Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

If you’re in the market for a moose head… January 12, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Not a moose head, but an antelope head photographed at a flea market. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo September 2010)

THE THREE-FOURTHS INCH by three and three-quarters inch boxed display ad topping a For Sale column in the December 19, 2022, edition of The Galaxy grabbed my attention:

Awesome Alaskan Moose Head Mount

Asking $4,500

Call BJ or Troy at 507-248-xxxx* for details

My jaw dropped as my mind flashed back 40-plus years ago to a gathering I attended in The Galaxy readership area of south central Minnesota. I was young and single then and joined other young people at a house party hosted by roommates who were not named BJ or Troy. But the housemates did have a moose head mount, which I discovered upon a trip to the bathroom. It loomed large and menacing in a cramped room that barely fit a sink, toilet and old-fashioned bath tub. Towels hung from the moose’s antlers. I hurried to exit the bathroom and the watchful moose that was freaking me out.

Whether the house party moose hailed from the wilds of Alaska, I don’t know. Maybe. Probably. Where can you legally shoot a moose? And is a moose head mount really worth $4,500? Surely that must be a misprint. I wouldn’t pay $4.50 for it.

Animal mounts, including this deer head, are displayed in a Pequot Lakes hardware store. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo August 2018)

I’ve never liked seeing the heads of dead animals displayed anywhere. Not in a bathroom or a rec room. Not in a cabin or a restaurant, especially not in a restaurant. Not in a hardware store or grocery store or at a flea market. Not in a bank either. In the lobby of my banking institution, mounts ring the room. Once while waiting in line, I counted them (20-plus) and then told the teller how much I dislike dead deer heads.

A deer head mount on a garage, next to an antique shop, in Poy Sippi, Wisconsin. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2013)

I realize this is a personal grievance, that there are hunters among you and readers who view taxidermy as art perhaps or as trophy evidence of a successful hunt. I am simply not one of those people. And that’s OK. We all have different tastes, interests, preferences.

A deer head mount was among the merchandise vended at a rural Medford barn sale in 2015. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo July 2015)

I won’t be calling BJ or Troy about that Alaskan moose head mount, which, in my opinion, will never fit the overused and meaningless word awesome. But perhaps someone will see the small display ad and think, “That’s exactly the statement towel rack I need for my bathroom. And it’s only $4,500.”

THOUGHTS?

© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

*Note that I intentionally omitted the last four digits of the contact phone number.

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25 Responses to “If you’re in the market for a moose head…”

  1. beth Says:

    I’m not a fan of heads on walls either, and your memory came back in an instant, I’m sure when you saw this ad.

  2. Dead animals hanging on my walls? No way. It just makes me sad.

  3. Eugene B Says:

    I’m with you 100%

  4. Although I 100% support hunting game for sustaining a family, the mounted dead heads freak me out, too! We met friends who live remotely in Alaska and there’s a lottery held for the amount of moose allowed for harvest during the season. It’s a family affair, as they hunt (and fish) any and all proteins for their own survival and to share with neighbors. It’s for sustainability more than sport. We hope to take them up on their invitation to visit them and travel Alaska in the coming years. I’m curious to see if they hold value in a mounted moose head as an interior decoration.

  5. I can say I have been dripped on by a moose head wearing a sombrero while grabbing a bite to eat for lunch in small California town restaurant – eewwww! I babysat for a family and he had taxiderm galore throughout the house and I certainly felt watched – ha! Not my speed and to each their own. Never would think to use the antlers as a towel rack – new one for me – OMG! Happy Day – Enjoy

  6. Valerie Says:

    Amusing! I assume you think its the same moose as the towel rack?

  7. Gunny Says:

    LOL! I had a chance to visit the home of a good friend. Hanging above the massive fireplace in a historic home was the head of a beautiful Long Horn steer with a horn width of nearly 8 feet. When I jokingly asked the woman of the house of how he came to be placed there, she stated, her husband bought the steer to place on their property to become part of the environment (this is Texas after all). Upon arrival, the beast started tearing up the transport trailer, then gored the fence doing thousands of dollars of damage in just a few minutes. The wife called a halt to the process. When her husband arrived, he asked where his prize steer was. She showed him the living room (large than some small houses), and pointed above the fireplace. Hubby asked, “where is the rest of him?” She replied “in the freezer.”
    “Why?” hubby asked. “He was stubborn, mean and was damaging my pretty fence and wild flowers”. I once hunted hogs until I figured out real fast that they were smarter than me. Trophys such as mounted heads take up way more space that I need for other uses and collect dust that I don;t need,

  8. Larry Says:

    A popular current trend is the European mount. Instead of taxidermy the head is placed in a medium containing maggots. They eat the fur and flesh down to the bone. The skull is then bleached.
    My son has a buffalo head in his old bedroom. Probably had it since he was seven. It is huge!

  9. After several (yes, more than one experience) houses where “the man” must have all his dead animals hanging on the walls, I vowed, Never Again!
    There is something seriously wrong with having to display a show of what you killed for anyone entering your house or establishment. It is not sustainable or even respectful. So… I am NOT a fan!

  10. Neil Says:

    I like the fact that the bathroom moose was dual-purposed as a towel rack! Yes, a moose head in the bathroom does sound like someone was a little short on decorating ability, but they certainly did find a creative use for it!

    Your post reminded me of the moose head that hung in one of the houses that I lived in while in college. It was there when I moved in, and I never thought to inquiry as to how it got there. It looked like it had been there for many years! I imagine that some college student’s mother was happy to finally get rid of it when her son decided that it would look good hanging in his college digs. In true college student style, it sported a classic beer can hat with the straws going into the moose’s mouth!

    I am surprised that Minnesota does not have a moose hunting season. I’m pretty sure that they did when I lived there. Perhaps their heads were of high enough value to lead to overhunting! I do know for sure that North Dakota also had a season when I lived there. It was not unusual to hear about a moose sighting in the town where we lived.

  11. Neil Says:

    My wife nearly inherited a stuffed jackalope as part of my father-in-law’s estate (I use the term generously). I don’t believe that it would have made past the nearest Goodwill store on the way to our house. Interestingly, one of his other daughters actually wanted it, so we graciously boxed it up and sent it to her. I would not be surprised if she still has it!


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