Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/55

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33
STOCKING A MENAGERIE

could not be found on the shore. What was still more tantalizing was that they would permit their pursuers to approach within a hundred feet of the ice blocks on which they discreetly held forth.

After he had abandoned all hope of capturing them alive, he determined to have some sport shooting them. As before stated, the walruses would remain on the ice until the party came within one hundred feet of them, resting all the time in perfect silence and raising their enormous heads as if curious to see what manner of men had the temerity to invade their dominion. In that position they were, of course, perfect targets for the bullets. When wounded they would collect in a group, and then, as if by a preconceived signal, they would rush for the boats, and their retaliation would be furious and the attacking party was usually wholly unprepared for the onslaught. As a walrus frequently weighs nearly a ton, and sometimes more, the hunters were in imminent danger of being tipped over into the cold waves a catastrophe which would be almost certain to result fatally; and as the movement of the walrus is very swift, the only alternative left the party was to empty their guns on the foremost of the creatures. This would break