On the evening of Tuesday, 26 October 1915 Shackleton 'gave the order to lower boats, gear, provisions, and sledges to the floe, and move them to the flat ice a little way from the ship.' (E.H. Shackleton, South, London (1998 ed.), p.74), as the Endurance began to lose her one-sided battle against the ice. She had drifted 1186 miles in the frozen sea from the point where first beset, and was about 346 miles from Paulet Island, the nearest land. 'Dump camp' was established two hundred yards from the ship and Shackleton began to plan a march across the ice towards Paulet Island.
With this march in mind, weight was an issue, and all unnecessary kit was abandoned: 'The order was that personal gear must not exceed two pounds per man, and this meant that nothing but bare necessaries was to be taken on the march. We could not afford to cumber ourselves with unnecessary weight. Holes had been dug in the snow for the reception of private letters and little personal trifles, the Lares and Penates of the members of the Expedition, and into the privacy of these white graves were consigned much of sentimental value and not a little of intrinsic worth. I rather grudged the two pounds allowance per man, owing to my keen anxiety to keep weight at a minimum, but some personal belongings could fairly be regarded as indispensable...' (E.H. Shackleton, op. cit., p.83).
Amongst the indispensable items were three guns from the ship, which proved their utility on 28 October when Wild shot a Weddell and a crab-eater seal. Two days later: 'This afternoon Sallie's three youngest pups, Sue's Sirius, and Mrs Chippy, the carpenter's cat, have to be shot. We could not undertake the maintenance of weaklings under the new conditions. Macklin, Crean and the Carpenter seem to feel the loss of their friends rather badly.' (E.H. Shackleton, op. cit., pp.81-2). At their more stable platform, Ocean Camp, McNeish, the carpenter, worked on making the whaler and cutter seaworthy while 'The rest of the party spent their time hunting. Most of the men went out in pairs to look for seals while the dog drivers exercised their teams around the floe...Killing the seal was usually a bloody business. Wild had brought from the ship a revolver, a 12-gauge shotgun, and .33 [sic]-caliber rifle, but ammunition was limited. As a result the men killed the seals by hand whenever possible. (A. Lansing, Endurance, Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, New York (1988 ed.), p.81).
Wild appears to have had charge of the rifle (Bakewell's "saddle gun" purchased in Montana), which can be seen propped up against a pair of ski in two of Hurley's photographs taken at Ocean Camp in early November 1915, using it later to save Orde-Lees and himself from an attacking sea-leopard, and, soon after is recorded as using the revolver to shoot four further teams of dogs.
The shotgun was taken by Shackleton on the last leg of the journey, the eight-hundred mile voyage in the James Caird with Worsley, Crean, McNeish, Vincent and McCarthy from Elephant Island to South Georgia. Shackleton used the shotgun to bag albatross after their landing on the island and then left it with McNeish at Peggoty Camp ('You are left with a double barrelled gun, 50 cartridges...', instructions written by Shackleton in McNeish's diary, 18 May 1916) as he, Crean and Worsley set off to walk across the island to the whaling station at Grytviken.