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Taxidermist building bigger rack … for Mac the Moose

MOOSE JAW, Canada — Moose Jaw’s Mac the Moose isn’t looking quite like himself.

His antlers were removed Wednesday in order for bigger ones to be built so that he can reclaim the title of world’s tallest moose.

A small crowd gathered to watch as a crew took off Mac’s antlers one-by-one.

Two men dressed in hard hats and high visibility vests were hoisted up in a lift and strapped each antler to a separate crane.

After taking measurements, they used hand saws and hammers to extract each antler and then lowered them to the ground.

It took two hours before Mac’s last antler touched the grass, revealing a much younger looking perky-eared ungulate.

Moose Jaw’s Rion White was one of those who helped remove Mac’s antlers and now that they’re off, the world champion taxidermist must get to work sculpting his new ones.

“There is pressure,” he said with a laugh.

“We have to make (the new) rack not only bigger, but be in perspective of everything and the right angle and the look.”

The plan to upgrade Mac’s antlers was set in motion after it was revealed that a silver moose sculpture in east-central Norway was taller than Mac by 30 centimetres.

White will work with his team at Orion Taxidermy and Saskatchewan Polytechnic to build Mac’s new rack, with the hope it can be ready to be put back on in late September, said Tourism Moose Jaw.

White’s wife first suggested he take on the task but he was too busy with jobs involving real wildlife. And he had never built antlers from scratch for a roadside attraction.

“I’m super proud.”

After about three days of prodding from his wife and then a friend who offered to help, White said he gave in.

“It feels good.”

He loves Moose Jaw and wants to give back to the city.

Mac’s old antlers are to be moved to White’s shop to serve as a reference for the new ones, which will be constructed out of a metal base, White said.

They also need to be light-weight and able to withstand the elements.

Shaping and creating the angles will be the most challenging part, White said, but working with a team of experienced welders and craftsmen will help.

“We’re going to be able to stand back and say, ‘Yeah, you know, I like that’, or ‘No, add this or that.”‘

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