Men from Mars
Last night we dined on elk courtesy of
Frank's nephew "J." While it was truly
delicious - you won't find me hunting
in the near or distant future. It was just
a week ago that the thermometer barely
hit zero. Yet "J" and other alpha males
were out searching for anything legal to
eradicate. While I enjoy their spoils of
war (i.e. meat) their eagerness to risk
frostbite for the thrill of the kill baffles.
They must have the DNA of a predator.
Yet I rarely exhibit such traits except at
the annual Barney's sale! Am I odd?!
License to kill
Most of my female friends have been
on their own since early fall. In theory
their significant others are out in the
woods gathering food for their kin.
Yet never assume their prized protein
is "free." The fact is it costs mucho to
snuff out innocent wildlife. That's why
we welcome the temporarily insane
(i.e. city slickers) to Central Montana.
By the time they've bagged something,
the locals have dropped off a big bag
of their cash at the bank. After all, it's
going to be a long winter. Bang bang!
All dressed up...
True predators must have the proper
accoutrements. Hence these macho
men spend a fortune on bows and
firearms alone! Next come the togs.
Camouflage is de rigeur but having
enough layers and cold weather gear
to faciliate sitting out in ten degrees
below zero can be pricey. Once all
cozy, do some of them nap as they
stalk? If so, that's an expensive way
to snooze yet explains why most of
them return home with NOTHING.
Is this all about hunting or escaping?
What a drag
Finally once they've bagged their beast, they
have to get it home and into the freezer. The
very idea of gutting your prize then dragging
a five to seven hundred pound corpse several
miles out of the wild doesn't seem to me to be
much fun. After the drive back to civilization
you have to drop off the resulting mess at the
"Meat Processor." Paying an expert to legally
carve up your carcass and then package it into
edible portions can cost hundreds of dollars.
And don't forget that even if it's below zero,
you're going to have to stop at the car wash
to clean up whatever remains. Having fun?
Isn't there a better way? Couldn't these guys
bond on some sunny beach? Instead all must
literally freeze. You see, everyone in town
has at least one deep freezer. After you bring
all of that meat home your have to store it.
Don't forget any other bits or pieces that are
waiting to be mounted. One may toss a head
or two into the freezer until spring! Given
many locals keep their thermostats at 65 it's
rather odd that they have no problem running
several freezers in their basements or garages
year round. I guess after all the energy it took
to kill the damned things it's worth the juice!
Oddly most hunters feel they must
display a permanent memorial of
their conquest. Hence taxidermists
make quite a tidy living preserving
the remains of local birds, fish, and
mammals. Petrifying one's prey can
cost a bundle depending on what
how big the "treasure." As if gory
memories weren't enough, all the
victors return home with a furry
trophy that in theory will soon be
hung in a place of honor. If their
wives decide, that's in the garage.
At all cost
Apparently a hefty heaping of male
pride can be quite expensive. In the
end the cost of bagging an elk buck
is substantially more than the price of
an aged porter house at Twenty One.
Let's tally it all up:
$821, out of state Elk Tag.
$700, round trip airfare (New York).
$700, six nights at Calvert Hotel.
$700, meals including primo vino.
$850, week SUV rental and gas.
$1000, luxe firearm plus ammo.
$500, hunting/cold weather togs
$350, meat processing, shipping.
$500, taxidermy plus shipping.
$100, bottle of scotch for rancher.
$9.95 Car Wash
Plus a bauble bribe for the babe...
or $ 28.44 a pound!