SI Vault
Edited by Martin Kane
April 06, 1970
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April 06, 1970


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Stories that Denny McLain will be "absolved" by a Federal grand jury in Detroit are irresponsible and may be disregarded. Federal grand juries do not absolve anyone of anything. They indict or do not indict someone. Occasionally, they name a person a co-conspirator; to get inside information of a criminal activity, the Government often gives a participant a choice between being prosecution witness or defendant.

McLain has admitted that he engaged in bookmaking activities in 1967. Whether or not the grand jury eventually names him as a co-conspirator matters little; he is likely to be a prosecution witness in a subsequent Government case against anyone who is indicted.

Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn cannot even be considering "absolution." The duration of McLain's suspension is the only issue.


The meat of the polar bear is tough and strong to the palate but it is rich in protein. Polar bear meat and hide, the latter for clothing, are almost invaluable to men trying to live off the land the big white bear inhabits. Or it used to be that way. In a sense it still is, but the terms of usefulness have changed. The bear now represents dollars.

When the white man came to the white bear's habitat he brought with him more efficient methods of hunting than the Eskimo ever knew, and along with them a desire for trophies the Eskimo never understood. During the construction of the DEW line there was indiscriminate slaughter of the big bears. To counteract it, the Canadian Wildlife Service put the bears on a quota system, the quota varying with a bear census and constituting, in effect, a controlled harvest by the Eskimos. Before the quota the average polar bear kill in the Canadian Arctic was about 600, somewhere near the maximum the bear population could stand. In 1967-68 the quota was set at 383 animals; it was 413 for the next year, and 390 for the 1969-70 season. Actual kill has consistently run a few animals under the fixed quota.

The quota system permitted no white man to take a bear. Just Eskimos. This year, for the first time, the Northwest Territories government has given the Eskimo owner of a permit the option either to use his permit himself or sell it to a white hunter.

Terms of the leased hunt stipulate that no aircraft or snowmobiles are allowed. Hunters coming in must buy the permit from the Eskimo holder, then buy the Eskimo's guide service, which stipulates that each hunter must hire two guides and two dog teams, on the ground that only in that way can the natives guarantee the necessary equipment (caribou clothing) and service (a place to stay before and after the hunt). The Eskimos get the meat but skin out the trophy for the hunter. Likely charge: $2,000 per hunter.


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