National Geographic : 1952 Aug
261 A. . F. Banfleld A Caribou Herd May Take Days to Pass a Given Point. Airmen Tally This Stampeding Pack EACH April and May, along the edges of the Arctic tree line, the caribou mass for their great migration toward the lichen-rich tundra. Small bands emerge from the scrub, join others, mill about on the frozen lakes, and head north. A trickle at first, then a stream, then a flood of dun-gray bodies, the deer pound over the ice in throngs measured by the square mile. At narrow defiles and oft-used crossings, Eskimos and Indians lie in wait with rifles, as their fathers once did with bows. From lookouts on the ridges rolls the cry, "The deer are coming!" Downwind floats the clicking of the caribou's heel bones, the grunt of the loping herd, and a rank, distinctive odor. Suddenly the horde bursts into sight, and steel-jacketed bullets thud into the leaping flesh. Pressed on by those behind, the caribou surge helplessly toward the guns. To the rear of the firing line stand women and children ravenous for the season's first fresh meat. Quickly they heat kettles to boil the North's choice delicacy: caribou tongues. Later they cure the hides for clothing, dry and cache the meat, and remove the sinews for sewing. To determine how many caribou still roam, the Canadian Wildlife Service recently took a census, largely from the air. The figures showed a decline from 1,750,000 in 1900 to 670,000 today (page 267).