National Geographic : 1917 Jan
Photograph from Dora Keen SIX-FOOT YUKON SNOW-SHOES For breaking a trail or crossing wide crevasses they are the ideal type, but for climbing steep slopes or traveling where they have to be carried considerable distances they are too long and cumbersome. only a short time in any one locality. In the Toklat basin and in the vicinity of Muldrow Glacier, however, the caribou are at home, and they remain there throughout the summer to rear their young. DIFFERENCES IN ANIMAL BEHAVIOR There is abundant indication that this is a permanent range. Deeply worn trails form a veritable labyrinth along the stream flats, and bedding grounds, old and new, occur everywhere. The miners from the Kantishna report that caribou may always be seen in great numbers on this range. There is a striking difference between the actions of caribou and those of the big horn sheep when sur prised by man. A sheep, once aroused, knows exactly where he wants to go, and usually starts, with out a moment's hesi tation, on the shortest route to some rugged mountain mass. He may stop to look around and appraise the danger, but he is sure to follow the route he first chose. By contrast, the caribou appears a foolish animal; he seems at a loss to de cide whether it is nec essary to run away at all. Then, when con vinced that danger threatens, he has diffi culty in making up his mind which way to run. He has sharp eyes for any moving object, but evidently refuses to trust his sight until his nose confirms his sense of danger. I have many times seen a caribou, after he has discovered me at a distance of no more than Ioo yards, stand and look, snort, lower his head half a dozen times, then run wildly off for a short distance, turn back toward me, re peat the same maneuvers, and make sev eral false, zigzag sprints, all within easy gunshot, before he finally ran to leeward, got the man scent, and started off for good in great panic. In this region, with proper caution and a favoring wind, one can approach within 200 yards or less of a band of caribou, even in the open, be fore they take alarm and move away.