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Thread: The ultimate big game...Bowhead....

  1. #1
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    Default The ultimate big game...Bowhead....

    I gather from the press, nationally and statewide, a whaling crew from Barrow took a 49' male Bowhead last month, that had a harpoon head imbedded in his scapula of a model patented in 1879. It's estimated to have struck the whale in approximately 1890. The biologist estimates the whale was at least 30 years old when struck....making his age an estimated 147 years old.

    I'm amazed at the size and age of these magnificent critters. Some specimens have been thought to be over 200 years old. The oldest living mammals on the planet. My hats off to our native whaling crews who hunt the ultimate big game.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Heck Rick, my hats off to anyone who can get past the taste of that meat.

    This brings to my mind, why is it anyone cares about killing whales for food in the first place?

    I'm amazed that anyone has the testicular fortitude to tell anyone else what they can or cannot eat!

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    Whales aren't as cute as porpoise, that's why they are allowed to kill them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    ...I'm amazed that anyone has the testicular fortitude to tell anyone else what they can or cannot eat!
    It is not about the "food".

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    Default Whales: Gentle giants or yummy monsters?

    Bearbait 1 took my handle! Or maybe I took his...

    Big Al is right- what greater expression of my freedom as an American is there than to kill and eat a bald eagle? Who is the government to tell me I can't hunt polar bears to extinction using napalm dropped from a Cessna? Buncha fascists. Right on Al!

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    Default Tasty!!

    I'm with Rick on this one; congrats to that crew.
    muktuk, eskimo salad, and all the other tasty dishes that come from the bowhead and beluga sit better on my pallat than yardbird (chicken) or a butterball turkey. In fact, the fresh white muktuk I had last night was an excellent treat.

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    Default Bomb lance?

    Hunting a 50 ton whale definitely takes some big ones- if you are doing it in hand-made boat using hand-thrown harpoons. But all of the articles I could find said that this whale was taken with a device "similar" to the 1890 "bomb lance"- aka an exploding harpoon.

    I don't see anything wrong with taking whales in the name of sacred traditions, using traditional methods. But are the Native Alaskans hunting using exploding harpoons?

    Give me a cigarette boat and a rocket launcher and it'll be muktuk city.

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    Thumbs up ....Bowhead....

    My understanding is that the hunters first harpoon the whale with a toggle headed harpoon, and then the whale is dispatched with the explosive charged lance. The lance head is smooth... with no barbs...designed to end the fight, and secure the struck whale from loss/escape.

    The days of a Nantucket sleigh ride ended in 1879.

    I admire both the Bowhead and the men who hunt them. Being on a whaling crew is an honor.

    The best meal I've ever eaten was in a home in Elim....absolutely fresh King Crab legs and fresh caribou roast with seal oil. That was 16 years ago and no meal since has come close.

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    I guess it doesn't make sense to put the crew at greater risk trying to tire out a 50 ton swimming machine when there is a safer, quicker (and probably kinder) way to dispatch it. Thanks for the explanation Rick.

    Now where do I get some seal oil? That sounds **** good.

  10. #10

    Default hmm

    its neat if you hunt the whales in the traditional way. But from what I have seen there is a lot of firearm use or they use exploding harpoons and other exploding devices. There is a lot of complaining about how they used to be able to hunt whales in certain places so they want them opened. Well I am all for it, but hunt the traditional places with traditional gear. No explosives, no guns, just spears and the old equipment.... Give the whale a chance and teach some culture first hand.

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    by law they have to use the exploding head harpoons to dispatch them quickly.

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    Default Reincarnated

    I wish I could have been born native, whale hunting would be the ultimate. Forget traditional boats though, I want to chase them with an inboard jet boat with a powerful harpoon mounted to the bow, with some ACDC blasting from a loud stereo. Maybe even a .50 cal mounted to the stern.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Heck Rick, my hats off to anyone who can get past the taste of that meat.

    This brings to my mind, why is it anyone cares about killing whales for food in the first place?

    I'm amazed that anyone has the testicular fortitude to tell anyone else what they can or cannot eat!
    The old diet of whale meat, seal blubber, and fish, coupled to a semi-nomadic life gave Alaska Natives long lives. Now they eat foods that are brought in, including hamburgers, hot dogs, and such, and they are dying form heart failure and cancer. Heart decease and cancer were rare in the Native populations of the past.

  14. #14

    Default I have to question this

    Quote Originally Posted by RayfromAK View Post
    The old diet of whale meat, seal blubber, and fish, coupled to a semi-nomadic life gave Alaska Natives long lives..
    Is this really true? I hear this a lot, but it's never backed up with facts. I know the health benefits of omega-3, omega-6 fats preventing heart/cardiovascular disease, but what was the average lifespan of these people before and currently? I know that the classic american diet may be bad for them, but what about modern medicine? Without vaccinations and medicine advances, as well as modern housing and gortex, frost bite treatment, decreased infant mortallity, stuff like that, has the lifespan really gone down? I just have my doubts about that. I hear it all the time, but I've never seen or heard any real facts.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildog View Post
    Is this really true? I hear this a lot, but it's never backed up with facts. I know the health benefits of omega-3, omega-6 fats preventing heart/cardiovascular disease, but what was the average lifespan of these people before and currently? I know that the classic american diet may be bad for them, but what about modern medicine? Without vaccinations and medicine advances, as well as modern housing and gortex, frost bite treatment, decreased infant mortallity, stuff like that, has the lifespan really gone down? I just have my doubts about that. I hear it all the time, but I've never seen or heard any real facts.
    Their life spam has increased, perhaps because of modern medicine and such. But cardiovascular decease, cancer, and diabetes have also increase to high numbers. Alaska is number one in the nation relating to fetal alcohol syndrome. This has come with modern times, and the reason why the "dry zones" have been implemented in some villages. Life has changed from semi-nomadic to sedentary, and that has not helped. There are all sorts of studies relating to Alaska Natives and their diet one can read on the Internet. Now, I have heard that quite a lot of Natives in places where they didn't have milk in their diet have problems digesting milk. I have no idea if this is true, except that a couple of kids I know have lactose intolerance.

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    I also saw something on TV about processed foods in the Bush. It had been documented that Alaska natives didn't have any tooth decay, until they were introduced to processed foods and sugar.

    It has always interested me the ways of our ancestors and the way mother earth provided for them and how healthy it actually was. Maybe a lesson here?

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  17. #17

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    Good on them to be sure. I always chuckle at those who say, "Hunt with spears" and other such weapons of old. these same folks carry 300 WSM. and use range finders and Mathews Q2XL's. Thank god we all can pick and choose. Not meant to stir the pot, just say good job and happy hunting.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBassking View Post
    I also saw something on TV about processed foods in the Bush. It had been documented that Alaska natives didn't have any tooth decay, until they were introduced to processed foods and sugar.

    It has always interested me the ways of our ancestors and the way mother earth provided for them and how healthy it actually was. Maybe a lesson here?
    You are right on about the lesson sir. The diet of the past is probably a good one, except a few problems, like lack of refrigeration, bactrial contamination, etc. If you could combine todays modern advances that have reduced the horrible problems they once had like infant mortality, fatal diseases such as type I diabetes, and early death due to unsafe conditions like cold exposure and starvation, with a diet without modern production foods such as hydrogenated fats, simple carbohydrates like refined sugars and flours, a guy could probably be much healther, and happier. But that's a world that doesn't really exist that I know of.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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