Friday, December 11, 2009

The Walrus and the Bushman

Elfshot is now available from Newfoundland Bushman. I had a good meeting on Wednesday with Kendall Flood, the owner and wilderness guide who is very enthusiastic about Newfoundland's outdoors. It seems like Elfshot reproductions and jewelery will be a good fit with Kendall's clients. If it happens outdoors - these guys do it!

Other than that, I've been working on the Thule harpoon. Its going well and I have the harpoon head, foreshaft, mainshaft and finger rest roughed out. I'm starting to wonder why I'm only making one. These things usually go a lot faster and easier if I make a couple at a time. I suspect the reason that I didn't start out making two is that I'd probably need to cut into a new walrus tusk and whale rib. They are my last of each and I'll miss them when they are gone. Especially the tusk.

Walrus ivory is legal to own in Canada. There is a subsistence hunt carried out in Nunavut concentrated on Foxe Basin. Fermented walrus meat is considered a delicacy. From what I've been told the walrus is buried on a beach for several months until it starts to ferment. I've never tried it, so I'm not sure how you can tell when its done, but the folks who like it, like it very much. The tusks and baculum are secondary products that are sold within the hunter's communities. If you purchase ivory in the North, you'll need to show it to a wildlife officer and get a permit before you are able to bring them south. The tusks that I have were purchased in Cape Dorset for me several years back. I tried to get some more while I was on Baffin Island in 2008, but I didn't have any luck. I guess I need to try again harder.

Photo Credits:
First: Screen Grab from Newfoundland Bushman website
Second-Fourth: Tim Rast

Photo Captions:
First: Homepage for Newfoundland Bushman
Second: Laying out the Thule Harpoon
Third: The ivory harpoon head and nephrite endblade roughed out
Fourth: Humpback whale rib and Walrus Tusk

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