COLUMN: Even Boone and Crockett Antlers have nothing on the huge extinct deer | Sports

Trophies mean different things to different people. When it comes to big game hunting, it is usually the size of the antlers of the males of the species being hunted. There is even a register, kept by the Boone and Crockett Club, of oversized specimens hunted by sportsmen. And yes, we can argue the last part of the previous sentence ad nauseam. It’s like that.

Deer, for example, have antlers measured for circumference in several places, the length of the main beam, the length of individual teeth, and the distribution between the main beams. Measurements are taken in inches to the nearest 1/8 inch and then added up. Asymmetric timbers have these anomalies subtracted from the total score. The minimum for a mule deer entry in the record books the last time I looked was a combined score above 190 inches. Auxiliary information may also involve full outdoor dissemination. At the time, a mule deer measuring over 30 inches outside was considered a real trophy. Today, in this age of hormone-assisted nutritious food given to wild and semi-domestic deer, not so much.

Back then, during the Pleistocene era to be exact, such a puny creature wouldn’t register as a competitive trophy. There was a deer creature, the Megaloceros giganteus, which was about the size of a present day Alaskan moose, weighing about 1,500 pounds and with antlers extending about 12 feet. Yes, 12 feet of bone growing on the head of this enormous monstrosity.

When I was hunting in the woods, I found a place where a late season bull elk was wintering behind Windy Mountain. It was probably a park elk that had learned to go out late. I believe that because for several years I hunted this area exclusively for him and he was not there during the regular season. I think I almost caught up with him on the last day of the season a year, but that’s another story.

The area chosen by this old boy was a fairly open and flat place on a heavily wooded slope a few hundred yards deep. The reason I know is that I spent several seasons wintering in this opening and the reason it is included in this short piece was this bull’s signature, unique antlers that were there every spring. FYI, there was so much elk droppings that the place looked and smelled like an elk feeding yard.

For several years this old bull dropped his antlers somewhere within the confines of this opening and they were especially distinctive. Unlike the antlers of an ordinary bull, these had the standard two-eyed teeth, but they were then webbed, like the antlers of a moose, into huge, flat palms with three or four tooth remnants growing from each. palm, six to ten inches long. The biggest pair I sold to Lawrence Slack, when he was selling them from his property near the airport, weighed 37 pounds.

This bull had nothing on these Pleistocene deer. And they were deer, not moose or moose or whatever. Their antlers resembled those of the elk antlers I found, except that the examples I saw had many more teeth growing from the palmation and the main beam, larger ones too, and weighed over 90 pounds. A real head of bone.

There are cave drawings of these monsters in France and preserved heads, intact antlers and bones, have been unearthed from Irish bogs for several centuries, probably as long as the Irish burned peat for fuel. Ancient kings and royalty collected these awe-inspiring ornaments, probably taking them from peasants who had broken their buttocks while hollowing out the heads of peat bogs and hung the wooden heads in their castles.

Anyway, although it is classified as a gigantic stag, someone decided a long time ago to label the creature as “the Irish elk”. But then again, the Irish have always been fond of embellishments and extravagant claims to greatness, despite scientists telling us that the creature originally wandered from Russia to Turkey and across Europe. To illustrate the naming problem and the resulting confusion in translation, in Norway and Sweden they call the moose “elg”, which was transplanted to the wrong creature here when these hardy people migrated to America.

Regardless, this huge deer disappeared from Europe around 12,000 years ago, but numerous fossil finds indicate that it persisted in Russia until 8,000 years ago. Various theories have been put forward as to the cause of its extinction, including overhunting by humans, but the now accepted theory is that it was caused by our old friend and rescue excuse for everything, climate change.

It was during this period that a rapid cooling time occurred, known to intellectuals as the Younger Dryas. Yeah, I know, the name sounds funky and bogus, but that’s what the books called it. Despite claims of climate change, it was apparently during this period that Neolithic humans began to appear in numbers and since they had no Albertsons or Blair grocery store to shop for, they killed all that ‘they could to survive and feed their families. Moreover, very few of these thugs were, strictly speaking, vegetarians. I think the correct word is omnivorous.

I imagine the mere thought of half-naked, neglected, hairy dudes piercing through those huge deer and celebrating by having a venison barbecue and dancing around a huge campfire, embers bursting in the night sky, makes it happen. the PETA types of sleepless nights the inherent humanity of it all.

Of course, PETA also didn’t have many members, if any, during the Pleistocene.

About Cheryl Viola

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