Journal

Moose We Have Known

10.18.2018

moose hooked rug

October is a good time to celebrate one of the largest mammals native to North America, the stately Moose (Alces alces). These mid-autumn weeks are rutting season, when moose do their best to ensure the production of offspring.

Our thoughts turned to moose on a recent trip to northern Maine. We saw a few of the majestic beasts atop trailers being hauled behind pick-up trucks, as Maine’s highly-regulated and restricted moose hunting season had just begun.

We were in the area to check out one of the newest additions to our National Parks system, the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument (KWWNM).

Mount Katahdin

One of the views we captured of Mt. Katahdin (find out more about the KWWNM at https://www.friendsofkww.org/)

After driving along the KWWNM Loop Road, stopping at scenic vistas and taking a few jaunts to explore short side trails, we finished the day with a hike along the historic Wassataquoik Stream—used in the 1840s by loggers to access stands of virgin white pines, and later for driving spruce logs downstream.

Wassataquoik Stream

Wassataquoik Landing by George H. Hallowell, circa 1901. Maine state Library collection.

Explorers, naturalists and sportsmen—including Henry David Thoreau in 1857 and Theodore Roosevelt in 1879—used Wassataquoik Stream in the latter half of the 19th century as an upstream route to access Mount Katahdin.

Wassataquoik Stream

The Wassataquoik looking upstream.

Wassataquoik Stream

The Wassataquoik, looking downstream while dreaming of paddling it.

When we were not musing on Wassataquoik Stream’s distinguished history or looking for boreal birds (we saw two Black-backed Woodpeckers!), we were thinking about moose. That is because we were frequently reminded during our hike that moose are prominent denizens of the northwoods—not because we spotted any, but because we had to watch where we stepped along a trail dotted with piles of fresh moose droppings.

moose droppings

(photo: pressherald.com)

There were also recent moose tracks everywhere.

moose track

(photo: wildernessvolunteers.blogspot.com)

Although we didn’t see a living moose that day, like anyone who has spent time hiking in northern Maine or canoeing in Canada, we have seen our share of moose in the wild.

moose family

A decades-old photo taken by a family friend of three moose on Maine’s East Branch of the Penobscot River which runs along the border of the KWWNM.

Occasionally we also hear first-hand stories of the worst kind of moose encounters: those involving cars. Last October, Kass’ sister was driving along a country road in northern Maine and hit a moose that bolted out in front of her car.

impending moose hit

Coincidentally, a teenager had been videotaping the bull moose in a field next to his house and was still filming as it darted across the road, so he recorded the moose/car crash—the photo above is a still shot from his videotape showing the moose just before its collision with the car.

Luckily, the driver was going slowly so nobody was hurt, although since the moose ran off into the woods we don’t know its ultimate fate.

Indoor Moose

Now to transition to our indoor encounters with moose, namely those we’ve experienced as antiques dealers. Moose have long been a favorite subject for fine artists and folk artists to depict in a wide range of mediums. Moose in many renditions have always been a popular rustic accessory.

So here is a look back at some of the hundreds of moose we have known—and owned—over the past 25+ years in the antiques business.

Moose Textiles

moose with bears hooked rug

Moose with bears hooked rug

mooe blanket

Camp blanket with moose border

 

moose hooked rug

Moose, cattails and ducks hooked rug

 

moose hooked rug

Moose at sunset hooked rug

 

moose hooked rug

Naive portrait of a moose hooked rug

 

moose hooked rug

Moose hunting hooked rug

 

moose hooked rug

Moose by a stream hooked rug

Moose Paintings

moose painting

Mural-size moose painting

 

knowles moose

Moose painting by Joe Knowles

 

Moose watercolor

Moose watercolor

 

moose painting

Moose head portrait

 

moose painting

Moose painting rebus on faux birch bark background

 

moose painting

Strolling moose painting

 

moose painting

Moose in a marsh painting

Moose Carvings

moose carving

Carved bull moose

 

seated moose carving

Seated moose carving

 

moose carving

Moose carving by Albert Demers

 

moose family carving

Carved moose family

 

moose carving

Folky moose carving

 

moose carving

Moose relief carving

 

moose head carving

Moose head carving

 

moose head carving

Life-size moose head carving

 

 

moose carving

Large-scale carved moose silhouette

Moose Etchings

moose on birch bark

Moose on birch bark container

birch bark moose call

Birch bark moose call

 

moose mocuck

Moose on a mocuck

moose canoe cup

Moose on a canoe cup

 

moose on fungus

Moose on bracket fungus

Moose Lamps

moose table lamp

Moose table lamp

 

moose floor lamp

Moose floor lamp

 

moose table lamp

Moose and friend lamp

Moose Furniture

moose settee

Arm of a settee incorporating a carved moose

 

moose antler chair

Moose antler chair

 

moose leg table

Taxidermy moose leg table

Moose Miscellany

carved moose antlers

Moose antlers with central carving of a Native American

 

 

 

Needlepoint moose box

Needlepoint moose box

 

 

moose bookends

Moose bookends

 

The Future of Moose

While we’re confident that moose antiques will always have a strong market, we’re not as optimistic about the future stability of wild moose populations. Milder, shorter winters in the north country favor the longevity of winter ticks that feed on, weaken and even directly kill moose.

We hope that moose will survive these challenges and thrive for millennia to come—for their own sake, and also for the awe they inspire in artists, in everyone who sees them in the wild, and in those who are happy just knowing that they are out there, roaming the wilderness.

a Maine moose

(photo: birches.com)