Following The Alaskan Seal: A Trip to the Government Reservations on Pribilof Island in Bering Sea., Daily Racing Form, 1918-12-04


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FOLLOWING THE ALASKAN SEAL A Trip to tlia Government Eeservations on Pribilof Island in Bering Sea This is a short story about an expedition in the wake of the huge herds of seal in Bering Sea and adjacent Alaskan waters by H L DUlaway in Out ¬ door Kite Dillaway and a friend after obtaining a government permit visited the seal herds oii the Pribilof Islands off Alaska It was a six weeks cruise of some 8000 miles up tiie Pacific coast across Bering Sea and on into Alaska The narra ¬ tive runs oh In this fashion At last the lookout at the masthead called out Land Ho Wliere away Two points off the port bow cami from the rigging My chum Cliass again whanged me over the back and volunteered the information that this was the Island of St Paul the largest of the Pribilof group groupHere Here at last lay before us the old old names we learned In our geography days We had passed the Aleutian Islands Alaska was the nearest land to starboard with Russia to our port and the steamer lay rolling Jii the long deep swells of Bering Sea SeaOf Of course we were all eagerness to get a glimpse of the fur seals we had come so far to see and when several miles off shore we had our first sight of a large seal herd it contained hundreds and was headed for shore It covered a considerable water area and the seals vere apparently feeding and playing They did not scorn to be afraid of the vessel but full of eager curiosity They stared at us from both near and far ranges and looked for all the world like a lot of little old baldheaded men m swimming swimmingIMMENSE IMMENSE HERDS OF SEALS SEALSThe The skipper laughed at our enthusiasm and told us that we would see seals until we were sick of them and could get all the pictures at close range that we desired desiredAs As we drew closer to shore a strong pungent odor filled our nostrils a kind of cross between a livery barn and a garbage pile This we were later intro ¬ duced to at close range and learned from sad ex ¬ perience that it came from the seals sealsNow Now the ordinary person hasnt the least concep ¬ tion of what an Immense number of seals there are located on those islands Two of them practically make up the 1ribilofs The Island of St Paul is the larger of the two and has a length of about thirteen miles while St George the smaller is about twelve miles long longDuring During the summer months about 331000 fur seals congregate on these islands for breeding and are under the direct protection of the United States government governmentThis This is the largest known seal herd in existence There are two smaller herds one under tlie protection of the Russian government and another under that of the Japanese During the cold dreary northern winters the islands are practically free of seals but along in April the bulls begin to arrive from their long journey into southern seas some as far away as the southern coast of California CaliforniaThey They seek out likely spots along the sea coast and patiently await the coming of the cows They are the breeders of the herds and are monsters of their kind They weigh ordinarily alxmt i 0 pound and are in the pink of condition at this me ail muscle lithe slick and amazingly quick quickALWAYS ALWAYS READY TO FIGHT INTRUDERS INTRUDERSThe The seals teeth are sharp and they can and do bile viciously They win easily kill u man and should an unarmed person be attacked In would stand no show at all with a full grown bull Their ungainly wabble moves them over rocks or sand fast so that they can travel over a rocky beach fully as fast as a man can run Usually however after a short pursuit they give it up apparently satisfied at having driven off the in ¬ truder but woe to the man who should fall or be caught at a disadvantage in a seal herd During herdDuring the late April May and early June the breeding bulls continue to arrive and oceupy miles of beaches stationing themselves at points of van ¬ tage quite likely the spot occupied by them the year before After a bull has taken up a certain location he will fight and defend it to the bitter end Their canine teeth protrude giving them an ugly expression Two bulls fighting can bite and slash terribly even through the tough seal skin It is doubtful if many are killed in this way but healed scars show only too well the vicious fights they have been in inBy By tlie middle of June the cows begin to arrive and continue to do so until early August Tlie pe ¬ culiar thing about them is their size and timidity They timidityThey jveigh only sixtyfive pounds while their theirlord lord and masters weigh five and sis times us much muchWhen When the cows first arrive they wander about among the bulls not seeming to attract unusual attention but eventually seek the company of a certain one which carefully guards and protects her for the rest of the season As tlie cows continue to arrive from the open sea the size of eaclv bulls harem increases There is apparently no uniformity in the size of these harems they vary as to the bulls location and his ability to defend Where the harems come close to one another which is not at all an unusual condition many bitter and bloody fights occur occurThe The females have a peculiar way of interfering in these disturbances In the early stages o a fight when the bulls are snorting barking and squalling their ugly compliments to one another she frequently grasps the throat of her protector in her teeth clinging to him

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