The hugag is a huge animal of the Lake States. Its range includes western Wisconsin, northern Minnesota, and a territory extending indefinitely northward in the Canadian wilds toward Hudson Bay. In size the hugag may be compared to the moose, and in form it somewhat resembles that animal. Very noticeable, however, are its jointless legs, which compel the animal to remain on its feet, and its long upper lip, which prevents it from grazing. If it tried that method of feeding it would simply tramp its upper lip into the dirt. Its head and neck are leathery and hairless ; its strangely corrugated ears flop downward; its four-toed feet, long bushy tail, shaggy coat and general make-up give the beast an unmistakably prehistoric appearance. The hugag has a perfect mania for traveling, and few hunters who have taken up its trail ever came up with the beast or back to camp. It is reported to keep going all day long, browsing on twigs, flopping its lip around trees, and stripping bark as occasion offers, and at night, since it cannot lie down, it leans against a tree, bracing its hind legs and marking time with its front ones. The most successful hugag hunters have adopted the practice of notching trees so that they are almost ready to fall, and when the hugag leans up against one both the tree and the animal come down. In its helpless condition it is then easily dispatched. The last one killed, so far as known, was on Turtle River, in northern Minnesota, where a young one, weighing 1,800 pounds, was found stuck in the mud. It was knocked in the head by Mike Flynn, of Cass Lake.
The biggest animal in the Northern forest. When full grown, stands about thirteen feet high and weighs around sixty hundredweight. The snout is warty, and the ears coarse and flopp, like a pair of tired gunnysacks. The head is clean bald and curiously lumpy and bumpy. The best phrenologist in the world would throw in his hand if asked to make a reconnaissance of this party's dome. Instead of hair he wears pine needles; and a steady diet of pine knots makes the pitch ooze constantly from his pores.
The legs lack knee, fetlock, or hock joints so the Hugag can’t lie down. Has to sleep standing. Usually braces its splayed feet and leans again a tree to take a nap. Such sleep-trees are often badly bent, usually remaing so. He is not dangerous; when aroused he merely bristles up and looks like a heap of pine slash. To catch one, just saw a few of his favorite sleep-trees two-thirds through. If he falls down, he can’t get up any quicker than a greenhorn on skis. The huge animal does little harm save when he leans against buildings. It is Wise to clean them out before erecting camps. Found around the Lake States, in Western Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and as far north as James Bay. The last One reported killed was up on Turtle River—a young one, weighing barely eighteen hundred pounds.