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headless remains, and then follow the party to the ship, sniffing at the air laden with the odour of the departed one. As it lingered on the shore, a man quietly landed from the boat and shot it.
Here was another instance out of many we witnessed on this journey of the affection of these poor, solitary creatures, leading them even to inevitable death.
There is some dispute respecting the identity of the American and European reindeer, as to whether they are the same animal or only varieties. That there is some distinction we are satisfied, having compared the massive horns we brought home with others we have seen from Greenland and America.
It may be that the fly, which is not only a torment to the European reindeer, but is an actual injury to the skin its grub has taken up its abode in, is absent from these higher latitudes, and the comparative freedom from this scourge may be in some remote way the cause of its finer and better development.
Dr. Hayes fed his party luxuriously on reindeer all the winter at Port Foulke, in Smith's Sound, not many miles from where Kane's party almost starved a few years before. Behind Holsteenberg are valleys full of reindeer; and Mr. Brown heard tales of people climbing the hills in that vicinity and looking down into
glens where the reindeer were so numerous that they might be supposed to be the herds of a wealthy Laplander. Ten thousand skins were shipped from that port some years ago. They are slaughtered indiscriminately by the natives, these improvident people, in nine cases out of ten, leaving the hides and flesh, and only taking the tongues. They are bad enough shots, and the Danish traders supply them with powder at less than prime cost-viz., 36 skillings, or 9d., per lb., with a view to increase the produce of the hunt; but this ammunition is wasted in a most
On the way to and from these hunts up the fjords, the Danes are filled with the savage desire to kill every living thing. Ducks are shot and left lying; or, if they are very hungry, they will tear off the “titbits.” A ptarmigan will be shot sitting on its eggs, and the ball cut out of its body, to be used again in this murderous sport. There is no necessity for it; for at this time they are abundantly supplied with food, even to excess. It is, however, the season for sport and fun, looked forward to by the natives of Greenland, much in the same light as we do to our grouse-shooting or deer-stalking, and is about as profitable to all parties concerned. In order to pursue this sport, they leave the more lucrative seal-fishery,
GAME LESS ABUNDANT.
and neglect to lay in a winter supply of food ; so that when the “banyan” days come they bitterly repent their folly, and weary for the bleached carcases up the frozen fjords.
Notwithstanding this, regularly as the season comes round they are off again to the shooting from far and near, and repeat the same improvident course ; nor, if they like it, has anybody a right to complain. In all verity enjoyments few enough fall to the lot of these hyperborean hunters. However, the result of this indiscriminate slaughter is now being felt in the decrease of the reindeer in many parts where they were once common. They are no longer found on Disco Island as in the days of Cranz and Fabricius. Indeed there are now very few shot in Mid-Greenland, and many of the natives are giving up the hunt for them altogether.
Holsteenberg, another Greenland settlement, is a favourite locality; the hunting-ground is behind the large inlets where the ice lies far back, and where the land most free from the ice has been found. The animal cannot travel well on ice, and the difficulty of transporting its food on long journeys is another obstacle to its use in Arctic travel. The Eskimo make long journeys over the frozen sea along the coasts of Greenland in the winter with dog, in preference to the reindeersledges. Deer meat is very good if eaten soon after the animal has been killed, or again at some long interval afterwards. Once the flesh sets and becomes rigid it is not near so toothsome and nutritious. The Spitzbergen reindeer certainly offers the best meat; and the newly-discovered land to the eastward of Mid-Spitzbergen is reported to have reindeer of a quality still better in point of flavour and condition to those we have been killing. This discovery of new land gives additional zest to exploration; the north-east point of this new region is in Lat. 78° 8' N. and Long. 50° 15' E. Altman had touched here previously to Johnsen, and his three islands are now found to be but one vast land with a coastline of forty-five miles. The sea in the vicinity was free from ice, except on its northern shores, and on the island no snow-field of any extent was observed, and only one glacier, and the shores abounded with immense quantities of saddleback seals (P. Groenlandicus). The whole coast to the height of 20 feet, and extending 100 feet inland, was covered with quantities of driftwood, most probably washed out of the mouths of Siberian rivers.
The tallow of a large reindeer will weigh from eight to twelve pounds; the tongues are first cut out after the deer is killed, and in some places where the difficulty of land-carriage is not to be overcome,
the tongue alone is brought away. In this way the waste of deer meat is enormous, and it is so nutritious it is very strange that some means of preserving it on the spot for exportation has not been devised: this meat would surely be profitable in these days, when the flesh of the Australian kangaroo is a marketable article in England at the present time. We landed with the determination of examining and making a thorough exploration of the land immediately abreast of the position of our schooner, our opinion at the time being that the magnificent valley we could see would be found to wind in a gentle course, under some high and very rugged mountains, whose lofty sides rose precipitously from the bay. In our intended land-survey we had some prospect also of falling in with some herd of reindeer, the place having all the appearance of affording the animals sufficient inducement to attract them to it.
Our party on this occasion was a large one, the men, whenever there seemed any likelihood of sport on foot, being evidently eager to be permitted to join in the adventure; and my companion, at all times pleased to afford them whatever enjoyment they might join in whenever the duties on board the ship would allow of their absence, took with him whatever hands could be spared. It was this enjoyment of the men that