Category Archives: Hunting

Alaska Tribe Wins to Continue Emergency Hunts During Covid-19

“Kake is a village of 550 people on Kupreanof Island in Southeast Alaska. About two thirds of the population is Tlingit Indian. The village has received permission to hunt two moose and two deer to ensure the health of its elders and provide culturally nourishing food during the pandemic.”J. Estus, Indian Country Today

Kake is a village of 550 people on Kupreanof Island in Southeast Alaska.File photo- Creative Commons)

Excerpt:Emergency hunts in Alaska can continue,  By Joaqlin Estus, ICT

In August, the state of Alaska sued to stop federal agencies from allowing emergency hunts. The U.S. District Court for Alaska last week sided with the federal agencies and dismissed the state’s motion for a preliminary injunction.The state has been fighting federal land managers over fish and game management off and on for decades.

This latest bout stems from COVID-related food shortages.

Moose at Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska (Photo by Barbara Miers, courtesy of Creative Commons)

Last summer, store shelves in the Tlingit village of Kake, in southeast Alaska, were getting bare. COVID-19 outbreaks had slowed production at Washington state meat processors, Kake’s main source of non-game meat.

The state had mandated travel restrictions. And state budget cuts had all but shut down the low-cost ferry system used to ship food to island communities.

The Organized Village of Kake was one of three tribes that requested emergency hunts. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game denied their request. The village wrote to the Federal Subsistence Board, which manages subsistence on federal lands in Alaska.

A home in Kake, a village in Southeast Alaska. (Photo by Joseph Umnak, Courtesy of Creative Commons)

The letter said vendors were having a difficult time meeting the needs of Kake’s stores…Kake tribal President Joel Jackson, Tlingit and Haida, also testified to the board. He said Kake tribal citizens, especially elders, needed the best nutrition they could get to be in the best health to fight COVID if they came into contact with it… The board authorized the emergency hunt and delegated details to the local U.S. Forest Service ranger.

The village ended up being approved to take two bull moose and five male deer…the village is using some of its COVID relief money to get a community walk-in refrigerator/freezer to safely store deer, fish and moose for the community.”

 

The Indian Health Service continues to work closely with our tribal partners and state and local public health officials to coordinate a comprehensive public health response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat.” IHS – November 2020

Teaching Young Hunters…The Navajo Way

O’siyo.  Hunting season is here in Indian Country. This special article from the Navajo Times illustrates the importance of training young hunters correctly. The Navajo teach their young that there is more than the “kill”.  Lessons include showing respect for the land, the animals, other hunters, and the culture of the elders.  This teaching is exemplified by Navajo hunting mentor Larry Joe, an officer of the Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Conservation department.

2013 Young Hunters. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept.

2013 Young Hunters. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept.

2008  Navajo Annual Youth Hunt. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept

2008 Navajo Annual Youth Hunt. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept

Excerpt:  More than hunting…By Marley Shebala, Navajo Times

“ As Brandon Nicholls, 13, of Teec Nos Pos, Ariz., hunted on the high ridges and deep crevices of the Carrizo Mountains for trophy bucks, Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife conservation officer Larry Joe pointed out various plants to him. For Joe, one of 20 volunteer mentors in last weekend’s 4th Annual Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Youth Hunt, hunting is more than hunting.

He learned from his grandparents and Navajo medicine men that hunting involves knowledge of Navajo culture and in the old days took several years to learn.

As Joe walked, he offered quick, quiet briefings to his young charge, telling what each plant was named and how they are used in the Navajo way.

 He pointed out a small pine tree that had its branches broken on one side. That’s where a buck had rubbed its antlers, he told Nicholls. Passing a small cluster of towering pine trees swaying in the wind, he pointed under them and showed Nicholls where deer had lain – here a buck, there a doe.

2008 Navajo Annual Youth Hunt mentors and participants. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept.

Joe had awakened Nicholls at 5 a.m. so they could be out in the thickest parts of the mountains while it was still semi-dark and cold – a time when the biggest bucks would be feeding…Nicholls grew more and more tired. It was not easy for him to climb up and down steep slopes that were thick with brush that hid loose rocks, all the while carrying a backpack and rifle.

Nicholls quickly learned that it took skill to trek the hills with as little noise as possible. Joe often had to turn and whisper a warning to walk more quietly because the sounds of breaking twigs and sliding rocks was keeping the trophy bucks ahead of them…

2008 Young Navajo hunters... waiting. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept.

2008 Young Navajo hunters… waiting. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept.

At about 3 p.m. when Joe and Nicholls resumed their quest joined by two other hunt participants, Nathan Dooley, 14, of Vanderwagen, N.M., and Kolt Mike, 12, of Mexican Springs, N.M., who had each harvested a buck.

As they walked down a streambed lined with pine, blue spruce, cedar and pi–on trees, Joe showed the three teens the tracks of mountain lion, elk, bucks, does, and a bear.

Joe then showed how to field dress the carcass…Joe asked Dooley and Mike to tell Nicholls how they disposed of their bucks’ intestines and when they said to throw it away, he laughed, pointed at a nearby pine tree, and told Nicholls to place the entrails on the east side of it.

The three boys were then instructed to hang the carcass from the tree, using its antlers, so Nicholls could pull out the esophagus and tongue, all in one piece, and add them to the pile under the pine tree.

Joe explained to the young hunters that in the Navajo way, after all the entrails are placed on the east side of the pine tree, the hunter then makes an “X” with white corn meal.

Disposing of the innards in this way continues the breath of life in the spirit of the spike, who will bring life and strength to other bucks and does.

And all of this was done by the light of Joe’s truck headlamps. As soon as the sun set in a majestic blaze of color, darkness had enveloped the mountains.

Young Navajo hunters, tired but proud. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept.

Young Navajo hunters, tired but proud. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept.

As Joe prepared to break camp, Dooley asked if he would help him finish skinning the head of his buck and teach him how to tan the hide.

Another young hunter overheard Dooley’s request and chimed in his request.

Joe smiled and nodded his head yes.” Read the entire article…

For more information concerning the 2013 Annual Youth Hunt click here.

For general hunting information: Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept. 

Kudos to Larry Joe, and to all of the mentors at the Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Youth Hunt. Also, to the parents and grandparents who teach their young to hunt with respect.

Talking-Feather would like to give  A special “thank you” (Ahe’hee’) to N.S. Dooley for bringing this wonderful article to our attention!

“…in the Navajo way, after all the entrails are placed on the east side of the pine tree, the hunter then makes an “X” with white corn meal. That makes the place holy, it becomes the center of the world. It is the entrance between this world and the spirit world for the young deer.”  ~Larry Joe~ Navajo mentor-Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept. 

Category: Hunting