by Darren “Moose” Ripley, Veterans Services Coordinator
On August 18, I accompanied Dale Dana of Motahkmikuk, in the woods to harvest birch bark to make moose calls.
Dale had instructed me on what type of birch to use (white birch) and to use winter bark- not summer bark- as winter bark is thicker. After finding our trees we were going to use, he showed me how to cut and remove the bark from the tree. It was raining which made it easier to remove the bark. Wet bark is ideal as it is very flexible and easily shaped for making the calls. Dale also showed me his hunting spots where he has harvested numerous moose over the years. (Dale- your secret is safe with me!)
The trip was fun and educational as I got to hear hunting stories from when he was younger, how he has taught his children to call, track and hunt, as well as how he is passing on his knowledge to other hunters as well. We also observed recent deer and moose activity while in the woods.
On August 19, we had our “Make Your Own Birch Bark Moose Call” event at the Indian Township Recreation Center.
We were joined by fellow veterans, Mark Richter and Richard Stevens, as Dale showed us how to properly roll and cut the bark to the shape we wanted our call. He also showed us how to properly secure the shape in place while we threaded the sinew that holds our call together. Frank Tomah graced us with his presence and hung out with us for a while as we made our calls.
Overall, it was a momentous day learning a new skill with great people and being taught by great and knowledgeable community member. Dale has a taught us an amazing and interesting craft that we will teach our children and future generations to come. Woliwon Dale!
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