The mounted animals look down at you like judges ready for sentencing.

Over the aisles of rods and reels, shotguns and rifles, fishing tackle, ammunition, hang stuffed animals, frozen in their final moment of life.

Hunters have always stayed close to their prey.

In New Guinea, deep in jungles, hunters wear shrunken heads of enemies around their waist. Plains Indians danced under the moon at night wearing buffalo robes with horns hooking the air. Ancient Incas wore feathered head dresses. Seafaring whaling men carved walrus tusks with designs of ships and harpoons. Oceanic islanders wear shark teeth around their wrists.. Texans put cow horns on car bumpers. Sportsmen hang calendars in their garages that feature big game animals and buxom women. Presidents pose with one foot on the body of a downed lion.

Nature’s variety is on display here and, fortunately,for them, our eating habits have changed. Most of us urban folk don’t dine on deer, raccoon, llamas, opossums,alligators, snakes or geese.

Human consumption of alcohol, though, saves more animals than the Sierra Club could dream about.

Elk, sitting at the bar at the nearby Antler Inn, raise mugs each evening and pray for coolers filled with Old Milwaukee beer and coffee tweaked with Jim Beam left where hunters can easily find them.

Looking up at these trophies, you can feel their spirit.

Even in death and pieces,these animals seem too regal to be stuffed and hung on a grocery store wall.

 

 

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