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Seeing my first Maine moose

02/26/2015
Two bull moose locked antlers in 2005 and are now displayed at the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine.

Two bull moose locked antlers in 2005 and are now displayed at the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine.

I saw my first Maine moose in the travel section of the downtown Freeport L.L. Bean store last Sunday.

Two moose actually. Horns locked in a dual to the death.

Shoppers can get an up close look at nature taking its course in the biggest 24-hour retail store in Maine. They can also buy lots of expensive and nice things. Things like khakis, wool sweaters, tweed blazers, tents, guns, coolers, maple syrup, slippers, just about anything that can be used in the woods or a wood-paneled den.

I bought a pair of tan jeans for $39.95.

Then I wandered around the store like 3 million other people do each year.

The L.L. Bean flagship store is not a big box plunked down on an I-95 interchange. The store sits just off an old fashioned Main Street in downtown Freeport. There’s actually private homes right across the street in some places. The store is designed in compartments, a series of smaller rustic-looking buildings and small, landscaped parking lots that fit together and feel more inviting than the concrete walls favored by Target.

Inside I walked past a lunch grill with tables made out of logs and historic black and white pictures on the wall. There was a duck pond surrounded by jagged, black rocks in the middle of the men’s department and lots of wide, timber-style staircases heading to the second floor.

I never made it to the second floor. Instead I stumbled into the travel department. Lots of tote bags and coffee mugs. The place was pretty quiet. Not many tourist buses visit Maine in February.

Then I saw the moose.

Two giant bull moose, noses to the ground and heads butting together. It looked as if two dump trucks covered in fur were involved in a head-on collision.

A sign nearby explained the stuffed animals were recreated from the remains of two moose found tangled together in New Sweden, Maine. Officials believe the moose locked antlers in battle during the fall of 2005, died and were found the next spring.

“The antlers have never ever been separated since they first became locked,” said the sign.

I wonder how long the moose survived as 2,000 pound tangled lawn rakes.

As I stood there, two older gentlemen appeared next to me and gawked at the display. One of them pulled out an iPhone and fumbled with it. They moved together for an attempted “selfie.”

“You want a picture?” I asked.

“Yeah, I don’t know about this selfie stuff,” said the taller guy. He had a thick wash of grey hair, wire-rim glasses and an over-sized, brown denim coat. His friend wore an Elmer Fudd hat and a thick, red windbreaker. I lined things up. The tall guy put an arm around his buddy, whose smile was beyond the hope of modern dentistry.

I took two pictures and handed back the phone.

“Thanks,” said the tall guy. “Really appreciate it.”

The two men hunched over the phone and looked at the pictures like they were counting money from a bank bag. They seemed pretty excited.

Maybe it was their first sighting moose too.

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3 Comments
  1. John permalink

    That’s great that you got down to Bean’s. It is a great place.

  2. Mark, in Leelanau, MI at the Native American museum there are two bald eagles talons locked together to the death as well. If memory serves, they hit a power line while locked together. Pretty amazing animals.

  3. No smile is “beyond the hope of modern dentistry”. Dentists can fix just about anything. They fixed Zach Parise’s broken tooth with a partial root canal between periods of an NHL game.

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