds over the hull. He had to be around 25-30 years of age for he had no teeth left. They were all completely wore down. Good thing there was an abundance of herring for him to feed on this year or he might have starved not being about to rip larger fish a part. He had the typical scaring on the top of the neck from duking it out with the other bulls. But he had beautiful coloration and to my surprise, he was still mostly white on the belly. I proceed to hall his big butt up the beach and proceeded to skinning him out. Needed to hurry, a large rain cloud with a lovely black line on the water was heading my way fast. Funny how fast weather can turn here. But it wouldn’t be Alaska if it didn’t. Finally finished skinning and parting out some meat and fat to make oil. Washed the hide in the ocean. Placed it in the bucket and VArrrooom, Boat, Boat was off headed for home. But not without hitting that black line of 2 ft waves first. Luckily, I only had a mile to endure the salt water taste. I was still a marvelous outing and left some munching for the ravens and eagles.