Finley, the ambassador to Allagash Antlers in Fort Kent, poses with a sizeable moose antler he found. Photo courtesy of Allagash Antlers

It’s not a stretch to say that an Australian shepherd is the chief operating officer at one of Maine’s newest dog-product companies.

Allagash Antlers, the year-old company that turns moose antlers into nutritious dog chews, is all about Finley, the Australian shepherd owned by Anna and Caleb Lewis of Fort Kent. Finley loves foraging for this renewable resource with the Lewises – and he’s an ace at finding the antlers that moose shed during winter.

“That first year we ventured into the North Maine Woods and found moose antlers, it seemed like a fun pastime and we enjoyed doing it,” Caleb Lewis said. “We sold chews in 2020, but not in any quantity. Then when we got Finley, the business took off.” 

Like all cervids, such as deer and elk, moose grow new antlers in winter and eventually shed, or drop, the heavy racks they carry. 

There are at least two other dog-product companies in Maine selling Maine moose antlers as dog chews. And elsewhere, such as in Alaska and Montana, companies selling moose-antler chews exist. But deer antlers are more commonly marketed for canine enjoyment. And since not all states have moose – and certainly none in the lower 48 with the densities that exist in Maine – moose antler chews are not exactly mass produced.

Maine has an estimated statewide moose herd of 60,000 to 70,000, according to 2021 estimates by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The densities of moose are greatest in northern Maine. 


The young couple bills the product on their website as one that “promotes healthy joints, skin, and coat for a naturally happy pup.” And moose antlers are rich in calcium-phosphorus and organic nutrients, including Vitamin D, said Maine state moose biologist Lee Kantar.

“Moose antlers are all-natural and would be a great dog-chew since they are not laced with artificial ingredients and preservatives,” Kantar said in an email.

Yet, ironically, before Anna and Caleb Lewis came to Fort Kent in 2016 to attend the University of Maine-Fort Kent, the two southern Maine natives didn’t know much about moose.

Anna Lewis hikes out of the woods with a moose antler her dog Finley found for the company Allagash Antlers that she and her husband, Caleb, own. Photo courtesy of Allagash Antlers

Finley was a Valentine’s Day pup in 2019, and that year the Lewises started bringing him into the woods to shed hunt. The Australian shepherd – who is genetically wired to work – quickly showed promise.

The next spring, Finley found 30 moose racks, a solid 100 pounds of moose antler. The next year, in 2021, Finley found 30 antlers in one day.  

“He picked it up so fast,” Anna Lewis said. “We couldn’t keep up with him. When he finds one, he sits down and puffs out his chest. He looks like he’s on a mission.”


Finley can detect an antler thousands of yards away – even when it’s over two hills and it doesn’t appear like the wind is aiding in his search.

“It’s funny, most dogs like to be praised. But you go to tell him good boy, or whatever, and he could care less. He’s on to the next one,” Caleb Lewis said. 

In 2020, the Lewises were so rich in moose antlers, they sold cut-up pieces as dog chews on Craigslist and Uncle Henry’s. By March, 2021, they made their business official and launched a website.

At that time, Caleb also took a job as an assistant ranger on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, where he had been working part-time. So Anna left her job working with children with special needs at a local hospital to run the business.

By last summer Allagash Antlers was selling moose-antler chews in all 50 states. Texans proved to be big moose antler fans. So did many dog-loving people throughout the South.

Very quickly one of their first wholesale customers asked for a supply. Rising Tide Brewing Company co-owner Heather Sanborn saw the antler chews on social media and – as the new owner of a very large puppy that liked to chew – Sanborn thought the dog treats would be ideal for the Portland brewery’s outside patio, where dogs are permitted to dine with owners.


Sanborn reached out to Anna and Caleb Lewis, and the dog chews are now sold in Bayside.

“My pandemic puppy was a Pyrenees-shepherd-huskie mix. He’s now 80 pounds. Allagash Antlers keeps him occupied,” Sanborn said. “I loved the idea of having a local product that was foraged and other dogs seem to really enjoy it. It’s a fun thing to be able to order food and beer for yourself, and get a treat for your dog.”

But like all businesses, Allagash Antlers faces challenges and concerns.

Caleb Lewis shows off a moose antler with Finley. Photo courtesy of Allagash Antlers

The winter tick parasite that has devastated moose populations elsewhere and remains a concern to state biologists in Maine also worries the Lewises. A few winters ago, they found 20 dead moose cow or calf carcasses during their shed antler hunts.

Kantar said the moose calves in the very northern tier of the state (Wildlife Management Districts 1 to 3) – a full five hours from Portland – experience half the calf mortality during the winter as calves in districts to the south. Yet Kantar said: “Winter ticks remain a problem.”

Just the same, Anna and Caleb Lewis plan to continue their business. They even added to their staff a year ago. In 2021, they got a black Labrador named Tripper to help Finley – once the young Lab completes his job training.

“He’s yet to go through a full shed season as an adult but he’s showing real promise for his age,” Caleb said. “We think he will complement Finley well once he’s learned the ropes. He’s double the size of Finley and can retrieve the big antlers Finley can’t.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.