Gesner), and were the closest thing to what an elk might look like, according to verbal descriptions received from someone who might have actually seen a real creature, or heard about it from someone else. That's the way it was done before cameras.
The motto "Pro Pelle Cutem" means "a skin for a skin", and according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, means an (animal) skin obtained at the cost of (human) skin. The late 1670's were blood thirsty times. European expansion into the New World decimated aboriginal populations.
In my version of the HBC Coat of Arms, I have done quite a bit of manipulation of Louis Nicolas' original drawings to create my design. The fox on top is reversed, as is the beaver, and the elks' hind legs were rotated 90 degrees to make them rampant. I have changed the field of the escutcheon (all these heraldic terms I am learning) to include a single beaver and a canoe, and changed the cross to a fir tree dividing line.
Now I just have to trace the main lines of the paste up and enlarge that by 200%. That will make the finished image about 48" by 52". I can't wait to get started!