National Geographic : 1903 Apr
134 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE of experience to give to the breeding of reindeer the care that we give to the breeding of cattle. In the winter of 1898 sixty-three Laplanders and their families volunteered to go to Alaska, the U. S. Government paying the ex penses of their long journey of io,coo miles. When their term of enlistment expired some reenlisted, some of them went home again, but the majority turned miners. Every one will be glad to know that at least two-thirds of the From a photograph by E Breaking a Path Through Deep Sr whole number made large fortunes in the Cape Nome gold fields. The reindeer herders have to bewatch ful. Now and then reckless miners try to plunder the herds, or by their care lessness set fire to the moss. A fire will sweep over the moss barrens, lick ing up every fiber of the moss, as it sweeps over our western prairies. A moss fire is even more destructive, for many years pass before the moss will grow again. At the end of a year's service the government makes a gift to deserving herders of two or more reindeer. REINDEER RAISING AS AN INDUSTRY When one considers that raising rein deer in Alaska is simple and the profits enormous, one is surprised that as yet no one has really gone into the reindeer business, especially at Dawson, where a rich market awaits the rein deer farmer. A fawn during the first four years costs the owner less than $i a year. At the end of the four years it will bring at the mines from $50 to $1oo for its meat, or if trained to the sled or for the pack, is easily worth $ioo to $150. The fawns are very healthy and but few die ; the does are prolific, and after they are two years of age add a fawn to the herd each year for ten years. Last year, out of 50 does two years and more of age in one herd,48 had fawns, and of these only five died, three of which were lost through accidents or by the carelessness of the herder. The reindeer are so gre garious and timid that one P. Bertholt herder can easily guard i,ooo iow head. The herder knows that if a few stray off he need not look for them as they will soon become frightened and rejoin the main herd. The does make almost as good sled deer as the bulls and geldings. They are slightly smaller and less enduring. The Chukches deer cost in Siberia about $4.00 a head for a full-grown doe or bull. The fawns born in Alaska are larger and heavier than the parent stock.