The following collection of short paragraphs appeared in the “With Sportsman” section of the January 9, 1896 edition of the RANGELEY LAKES. All share some fun facts or anecdotes related to moose back in the day. Personally, I just don’t see as many as I did back in the eighties. I will never forget the day when I looked out the back window here in New Vineyard to see TWO bulls strolling across our backyard. Now, when bird hunting in my neck of the woods, I rarely see a track. There was a time that NOT seeing a moose on some section of Route 16 was the exception rather than the rule. Thirty-five years ago while driving home from fishing I encountered 16 moose between Wilson Mills and Oquossoc! But I digress, enjoy some moosey tidbits from 1896 and be sure to get outside and make some great Rangeley outdoor history of your own!

(Contemporary commentary found in italics and parentheses, otherwise text appears just as published in 1896)

With Sportsman
Most people would hesitate to face a belligerent moose even with a rifle in their hands unless they should be taken unawares as was a young man from Brownsville while near his father’s lumber camp in Williamsburg a few days ago. He was walking along the path when a spike horned bull moose dashed out of the bushes about two rods ahead of him. The young man turned towards camp with some haste it may be presumed, but when he saw that the moose was after him and gaining, he stopped and seized a road spud that his eye espied. With this he faced the enraged animal. The latter seemed to fear the heavy stick and when the now encouraged man could get near enough he struck the moose with a lusty blow across the back. At that the moose “took to the woods” and the young man didn’t give chase. (He was either a liar or one lucky young man to have survived unhurt having gone on the offensive once the bull had been deterred).

A Curiosity
H. G. Mower of Dexter, has on his farm a log cabin which he has ornamented the various trophies of the chase.One is a single moose horn of good size, with three broken prongs, that is a relic of a forest battle between two bull moose that no man saw. but which was so desperately fought that both the animals left interlocked antlers on the field as a memorial of its fierceness. Deep in the forest north of Mt Katahdin, Solomon Bates of Hersey Plantation, a relative of Mr. Mower, chanced upon these trophies. The four horns were hooked together, and all were broken off squarely at the base. The solidity of the bony structure of the horns indicates that they were lost in the height of the season, when they must have been firmly set, and could not have been wrenched off without a tremendous struggle. They certainly have a suggestion of forest wildness and vigor about them as mute proof of such a conflict, that puts the ordinary antler way into the background for interest.
(If you have never seen “The Final Charge” locked moose antler mount exhibit at L.L. Bean, you should make a point of seeing it the next time you are in Freeport. Back when I worked at IFW, it was my pleasure to work with the folks at L.L.Bean to make the exhibit a reality. The skeletons of the two battling bulls, whose antlers had become interlocked together,
 were found in New Sweden, Maine).

Maine’s Game Totals
The Bangor News publishes a table showing the shipments of game from all stations on the line of the B.& A. R. R. (Bangor & Aroostook Railroad).  The totals for the three months of open time in 1895, are Moose 115, Caribou 130, Deer 1579. It estimates the number killed by local sportsmen, consumed in camp, etc, as Moose 64, Caribou 115, Deer 1688, making a grand total of moose 176, caribou 245, deer 3267. This is about a 66 percent increase over 1894. The B.& A. R. R. opened a practically new country to sportsmen, but the alarming increase in the slaughter, will be very apt to cause new legislation at the next session of the legislature. Still, in other portions of the state the killing has fallen off, notably in Franklin and Oxford counties, where the absence of snow has prevented the shooting of much lairge game. We predict that owing to this fact and also to the extensive shooting in the Aroostook region that next season will see the Rangeleys overrun with large game. It will be speaking within bounds to say that 4000 deer have been killed in Maine during the past three months. Had the season been favorable in this section the number would have gone close to 5000. From all sections come reports that during 1895 the law protecting deer has been better respected than formerly.
(Because deer, moose and caribou had become so few around the turn of the century they had to become protected species like eagles and loons are today, to name a few. It proved too little too late for the caribou. Deer populations are soaring today and, depending on who you talk to, the direction of Maine’s moose seem to be a topic for debate).

It was legal to “walk a moose down” in the19th century. Hardly sporting at all!

Walking a Moose Down
It is amusing to read where someone has “walked a moose down.” Now I do not believe there is a man living that can walk a moose to a standstill, so that he will go no further. I have hunted a part of each year for more than twenty years, and have killed about a hundred moose, and my experience has been that they would go further than I wanted them. A man may start a moose, and by following him constantly the moose becomes accustomed to seeing him and will allow him to approach very closely; but start the moose up, and it will not take him long to travel fifteen or twenty miles. A few years ago, some guides in this State tried to walk a moose down, and after following him for several days, had to break two or three of his legs to keep him where they could find him. Geo. C. Jones.

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