Picture of the Tote Road Shagamaw

Tote Road Shagamaw – Maine

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The Tote Road Shagamaw is an unusual cryptid that is said to live in Maine. It is a lesser-known creature that is found in the stories and folkore of North American lumberjacks.

Cryptid Name:Tote Road Shagamaw
Location:Maine, Allegash Waters, New Brunswick
Map of where the Tote Road Shagamaw is found
Category:Lumberjack Folklore Cryptid
Description:A large creature with the forepaws of a bear and the hind legs of a moose.
Behavior/Characteristics:Shy and harmless, changes tracks, walks erect, and paces in quarter-mile intervals.
Diet:Eats mittens, rubbers, caulked boots, and other forgotten or discarded apparel.
Habitat/Environment:Tote roads and blazed lines through the woods.
Evidence:Limited and anecdotal, based on witness accounts.
Sightings and Encounters:Reported by loggers and woodsmen in the specified regions. Frequent reports of confusion between bear and moose tracks.
Skepticism/Explanations:Considered a creature from lumberjack folklore.

What Does The Tote Road Shagamaw Look Like?

Tote Road Shagamaw Picture
Artist’s Impression of the Tote Road Shagamaw

The Tote Road Shagamaw has a very distinctive appearance. It has the front paws of a bear while its back legs have moose hooves.

When walking, it changes its tracks from bear tracks to moose tracks and vice versa leaving behind two different sets of tracks. This ability makes it easy to confuse hunters which makes it incredibly difficult to track.

The Tote Road Shagamaw Legend

The stories and legends about the Tote Road Shagamaw are recorded in two books that detail the lumberjack folklore of North America.

The first account is given in a book called, “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts” by William Thomas Cox.

From the Rangeley Lakes to the Allegash and across in New Brunswick loggers tell of an animal which has puzzled many a man, even those who were not strangers in the woods. Frequently the report is circulated that the tracks of a bear have been seen near camp, but a little later this is denied and moose tracks are reported instead. Heated arguments among the men, sometimes resulting in fistfights, are likely to follow. It is rightly considered an insult to a woodsman to accuse him of not being able to distinguish the track of either of these animals.

To only a few of the old timber cruisers and rivermen is the explanation of these changing tracks known. Gus Demo, of Oldtown, Maine, who has hunted and trapped and logged in the Maine woods for 40 years, once came upon what he recognized as the tracks of a moose. After following it for about 80 rods, it changed abruptly into unmistakable bear tracks; another 80 rods and it changed to moose tracks again. It was soon observed by Mr. Demo that these changes took place precisely every quarter of a mile, and, furthermore, that whatever was making the tracks always followed a tote road or a blazed line through the woods.

Coming up within sight of the animal, Gus saw that it had front feet like a bear’s and hind feet like those of a moose, and that it was pacing carefully, taking exactly a yard at a step. Suddenly it stopped, looked all about, and swung as on a pivot, then inverting itself and walking on its front feet only, it resumed its pacing. Mr. Demo was only an instant in recognizing by the witness trees that the place where the animal changed was a section corner. From this fact he reasoned that the shagamaw must have been originally a very imitative animal, which, from watching surveyors, timber cruisers, and trappers patiently following lines through the woods, contracted the habit itself. He figures that the shagamaw can count only as high as 440; therefore, it must invert itself every quarter of a mile.

Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods
Tote Road Shagamaw Sketch
Sketch of the Tote Road Shagamaw
Source: Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods

The second notable story about the Tote Road Shagamaw is given in a book called, “Fearsome Critters” by Henry H. Tyron

Found to-day exclusively in Maine. At one time common on the Allegash waters, and still reported from New Brunswick. While distinctly forbidding-looking, he is shy and quite harmless.

Pretty much of a puzzle. Nobody seems to have any idea how he originated. His front legs end in bear paws, while his rear ones are shod with moose hooves. He always walks erect, sometimes using the front pair, sometimes the rear pair of legs. The change from bear to moose tracks occurs regularly every twenty chains. The shift in his trail marks has dumbfounded many an inexperienced woodsman and trapper. Since the beast is of low mental stature and probably imitative, it is believed that he makes this regular swap either from watching surveyors or because he can only count up to 440.

His usual beat is along tote-roads, where he eats mittens, rubbers, caulked boots and other forgotten or discarded apparel.

Fearsome Critters

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