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The natives of the Aleutian Islands used to hunt sea otters in their baidarkas or two-hatched kayaks. A number of baidarkas with men in them would surround a single sea otter. They would then throw darts attached to a line with an inflated buoy at the end at the otter (Heizer).

Their traditional method of whale hunting was quite different. The whale hunter would depart in a single kayak or two men in baidarka to hunt a whale. When they saw a whale surfacing to breathe, they would silently approach it. The hunter would then throw a lance that had a detachable poisoned tip to it at the whale. The poisoned tip would have to penetrate through the thick layer of whale blubber and get embedded into the whale’s flesh for the hunt to be successful. The thrashing of the wounded and poisoned whale would detach the lance from the tip. The hunters would then collect the lance and head home, waiting for the whale to beach. Traditionally this method was reserved for the professional whaler cast and the technique was kept a secret within the family (Heizer).

The Aleutian immigrants to California would hunt whales using the same technique as used in the sea otter hunt. A number of kayaks and baidarkas would surround a surfacing whale and the whale would be met with a hail of harpoons attached to inflated buoys which would prevent it from diving back into the water. Gradually the whale would bleed to death and then be pulled ashore (Heizer).


Nineteenth Century English Naturalist Horace William Wheelwright describes a wolf hunt in this manner:

“As soon as the track of a wolf is seen in the snow, the Laps hunt him down on a skiddor [a type of ice skates] and never leave the spor [scent] till the wolf is killed. Those who first start on the trail follow it up till they are tired, when others take up the running, and so on, till the beast is fairly brought to bay. By this means many are killed every winter” (Wheelwright)

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