utside in the dark, the wind whistles around the cabins of Charlie Lake Camp, insolently flapping a piece of loose tin on the cookhouse roof. To me, it is the doleful pulse of desolation. But to Peter Wellman, the host of this huddle of metal-sided cabins plopped down on the northern Quebec tundra, the wind carries notes of promise and redemption. “Sometimes the wind gets ’em moving, trailing down from the north,” Wellman pronounces to no one in particular but to every one of us eight caribou hunters sitting around wooden tables in the lantern-lit kitchen. We are drinking—beer for some, whiskey for others—and grumbling about the absence of animals over the course of the last four days. The camp has seen only a single caribou so far, and I’d killed it earlier in the day. I wouldn’t call Wellman an optimist. He had told us when we arrived, the drone of the twin-engine Otter trailing away from Charlie Lake’s rocky airstrip, that we should expect a week of tough hunting. “Last two groups, they have to really work for ’em,” he said in his singsong French-Canadian accent. I’d call Wellman a pragmatist. Here he was, presiding over a camp full of disgruntled hunters who were sipping drinks and nursing simmering frustrations. He needed to seed some hope. “Some years, after a good wind like this, we’ll wake up and have bulls walking around the cabins.” The kitchen crowd stirs. Someone mumbles “bullshit” under his breath. But we each imagine what it might look like, bulls with wrist-thick antlers knocking around between the generator shed and the tin outhouse.