Tag Archives: Irish Elk

A Modern Bestiary – H is for Hippocerf

That’s right.  Hippocerf, not hippogriff. 1126931186_imefairy32

Everyone who’s seen the Harry Potter movies has some idea what a hippogriff looks like, although what you see of it in those movies is highly misleading.  The hippocerf is a whole different matter, and looks like some mad scientist overindulged in absinthe and then slapped a deer and a horse together.

Not true, by the way.  Although the Fachen derive from something like that, the hippocerf has natural origins.

hippocerf 1

Handsome beast, isn’t he?

They’re about the same size as a large moose, or maybe a little bit bigger. That means a hippocerf weighs a ton.  I mean that literally.  Two thousand pounds, or 990 kg, if you’re into the metric system.  Both systems being totally arbitrary, I leave that choice to you.

hippocerf 3  This will give you a decent idea of its size, compared to a smallish human.

Unlike the hippogriff, the hippocerf does not eat meat, as a general rule.  Something we should all be grateful for, as it does have quite the appetite.

hippocerf 2Here’s another view of the creature, fairly accurate, although the snow is due to the artist’s imagination.

The beast is not an habitue of the mountains, but of temperate rain forests and  grassy meadows where it can graze in peace.  Think western Oregon or Washington rather than the Sierra Nevada.

They haven’t been seen in this world in ages, having been wiped out by human hunters and loss of habitat as humans and their herd animals multiplied endlessly.  But a few were swept up by the shockwave of the Fall and found themselves, somewhat bewildered, here.  Much to the delight of human Harvey Hunter types.  And no, I do not mean the baseball player.

harvey hunter  I mean this kind of man – a redneck with a big gun, a small brain, and a truly tiny codpiece.

It took concerted effort on the part of the Fae to save them from a second extinction here, at a time when we were hard-pressed ourselves.  We have managed it, largely for fear that all is lost on the other side of the doors we can no longer open.

Those Fae who’ve taken up the task of guarding them from further human depredations – those are the Fae you should worry about.  The Horned One, in particular, has an affinity with the hippocerf, for obvious reasons.

cernunnos

He holds his own version of the Wild Hunt these days, targeting those unwary enough to offend him, or shoot his charges.  Then he cleans up the scene by feeding his prey to his hounds.

I’d avoid that fate, if I were you.  Hunting deer is one thing.  There are plenty of deer on hand.  Too many, where their own natural predators have been wiped out.  Hunt them, and you’ll have many a fine meal as a result, and actually do the woods some good.  Take a hippocerf down, and you’ll become the game yourself.

Oh, and one final word on the subject.

M giganteus Some humans believe the hippocerf is merely a mangled memory of the Irish Elk, seen here.

Not so.  Look at the feet, if you’re in doubt.  The Irish elk has two-toed feet, while the hippocerf has a horse’s hoof.

elk hoof   An elk’s hoof.horse hoof  A horse’s hoof.

The hippocerf also has a horse’s luxurious tail, and thus its posterior does not really resemble an elk’s ass.

blacktaildeer plat elk

Magnificent too, in its own way. 

So be certain you know what you’re shooting at, if you should seek meat the old-fashioned way.  Your biggest threat will remain other hunters.  Careless hunters. But they probably won’t eat you afterward.

 

 

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