We were going to do it the hard way. We were going to massacre a herd of caribou the way our forefathers used to do it, the traditional way, or as traditional as you can get in 20th century Creeland.

There we were, four city slickers on the kangaroo express through Val d’Or, Nemaska, Waskaganish, Eastmain, Wemindji and finally our final destination before the slaughter, “Chasibi.”

Val d’Or was uneventful save for the fine cognac Vincent bought for our early morning coffees in the “casse croûte.” Then, after passing through security, it was on to Nemaska. Aircreebec was zippin’ through the cold northern air right on schedule. I hop off the plane to pick up my goose down blanket my mom sewed for me when I was still a young lad. I also had a chance to pick up my Sports Illustrated desk calendar Roger got me for Christmas. Who knows, I thought; we might need a calendar in the bush. A quick goodbye and good luck and we were off again.

At last we landed in Chasibi. A half-hour wait and representatives from the Mandow Agency finally drove up and practically laid out the red carpet for us. A frozen beaver lay wrapped in the back of their mini-van. A gift? I thought. No such luck.

We drive into town for bullets, shells and snare wire and borrowed arms. A 30-30, a .410, a .22 and hamburgers and fries at the Mitchuap Restaurant. Matthew Coon Come and his crew are just finishing lunch when we walk in. “I hear you guys are going caribou hunting,” they ask. The sun is setting when we head off for Radisson. We pack up the sleds and the machines are revved up just down the road from the LG-2 spillway. Finally at around eight o’clock we are off and it is pitch black. Two American hunters have joined the hunt and have obviously never driven skidoos before. There are a few rest stops and once or twice the Americans miss the trail. More than half way to the camp Doug the American stops the skidoo on the trail to examine two frozen caribou killed by one of the Nine O’clock brothers. We will be hunting on their trapline. Just before midnight we drive into camp and stumble into one of the cabins. Lawrence and Gary quickly start a fire and the city slickers huddle around the cold stove.

We wake up latish to a beautiful northern morning and I walk to the kitchen for freshly brewed instant coffee courtesy of Doug and Lou, the Americans. The others straggle in one by one into the warm kitchen. After a quick breakfast we head north with Lorenzo leading the way. Less than 15 minutes later he sees fresh tracks and we’re on their trail. Lawrence, of course, spots them first. We stop, lock and load, ride along the snowy shore towards three caribou. Two adults and a calf. They break into a run and stop. We keep going. Finally Lawrence stops and leaps off his snow machine. (Doug the American later reports Lawrence saying,”Kill them, kill them all!”) I debate whether to shoot with the camera or the practically antique 30-30 Winchester I borrowed for just this occasion. Screw the photos! I think. I run ahead and take aim. I’m too impatient and I have to shoot through a stand of trees and miss. I curse myself as the young beast takes off running. I run a few feet through deep snow and trees for a better shot. My second shot hits but the tough young thing gets up. I take another shot and he finally goes down. While I was doing all that several shots from the Americans’ high-powered rifles rang out. The three caribou lay dying on the lake. Lawrence and Gary expertly gut them and we return to camp triumphant and heads held high. Not bad for the first half hour.

The next day Will is bloodthirsty after eyeing our kill. The group heads toward the opposite direction but nothing is spotted except a lone caribou that quickly heads for the trees and escapes. Several ptarmigan are shot and head back with a stalled ski-doo. Gary pushes the sled and machine with me steering. Near the camp I take a sharp turn and I wreck the sled hitch. The teasing starts.

We head out again after a quick warmup. We spot two herds not far from each other. Will takes a few long shots and they take off. We head for the other herd. A few more shots and two more caribou for dinner. Will has satisfied his blood thirst. Finally. Akuuda.