Wapiti Tonight

bull elk

We’re cooking elk tonight. A neighbour, who likes to hunt,  has a freezer overflowing with wapiti bits and has graciously given us some thick steaks. I think we’ll slow roast them in a clay baker.

I enjoy game meat but I am not a hunter. There’s no thrill in the kill for me. The only time I ever  ‘ hunted ‘ anything was as an exuberant twelve year old trying to bag a couple of squirrels in the woods behind our home. I wound up slicing my hand damn near in half in the breech of a pump-action pellet rifle. I took that as a sign.

There are places where the population seems more than comfortable with our advantageous spot on the universal food chain.

I was in Newfoundland producing a documentary with cameraman Mark Filmer (good name for a cameraman) when we came upon a pile of caribou heads atop a picnic table.  That might not faze the average Newfoundlander but it certainly caused me to hit the brakes.

Filmer and friends

Filmer and friends

I also had the opportunity of roaring around Texas in search of television features. Texas is not the place to be if you sport any horns at all. In fact, it’s best to keep your head way down if you’re prone to grazing.

There is a place in San Antonio called the Buckhorn Hall of Horns that will make even the most ardent hunter blush..or flush. In 1881 a saloon owner named Albert Friedrich offered a shot of whiskey or a beer to anyone who walked through his front door with a set of deer antlers. People must have been damn thirsty because before too long the collection of horned trophies was massive. There are 1,200 trophy mounts in this place representing 520 species of horned, finned, furred and feathered creatures. If you are a conservationist you will run screaming into the night.

[picapp src=”0195/ffea43f7-2ebb-4805-96c8-7eba31c88799.jpg?adImageId=6333385&imageId=199347″ width=”337″ height=”506″ /] The strangest gallery at the Buckhorn Hall of Horns (once you get past all the chairs and chandeliers made from the pointy end of a steer)  features the heads of cattle whose horns have grown in very odd directions.

Some have turned back toward the face and actually killed the very animal they belong to. Kind of grisly, I know.

I’ll try not to think of it when I’m tucking into the wapiti tonight.


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