Of Moose And Men

There’s a hollow clearing in the woods about eighty kilometers south of Kakabecca Falls and twenty-six kilometers west of Thunder Bay.

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woodsy path

Every autumn, Albert and about five other men travel sixteen hours to reach it.  These sons of Cain congregate in the dell for a week of male camaraderie and all that that entails – tearing around the woods and fields on four-wheelers, eating red meat laced with Habanero peppers and hunting moose.

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For all their need to escape to the great north and “rough it”, they’re housed quite comfortably.  They outfitted an old tractor-trailer with windows and a door and swathed it in the most arresting shade of blue paint I’ve ever seen.

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 They furnished it with a fully functional kitchen and a wood stove for heat,

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sleeping quarters beyond the kitchen,

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and a shelf for toiletries.

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When the beds are packed away on the way to and from camp, there’s even room to pack an extra vehicle.

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The boys are a motley bunch.  They fill evenings around the wood stove with theological debate, hearty drinking and impromptu Bible study.  Sometimes all three happen at the same time.

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The oldest of the men, Wishbone, is the camp cook.  His real name is Jacob, but with his prickly personality, he’s the epitome of Wishbone, the cattle drive cook from Rawhide, Albert’s favourite old western TV show.

Paul_Brinegar_Rawhide_1962

Paul Brinegar as Wishbone on right

Wishbone (Jacob) is a capable outdoorsman.  He can whip up dinner for seven, wash dishes, then walk into the woods and shoot a bull moose for supper while the rest of the gang (who haven’t seen more than a hoof print in three days) range up to thirty kilometers from camp on their all-terrain vehicles in search of wild game.  Wishbone takes good care of the men, on his terms.  You’re not late to supper and you don’t order the cook to get up and refill your coffee cup when you camp with Wishbone.

The boys climb into their bunk beds and sleep in harmony every night – six-part harmony, that is.  When Albert describes the men snoring, I wonder how any of them get any sleep.  Some of them even snore both ways – drawn-out, seismic tremolo on the way in bridged by sonorous vibrato of the tonsillar pillars on the way out.

Albert is impossibly cute when he sleeps.

Albert is impossibly cute when he sleeps.

They bring a very serviceable shower to the site,

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but now and then, some of the men like to disrobe and wade into a cold, clear lake nearby.  How I relish the thought of posting a picture of four middle-age men cavorting in the water under the bracing northern sky wearing little more than farmer’s tans.  But I can’t, for the simple reason that Albert won’t let me.  Before the men broke camp that week, they made a solemn pact that none of the pictures should ever surface on the Internet.  I am guilty of sharing one of the pictures with a friend, but Albert was alone in that particular photo and we both trust the person I shared it with implicitly.  Besides, I reckon if the men are so anxious that those photos never see the light of day, why, then they should have kept their unmentionables shrouded in that same dark place.

Once Albert comes home with the spoils of the hunt, moose makes a regular appearance on our fall and winter menu.  If the animal is killed properly (read “mercifully”) and butchered correctly, there is usually no need to marinate the meat in vinegar or cook it with onions or to employ any other method commonly used to make wild game edible.  It will taste no different from beef, or perhaps beef will taste no different from moose.

Moose enchiladas,

 moose chops 004

moose fajitas

 Moose fajita

and savory moose chops are a few of the delicious moose meals we enjoy.

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I’ve yet to try my hand at moose loaf and moose medley.  Wishbone might be disposed to share a moose recipe or two with me.  If I ask nicely.

 

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5 responses to this post.

  1. That’s an impressive set-up they’ve got going on. It’s a beautiful spot too. What a wonderful time of fellowship for Albert and his cohorts.

    Reply

  2. Posted by M Krahn on November 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    😉

    Reply

  3. […] His name is Jacob but Albert calls him Wishbone because he perfectly personifies the cranky cook so named in Rawhide, Albert’s favourite old TV western.    Wishbone cooks for the men at Albert’s annual week-long hunting camp as I explained in an earlier post titled Of Moose and Men. […]

    Reply

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