Making Moose Sculpture 2023 January 30, 2023

In the summer of 2022, I went on a research trip to the Canadian Rockies in the hope of finding bison, big horn sheep, elk, bears and moose. In those vast spectacular landscapes where these shy creatures live, we saw all but the moose.

Seeing an animal in its natural environment is such an important part of sculpting for me. I like to get inside my subjects’ heads. Sometimes, sculpting is like piecing together the parts of a jigsaw. So I understood the environment but not the moose!


Later, I visited Maine which is also moose country, but again had no luck finding one. While I was there, I planned to measure a culled moose. This would give useful anatomical information. With the help of the state moose biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), Lee Kantar, I got some measurements from a young bull. But the moose still wasn’t in my head. I still needed to see it in life and get some cross-sectional measurements. This jigsaw was getting more complicated!

Closer to home, Dr. John Ball Dept. of the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences was very generous with his open enthusiasm and his continued help with my moose. I also contacted the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management (SAHWM) who put me in touch with Dr.H.C. Bengt Roken DVM. He was incredibly helpful with anatomical studies and dissections he had made of moose. He also introduced me to Erik Öster of the Skullaryd Älgpark.


When I contacted Erik, he immediately said, ‘Come any time!’.  So I flew to Gottenburg and drove out (in a Volvo, of course!) through the wonderful snowy landscape to meet him. The Öster family were very welcoming and hospitable, putting me up in comfort and introducing me to some Swedish traditions.

It was out of the tourist season, so I was very fortunate to have many hours with just Erik and his moose. Spending time with three semi-tame mature bulls enabled me to return home with some detailed measurements, photos and video footage of moose behaviour and movement, and a shed antler in my hand luggage … I felt I had gained an understanding of moose and how they tick.




I came home thinking how straightforward and fun the Swedish people are! I was also full of creative excitement, as I now had all the jigsaw pieces to start my moose sculpture.

Working from the measurements, I made a steel armature of a fully grown moose. It stood 205cm high at the shoulder and was strong enough to take 700+kg of clay. I made the antlers out of plaster of Paris, with a 160cm span, over another steel armature.



I then sculpted the moose in a standing but alert pose with slightly twitchy ears. Moose have exceptional hearing with their antlers acting as parabolic reflectors of sound. They have a short stubby tail to avoid frost bite and a sense of smell 8-10 times greater than a dog. The European elk and the North American moose are actually the same species, Alces alces. We just call them a different name.

The mould made of silicone rubber will pick up all of the texture, including finger print details. From the negative mould, a positive wax will be made ready for lost wax casting into bronze.



I am really looking forward to seeing this sculpture cast into bronze and standing in a suitable landscape. Moose are such magnificent animals!

The bronze sculpture Moose Life Size 2023 will be out of the foundry soon and available for sale. Check out the videos below of Hamish photographing moose at Skullaryd Älgpark, and making the moose sculpture in his workshop. There are more videos of making the moose sculpture, and other sculptures, on Hamish’s You Tube channel.

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