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.

 

A moose in southwestern Minnesota November 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 2:09 PM
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I SPOKE ON THE PHONE with my mom a few hours ago. As always, I ask her what’s new in Vesta, a community of some 330 in rural southwestern Minnesota.

It’s kind of an inside family joke to ask her this because she once replied to the “What’s new?” question with this answer: “Well, there’s a cardboard box blowing down the street.”

More recently, she’s told me about the corn husks blowing across the prairie from farm fields and onto her yard. Her yard has been raked twice and now it’s littered with corn debris again. She’s going to leave the mess until spring, she updated me today.

I have actually seen corn husks piled in drifts against a chain link fence right across the street from Mom’s house.

But back to that “What’s new?” question.

Today she was prepared with the most unusual of answers. “There’s a moose over by Seaforth,” she informed me. Seaforth is an even smaller town about five miles to the southeast of Vesta in Redwood County.

I was stunned. A moose?

According to information published in The Redwood Gazette, the area’s newspaper, a couple spotted and photographed the bull moose at the end of their driveway in rural Seaforth. The same moose was apparently seen several days earlier near the river by Springfield, which is even further south and east.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources figures the moose is seeking a mate or is suffering from a parasite in the brain, either of which could have caused it to wander so far south.

In any case, southwestern Minnesota deer hunters have been warned to look before they shoot.