The following excerpt is based on true events that took place around 1980. What’s Up Yukon’s editorial staff would like to remind you that there are laws in the Yukon against wasting meat.
Part One was published in the Jan. 29, 2015 issue; Part Two in Feb. 26, 2015. It left the three French guys heading back to Faro, their hunting trip a bust. Claude and Jacques want to bag a moose, while Marcel would rather not kill anything. Go to www.whatsupyukon.com to see the full story. Look for it in the “Literature” section.
Issue: 2015-04-30 PHOTO: kozzi.com
As they approached Faro, the dismal little houses with their grey rooftops and tiny square windows gradually came into view. Smoke billowed out of their chimneys and formed a thin veil across the darkening sky. Spires of spruce trees dotted the landscape all around and the mountaintops were fi lled with snow. The men went for a beer. There was a live band playing and the bar was fi lled with people, mostly miners. Claude, Jacques and Marcel took a table in the corner and ordered food along with three Labatt Blues. Somehow Claude became all charged up:
“In the morning,” he said, “we’ll try another spot, on the other end of town. The moose are in rut and I heard some guys over at the gas station say there are a lot of good swamps and wallows out there. But this time we’ll bring the moose decoy and spray her with scent. If that doesn’t get our moose going I don’t know what will. Since we only have one more day left, what do you say, should we give it a try?”
Jacques raised his bottle; he could feel the booze already going to his head, “Here! Here! Let’s do it, let’s go get us that moose!”
A few tables away from the three French guys were a table with another three guys but they were American. They had on plaid shirts and khaki pants and were wearing hunters’ caps. They were speaking very loudly and acting obnoxiously. This is what they were saying to one another:
“Well, fellows, we finally got ourselves that Yukon moose we came looking for. And what a superb beast he is! Did you see the size of those antlers — I measured sixty-three inches across. Not bad for a day’s work! That moose head is a true symbol of the wilderness. It’ll be perfect for my trophy room.”
One of the other guys objected and he even brought his fist to the table, “Hey, what do you mean your trophy room? What about my trophy room?”
The third then started up but from a different angle and his tone was more practical, “When we get to Whitehorse we should ship our trophy out to an American taxidermist, and first thing; mounting an animal is an art form after all and we don’t want some rookie messing it all up.”
Then the first guy for some reason kept glancing over at the three French guys. He noticed they were sitting there eating, drinking beer, and looking kind of glum. Coming over to their table, he wanted to know, “Hey, are you guys hunters? Yes? I thought so. If you’re interested up in the bush a couple of miles in there’s a moose carcass. It took a few shots but in the end we got him. We brought down the head but we have no use for all that meat. It’s yours for the taking if you want to hike up there and get it. It’s going to start rotting soon anyway.”
He gave Claude detailed directions of how to get to the slain animal.
Claude thanked the man. What an incredible stroke of luck! Of course they would go and get that moose and fi rst thing in the morning. At the crack of dawn, hiking a few hours, they found the animal easily enough. They approached it with caution making sure the way was clear of bears or wolves.
Claude couldn’t believe it, “Would you look at the size of him! What a beast! Too bad it wasn’t us that brought him down. What a rush that would have been!”
Taking the leaves and twigs out of the carcass, there was a lot of work to be done skinning and quartering the animal. The bones were massive. It was particularly hard to cut through the hide as it was so tough and thick, especially in the back. Finally they got it all done. They packed as much meat as they could and headed back to town. It took them four trips in total.
Early the next day the men headed back to Whitehorse. Driving down the Mayo Road, there was something weighing heavily on Marcel’s mind. He began, “Trophy hunting is cruel and it’s wasteful; it’s just killing for the sake of killing. And they simply left the carcass there to rot.”
Claude cut him off and with a laugh, “Hey, Marcel, chill out, will you; don’t be such a mood-spoiler. Just look at it this way: our trip wasn’t a total loss -- now at least we have a truckload of meat. I say, God bless those Americans! God bless trophy hunters!”
To be continued...