Of Whales and the Hinckley Hunt on Christmas Eve, 1818
by Scott T. Starbuck

“An 1890 engraving depicts the Great Hinckley Hunt of 1818. Nearly
600 men participated in the Christmas Eve hunt, which bagged 21 bears,
17 wolves, 300 deer and untold numbers of turkeys, foxes and raccoons.”
Mark J. Price, Akron Beacon Journal, December 22, 2013

The spring after the 1818 massacre of corralled Ohio wildlife
there were no wolf howls under a full moon,

no red fox flashes at dawn,
no pesky bears harming fences and livestock.

With predators gone and deer out of fields,
farmers had a better chance of survival.

It was reported they sang, told stories,
and filled bellies with game.

It was a different world then
with different pressures and habits

like how my ancestors, 800 miles east,
shipped out to kill sperm whales,

risking huge toothy jaws
that killed or crippled thousands.

The Treaty of St. Mary’s had been signed in October
dooming the Myaaniaki Tribe to Oklahoma Territory

and Christ child was safe in manger.
Bear and whale fat dripped off hair and faces.

Buzzards gathered.
Chickens and sheep would be safe.