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Fish and game, and their uses
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Depending on the season, the big game hunted are wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), moose (Alces alces) and exceptionally brown bear (Ursus arctos).
During the snows, wild reindeer provide the bulk of the meat because hunting moose and red deer is very difficult at this time, as it requires several dogs to track them down. But the Evenk hunter does not need a dog to hunt wild reindeer; he uses his dog only for hunting sable and protecting his caravan from bears in summer and wolves in winter. All of the meat of these large deer is eaten cooked, except for the kidneys and the liver, which are eaten raw, and the blood which is kept for blood pudding. The lungs make a popular dish as do the roasted windpipe with all its cartilage, the muscles of the muzzle and the ears. Leftover bits are given to the dogs. The whole animal is utilized. The skin from the head is used to cover the saddle, the skin from the legs to make shoes, sacks or straps. The tendons from the back are used in sewing and those from the feet to make glue.
Bears are hunted only if they present a danger to the reindeer or to humans, or if a hunter comes across a den close to camp. All the meat, with the exception of the bone marrow, is eaten after a lengthy cooking (from 4 to 5 hrs). The favorite parts are the head and the feet with its pads that are roasted over the fire and licked. There are not many occasions to eat bear, so it is always a time for a get-together where everyone says kuk before taking the first bite.
Everything that is not used is respectfully placed on a raised platform at a distance from the camp ìso that the animalís soul will leave speedily and a new animal will return all the soonerî.
The sable (Martes zibellina) is not eaten; its meat is given to the dogs when there is no other food.
Wolves (Canis lupus) are killed only if they are dangerous. The skin is sold to the Russians; the meat is burned, it isnít even given to the dogs, it is said to be bad luck .
Today the squirrel (Sciurius vulgaris) and the wolverine (Gulo gulo), are only hunted occasionally; their flesh is eaten and considered to be delicious. For the Evenk, the wolverine is the cousin of the bear and therefore related to humans. The chipmunk (Eutamias sibericus) is not hunted.
The flesh of birds is eaten entirely with the exception of the head and the cloaca.
The fish eaten are the burbot (Lota lota), the grayling (Thymallus arcticus) and the salmon.

Author(s): A. Lavrillier
Date created: 2003-09-09 - Date modified: 2004-04-14

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Fabrication of the saddle (0MB)

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Quartered wild reindeer

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