I started writing this a couple days ago, and both times it was my internet going off and me loseing **** near the entire post. I had seen a simular thread and , so others can see, I figured I'd post about what I do in the scope of a year.........maybe one month , every day Im around, but Ill be adding 'em up here on this thread. This should entertain a few.
Subsitance Hunting/Gathering/Fishing is defined by harvesting and utilizing the resources around you, be it Food, shelter , heat or clothing.
Among those I live with and around there are places where my wife can point out her great grandmothers Tie off rock, for her Salmon net. The camp my wife owns is the place where here great grand parents put a sod house (a frame house is now built over the pit) and racks to place her sleds and her Umiaq, as this was their spring and Fall camp, a shotways up from the Inlet, and a good place to "freezeup (let the ice thicken safely), as well, when leading this kind of life, knowlage and placemnet in any given area is a must.Knowing where, when and with what is how you best harvest Plants, catch Fish and Game, and listening closely to others will let you expand your range and explore. I like to follow other and take others , pointing out features, danger spots, as well aas how to be the best at what You have come for, this knowlage isnt found in books, or taught in school. ITs passed down with words and arriving, working and living that way, makeing Subsistance a "Lifestyle" if you so engauge yourself. All over the state, alot of people supplement themselfs with Hunting and Fishing. they would rather eat natural healthy foods than store bought processed foods and this IS Subsitance, in one aspect.Some go further and heat with wood, others utilize the raw materials and make Arts, crafts, tools and implements that you cant buy from a store that would be consitterd "The Best", and when sucess or if your life is on the line, nothing less will do. If a person were so inclined, the need for $$can be entirely nagated, as trade/barter is still a major heavy weight in this Arctic economy.
So to give you a good idea, the setting is a Inupiaq village in the Arctic, on a large river named "Kobuk'. Its a very short distance to the Ocean via the meandering lowland swamps that form our 15 mouthe'd delta. Trees galore, for heat and raw materials, as wll as all kinds of fish, birds and animals that roam the waterways, as well as those that cross the vally, mountains to mountains, as well as theose that pass on through a couple times a year.
This is where the river meets the Sea, via 'Kobuk Lake" an inlet that is the confluence of the Noatak, Kobuk and selawik rivers. The lake is tide, shallow and very tempermental as almost any wind on it can smoothen or roughen it , depending on the Tide. Waves pitch almost straight up and the shallows can ground your boat to a stop while the next wave swamps you, so its a lake to be learned.
Then as we get around or across the pennesula to the west or South, we encounter Kotzebue Sound, and all that the Ocean has to offer.
Behind, to the East is a lone Mountain, Asagonik, meaning "Rocky top", and behind it is a set of sharp, short but jagged mountains that venture NorthEast called the Kivlukvuk' Mountains, or "Mammoth Mountains" and beyond them is the Selawk vally with its great many lakes, sloughs and meanderng river channels that make their way to Selawik Lake, which inturn, flows into Kobuk lake and on to the Kotzebue Sound. These lakes and rivers as well as the ocean were the Highways for thousands of years , with people in boats and the goods they carried into th einterior and back to the Ocean in trade, social activitys and hunting.
My Wifes familyhas been moving around to the Ocean for a great many generations and our oldest son is the present owner of a lower river camp, near Kobuk lake, that the fatherinlaws grandparents used as a cache site and winter darkness camp. The would switch between their boats and sleds and used it as a centerialized hunting area in the middle of the Caribou migration rout, 5 kinds of salmon, Seals from the ocean quite regularly, and the brakish water fish "Shee fish" are plenty full as well as a nice big lake and the small (untill Spring Break up) creek that is a great place to net whitefish for drying as they are lean, and make great travleing food as the ice passes the camp and the water is high, its usually breezy and drying all the left over frozen meats from winter as well as the thinner meats caught in spring, fat Whitefish are awsome. So its a good camp.Firewood all around.....and I get along with all this, just going with the flow and nothing is the same twice, but a fairly predictalble pattern develops and knowing the alternatives when **** dont pan out is important.
Heres a few pictures to explain a bit further, and I figure by the time I get back to Feb, itll be me, next week
So Ill start with March.......The Sun is up , the temp is usually below zero, and Hunting, Travleing and Fishing is out there for those who have places to go , things to do.
March is when Female Caribou have an apreciable ammount of fat on them, while bulls have been skinny all winter, with Rut having stripped the most powerfull and prolific studs into pathetic Wolfbait.
I like to pick a fat Female by looking for a Wide Heart shaped Butt, as well as look for Fur among the various bands of the WACH , 375,000 strong. My winter living area has Caribou in abundance this year, but the places where I go in Winter FREKING abound in Caribou, and those of us that Hunt....and I hunt them too. I return to this area in winter, sometimes for weeks, sometimes only days and get what I need to make ends meet and still do it again. Hides and Meat are the goal, as Caribou Meat can be barterd and hides can be tanned and made into stuff. In March, a good sleeping bag or tent floor of the warmest kind ever can be had from the hides of 6 Caribou, or Muckkluks of the warmest type made from their leggins, as the hair is long and supple and sheds only a little, so the trip easily pays for its gas, parts and we go home with lots of food.
So for the month of March , with lots of long daylight hours, mostly -20f below,we mostly persue
Shee Fishing begins too
And back when it was teir II we used to get a Fat Muskox, in March, which is sooooo very nice during this time of years 'leaness"
And my wife, her family and my sons get Seals, also for more Fat and oil , as all the Seal oil from Fall and the fat Caribou meats are all ate up by now. Small ringSeals are what they mostly bring home this timma year. This requires some seriously good shooting, as busting the neck bone or the brain bone will keep the animal from flipping forward to the hole they clawed through the ice to bask on the upper crust...
Rabbits and Ptarmigan are a great change of diet , and in the long days, hunting and snareing them is fun, fairly easy and tatsy in the end
And the ever present need for heat, a hard workou for sure, deep snow, short trees and frozen everything, unless we get 'em...
This is generally how March dumps into April, though April is warmer for sure, it comes with the wind, and in Aprl, the winds of Change Blow Hard.........