Nature has a "Time" of its own, and things seem to happen according to temperature.
Seems to me that global warming IS occuring , for whatever resons (I think its a natural cycle of the Earth, though others belive other things.)
I was athinking out my head , as I do, to the wife and we are getting an idea of what to do for spring and summer.
So I looked at the calander and laughed quietly to myself, and tossed it, because NOTHING im doing is going to be at any certain time or day....LOL!
This comes down to a few of my personal observations as well as experiance, itsself. I also pay attention to what others have to say and what happend to them.
I 'll start this out in January,
a month with little light around here.
Cold...Fur , Ptarmigan, rabbits ect. is good to track or trap, but hunting opportunitys are limited by the light, but the good news is that the days are getting longer. If meat is close, good, if not, then overnight trips are normal. A good time to keep working indoors on stuff for the Spring.
If Im setting snares for rabbits, I often find Moose sheds in the same willow lines.
the light is getting longer, and its a good time to go out for Meat and fur. Gathering poles to make into crafts , ice chizel, boat hooks, harpoons, drying racks, ect..because they are as dry standing as they will get , and when they come inside the bark is very asy to peel. Then you set them back outside to dry in the cold breeze. Sealskins and sometimes Caribou skins are set out after a good cleaning to whiten, or "Winter Bleach" and the effect is to make them look like snow.
still very cold, but the days are long enough to hunt a tank of gas' worth in a days ride. Rabbits are getting blind and so are Ptarmigan. They can be approched slowly and shot, without haveing them all fly or scamper off.
This is also the Starvation Month. Your summers stores are probly exhausted, and meat is probly fresh.
Guys hunt seals on the ice.
Female Caribou are Fat again, with the baby inside about to burn that up.
Marrows in the Caribou leg bones are bigger as well, and with fat being a nessesary part of a high protine diet, getting enough will keep you healthy.
in the Arctic is AWSOME!
The light starts to be 18 hours, moving to a mind bending 24 hours.
Caribou are herded up and moving in large numbers to the North.
The Females have bigger babies and are getting skinny from that , so we hunt bulls again. The warbel flys under their skin are getting big and the hair is long and loose. No good hides.
We hunt Bulls again, to make dryed meat in the Spring s cold air and lots of sunshine with no Flys.
Seal are still laying by their holes and mating.Males have black heads in the spring, so guys hunt the Femals to avoid the taste of Rutted seal.
Shee Fish are found out on the lakes and river mouths in large schools and we pull up sled loads to dry and freeze.
When the weather gets warm enough to make dripping puddles to get fairsized, Bears of all kinds will emerge from their dens. Shiny balls leaving a trail is what I look for , and I follow them in the snow.
Geese arrive in about the third week or so of April. The sure sign is Seagulls. They arrive about 3-4 days before the Geese. Sometimes Ducks will arrive with the Seagulls.
Gee, its only 9 weeks to Geese....
Early May to the middle of May, the Rivers are swollen with overflow or actually breaking up.
We still fish for Sheefish early in the month if we can, but mostly we get our boats redy for the Spring Breakup.
Above freezing all the time, all the snow on the hills is gone and the rivers are swollen torrents. We ride after the ice gose by and hunt the Jams, where ice has backed up the lakes and sloughs , forcing the Muskrats, Beaver and such to raom around, where we catch them from the boat with headshots and a hook. We can get a boat load of Muskrats sometimes..... and being water Mammles, the fur is great for clothing and such, and so is the chow!!This lasts for about 3 days....then the river returns to normal and we return home and give it all to the women annd catch up on 3 days missed sleep.
Caribou will have Babies now, running with them.
Right after the break up, we set Sheefish nets. I use a 7" mesh and set it along a high bank, and let the small ones pass through and catch the nice big ones.
With that net out, and maby a Whitefish net out, we climb along the high bank and gather Musoo roots"Eskimo sweet potato" are sweet and nicely saved in Seal oil.Wild onlion bulbs too, for spice.
When the river has cut a channel to the ocean,smelts arrive and were out digging those roots we keep a watchin the water, and when we see silvery flashes, we know the Smelts are going by, so we drop what were doing and get a sein up to the next bend or two and sein in a few tubs of Smelts. Mmmmmmmmm....drying smelts in the cool breeze on grasses in teh 24 hour sun takes about 4 days. Gotta keep them dry, and string them into bunches to store.
Next we set a net for Whitefish/char, as they catch in the same mesh. We smoke and dry them.
when the Smelts have gone by, we watch the seagull nests, and when we find eggs, we gather them for 2 or three days, 3 in a clutch, and then we leave them alone. They still have babies...LOL!
We leave the ducks and Geese eggs alone, as we want to eat them later, as adults!
When the river ice go's out , then we head down to the ice on Kobuk lake, or the ocean, depending on which camp were in, and we hunt along the edge of the ice. Brants are showing up as well as lots of Ducks that live in the ocean.
Guys hunt Oogruk Seals, and all kinds of small Seals on the ice, and tward the months end, in the ocean among the Ice cakes, with Oogruk and walrus being the main animals. Char are also found out in the ice floes, for those who fish and watch the boat (NEVER leave the boat unattended in the ice.).
Greens are also comming out and we gather fresh salads of Soudox, wild onions tops are plucked, as are Beach Greens and Qushimuk leaves. I love them with Ranch dressing Mmmmmmmmmmm.
Meat drys nicely in the warm breeze, but now flys will come out, so You have to watch your meats. 1/2 dryed and put into the oil rendered from the seal blubber, and it will last untill next Spring, if you dont finnish it....
24 hours sun and misquitos!
Still hunting Bull Caribou for fresh meat and to dry.
The last of the ice is gone from theSound, and the first Salmon show up. Kings first, then Chums, then Pinks.
Lots and lots of greens are plucked and cookd to store in an ice hole, and Male Ducks are hunted in flocks that gather wile they molt
Salmon are caught when the tide brings them into the river, at one camp near the ocean,and in "pulses" at another, much further up a river.
we set the net for a few hours at a time, and get plenty.
Salmonberrys are ripe and pickable at the end of july, and the ladys and gents get Gallon after gallon in a warm year.
Bull skins are good for clothing now, and the sun starts to twilight at the end of the month.Nice sunny warm days.
Blueberrys are being picked like crazy, in expeditions....,and Salmonberry picking is still going on, with Salmon in the nets and Greens starting to flower, some are no longer picked.Some years the wife will have 75gallons of berries for winter.
Often there is a late run of Chum.
Seals will start entering the river, and are shot on the banks or in a shallow spot.
Dark cool nights with stars start to appear and get longer and the colors start to change on the Tundra
We hunt all Caribou for clothing skins now,(the females are abit behind the Bulls) as the hide and hair thickness is perfect.We dry the meat amnd skin for later, and more Salmon.
Our new cool thing to do in August is to hunt Musk ox.Take 'em to a freezer or dry them up and its all good!
This is a good time to go up on a mountain and catch Black Bears mowing among the blue berrys, and catch the fattest, sweetest meat in Alaska!!!Yeeee Hawwww!
Cooler, even freezing again, time to move to a winter house.
Hunt the Caribou in the river,and use their hides for bedding and Muckluks. We hunt them as we gather logs wiith boats to warm our house through freeze up.
With freezing nights and nice days, we pick Cranberrys in the bogs everywhere, and Blackberrys by the coast.
The meat on a healthy Bull is FAT.
Near the end of the month we catch them keep hem in the skin and freeze them outside, hanging.Its cold again, and freezing round the clock....most rivers freeze by the months end.
Swans and Geese are hunted to put into the freezer, and Silver salmon are running.... we mostly add them to the Freezer as well.
Then it freezes solid
During freezeup, we stay home for a week or so, and spend our PFD...~LOL!~
We set out whitefish and shee fish nets under the ice and load up on migrating schools of fish. They get frozen and saved to eat and barter/giveaway.
LingCod school up the rivers and we catch them on set lines and with jigging. If your by the ocean, you can jigg up thousands of Saffron "Tom" Cod. Piles and piles of them, and they taste as good as Cod do.
While its frozen out, we get out the skins and start to tan them. Then its time to sew. Sewing is done after freeze up because to wear a new winters outfit in the sudden warms and wets, will ruin your lclothing quickly. Then it ruins your winter...LOL!
Anyway, we stay in and make X-mas stuff and artworks to sell, as well as fix up our Snowgo and sled.
......is alot like October....though the ice is usually thick enough to travle over by mid month to most anywhere you wanna go.. The daylight is getting short and its time to get firewood and set traps/snares.....
is cold. Mostly its spent eating , and giving, visiting, travling....basicly a Hunter/gatherer's "Time off"
Chores are done in every month as needed, with hunting done as needed or required.
Special trips are made to take advantage of daylight and animal concentrations, as well as things that are done when bad weather or animlas have not comearound to be hunted.
It pays to know your options.
We dont stick to this schedual strictly, but rather generally.
Some opportunititys last quite awhile, some only days, and most of these events blurr into a two week "Maby" zone of time, because of weather. It seems to me the Temperature defines what is gonna happen, so the first thing I check each day is the temp...then I'll know the "Time"