Visitors to Dort S. Bigg Jr.’s Trophy Room in Turner are greeted by a polar bear perched on a ice flow, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting seal poking its head out of an ice hole. They are two of the hundreds of preserved animals in the house hunted by the local legend, downed mostly by a black powder gun.

Every Fourth of July, the family opens their home to visitors to come view the collection. This year, the world-renowned outdoorsman was not there, having passed away just about a year ago. His wife, Meredith, who goes by Mer, was at the door greeting visitors and regaling them with stories about their hunting trips.

Her son, Dort III, stood next to the five-and-a-half-ton elephant, offering facts about elephants and answering questions from curious visitors. Scattered about the maze of rooms were other children and extended family members, ready to tell their own stories about their knowledge of the artifacts and the legendary Maine guide, attorney and hunter.

With Bigg’s passing, the family has begun looking to house the collection someplace permanent, so it can be preserved and viewed on a more frequent basis. “We don’t have anything in place yet, but we have been talking with folks from the state to have it displayed at the Maine Wildlife Park (in Gray),” said Mer. During the open house, Jim Nutting, with the Turner Natural History Club and Museum, had some big game hunting on his mind: He approached Mer about possibly taking on the collection and keeping it in Turner.


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