23 June 2013

Philadelphia Game Market in December 1864

December 9, 1864. Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, page 8.

City Intelligence.

Game. — Our markets at the present time are well supplied with deer, notwithstanding which, however, venison is esteemed a delicacy, and as such is on the bills of fare of our first-class hotels and restaurants; but very many regard the best cut of a "saddle" as altogether inferior to a good "sirloin" or "porter house." A good cut off a saddle can be got at the rate of twenty-five cents per pound, which, as far as deer is concerned, is a prohibitory game for the poor man. Indeed, the prices which the dealers affix to all kinds of game which they expose for sale are such that they would seem effectually to debar almost all but the inveterate game-eater from patronizing their stalls. Nevertheless, the day's supply is the day's demand, the dealer secures his inevitable profits and the extravagance buyer his game dinner. We learn that the woods in the neighborhood of Altoona are more thickly infested with deer this season than for years back.

They are all in fine condition. Some of the heaviest ever heard of have been killed this season. Old hunters say that there are deer now in this locality which do not belong here, being larger, and the bucks having different shaped antlers from those usually found on these mountains. It is supposed they cam hither either from New York State, or from the mountains of Virginia. Almost every train from the East takes hunters to the mountains, but we doubt whether all of them get sufficient venison to compensate them for their loss of time, railroad fare, and destruction of shoe leather.

The quail and pheasant, both very scarce in the market this season, are real game birds, and are justly esteemed great delicacies. Quails are well nigh extinct in this section of the State, and the most that find their way to the markets come from abroad. The cold weather of last winter was more effectual in slaughtering these princely little birds that the guns of generations of hunters would have proved. Of the few quails found in the markets, a dozen may be purchased for about six dollars, or at the rate of fifty cents a piece. Wild ducks and geese have been in great abundance during the present season, and command, considering the prices on things in general, a very moderate figure. Good, fat mallard ducks, from the marshes, are to be found strung up in large numbers in all the stalls. Wild geese, like the same, are not the most esteemed of birds, but being wild, they hold their own as a game delicacy. There are a few woodcock and snipe to be found in the market, but bearing superior prices to the quail and pheasant, are not sought after in preference to the latter.