Elk Trader magazine: Where animals are bought
and sold like used Chevys

By Justin Rybinski

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I'll give you two elk for a cheese wheel, a wagon and three bales of hay.

For those of you who don't know, I recently moved into an apartment with my girlfriend and a few other comrades. Obviously, the week before this happened was hectic, to say the least. In the midst of this hecticness (which is now a word), I found an odd magazine sitting atop the kitchen table: Elk Trader.

I'm not one to do wild double-takes, but this was one exception. I've seen some pretty odd publications out there, but Elk Trader? People trade elk? There are enough of these people to warrant a monthly magazine about it? Why the bloody 'ell is this resting on my kitchen table, where Entertainment Weekly and The Buffalo News usually reside? I can only answer one of those questions-the last one. My stepdad bought it.

He's one of those guys who LOVES hunting/shooting/
trapping/poaching/murdering mags, but rarely goes out and does what the magazine is about. He owns a few guns and a crossbow of some sort (I'm hardly a weapons expert), but never hunts more than the occasional deer. Since he lives in a fairly small suburban house, I highly doubt he's seriously interested in purchasing an elk, or any other large animal. Where would he put it, in the vacuum closet? Seeing him own this magazine is hardly the surprise here; seeing this magazine exist is.

What do people do with elk, anyways? The slogan of the magazine is "Raise the Legend," whatever that means. So, I see you raise them. Into what, food? It's not like you can race elk like you can horses or dogs. Firefighters aren't rushing out to buy elk to help rescue burning babies, old women don't keep elk in cages to keep them company, and I certainly have never seen a long line at the "Wild 'n' Crazy Elk Exhibit" at the local zoo (I can only assume that exhibit exists). Basically, elk are useless, except for food. There, I said it. I've also never heard of any "legendary" elk, but that could just be more media discrimination.

I'm looking for a used elk, preferably no later than a '95 model, can you help me out?

The sad thing is, I've actually TASTED elk before. Ben, my roommate senior year of college, brought some up from his home (Flinton, PA-find it on a map, win a prize). Using his magic Ben powers, he made a spaghetti sauce out of elk meat. Even though it tastes exactly like ground beef, the smell is awful beyond words. After this, Ben was known as "the kid who eats elk" all around campus, and girls refused to date him. Whatever he gets, he deserves, that elk-murdering bastard.

I'm going to apologize right now for all the uses of the word "elk" in this article. If someone knows a synonym for elk, please let me know. Elk elk elk.

Okay, let's talk about the actual magazine. Have you ever seen an Auto Trader magazine? Elk Trader looks EXACTLY like that. It's very surreal to see pages upon pages of elk for sale (or trade!) in the same setup at Auto Trader. It just doesn't seem right. Even more disturbing is the little write-up each elk gets. Everything you could possibly want to know about the elk in question is available to you, the reader, including the elk's name, age, gender, dimensions, locations, turn-ons, favorite restaurants, sexual preference and typing ability (in WPM). I've noticed that most of the elk in this magazine have female names, which must mean that female elk are readily available, unlike in the human personal ad section, where only men are listed. The name Ellie was very popular among the elk, for reasons not even Einstein, Socrates and Jesus could comprehend. Oh wait, I get it-"Ellie the Elk." Ha ha ha. Good one, elk farmers.

Thank you, Idaho.

Almost all of the elk ranches came from Idaho, which says a lot about their culture. I don't know anyone from Idaho, so if you live in Idaho (especially the state capital, Idaho City), please let me know if there is more to Idaho life than elk ranching and potato farming. This isn't just an Idaho publication, this issue covers the entire U.S.

Just so you know, your average elk costs about $5,000, so once again, it's either buy an elk or a car. It's a tough decision, but it's one most families will have to make at least once a year.

So many choices...

Listen, I'd love to write more about this atrocity to our planet, but the pictures say more than anything I'd be able to write. Check 'em out while they're fresh. If I ever write the word "elk" in any article again, please let me know so I can wrap myself in a carpet and throw myself in a river.


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