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My nephew's friend Mike Turnitza tried every which way - nose first, left side first, plaque backwards, upside down - but nothing worked. No matter what angles he tried, he couldn't get the moose mount into his house.
So he called me. We got it into my house, but only as far as the front hallway because it wouldn't fit through any of the room doors. It stayed there for a couple days while we discussed what to do with the dusty trophy.
Mike had found the moose inside a Saint Clair, Pennsylvania, warehouse newly owned by his friend, Vinny Alessi. The story behind the harvest of the huge bull is unknown, but there are a few clues.
On the back of the plaque, hand-lettered in black on the wood, are these words: "Killed Oct. 6, 1924 by T.B. Evans, Danville PA near the Aramoeta River and Scott Mountain, New Brunswick, Canada. The taxidermist is Geo. A. Davis. One shot from a 300 Savage killed him."
Those statements are signed by Thomas Bonnar, guide, who also listed four more members of the moose hunting party. But other than one man, H.L. DeWitt, some of the letters for the other names have worn away with time, and are incomplete.
I'd work to solve the moose mystery over the winter months. In the meantime, I had more immediate work to do, namely, cleaning up the 80-year-old mount. In its present filthy state, it would never find a home. I started by wiping the hair and cleaning the eyes and lashes with a damp cloth. I lightly brushed the slightly-ratty ears. But what could I do about that impressive rack? The twin paddled bone was deeply furrowed and grimed with dirt and dust.
I knew that SNO-SEAL was a great product for its primary use, waterproofing leather, especially boots. And long ago, while I archery hunted for deer in Alabama, I'd met Mike Jordan of Atsko, makers of SNO-SEAL, who told me about its effectiveness in use on deer antlers. It would not only shine the antlers, Mike said, it would also seal them and keep them from drying.
So why not try it on the moose antlers? I applied the SNO-SEAL with a clean cloth, and scrubbed it into the antler's grooves using a fingernail brush. The results were night and day, like touching furniture stain to unfinished wood. I felt like a magician as I restored the moose rack to its former and fitting glory.
Satisfied with the changes, I called my favorite bow shop, Andrews Archery in Frackville, and owner Dave Andrews said he'd house the moose in the shop. Although I'd gotten kind of attached to Mr. Moose, I knew it should be displayed where many people would see it. Mounts of really big moose just aren't common.
before and after--The old moose got a real shine when I went after him with SNO-SEAL. That old whitetail buck on your wall may be next.
I put the moose back in my front hallway so that I could load and deliver it to the bow shop the next day. Then it was time to relax…..but I found myself looking around my own living room…..
How had I let those deer racks get so dusty? As I half-watched the TV, I took my deer mounts down one by one and SNO-SEALed the antlers. I also tried it with the horns on a pronghorn antelope, and was very pleased with the results. Maybe it's just me, but now my eyes are drawn to the head gear on the game mounts when I enter the room.
The tools you need are simple, a can or tube of SNO-SEAL and several clean cloths. Although restoring the moose rack took an hour or two, shining and sealing the deer racks only took about ten minutes each (This may take longer for people who actually shoot really big deer!).