According to Fairbanks Daily News Miner, a bull moose protecting its snow packed trail from a dog-sled team training for their first Iditarod race, stood its ground, trampling several of the dogs.
A helper who arrived an hour after the incident began made an effort to shoot the moose with a small-caliber handgun, but the moose withstood the gunfire, and the damage had been done.
Bridgett Watkins and her husband Scotty own Kennel On A Hill just south of Fairbanks, Alaska, and were training the dogs for their first race with the help of their friend Jen Nelson, who was on a snowmobile when the incident occurred.
Watkins was midway through the 52-mile training run on the Salcha River Trail System, when she saw the moose a quarter of a mile away.
She stopped and let the moose run off four times.
However, when she rounded the corner, the moose was still there eating some trees.
Watkins said the moose appeared to be non-threatening, as she pulled her handgun and made her way to the front of the dog pack for safety measures.
That’s when the moose lowered its head and charged at her and the pack.
The trail was lined with thin trees with nowhere to good escape route, and she fired at the moose five times, not slowing it down.
The creature proceeded to stomp them periodically for the next hour, and anytime a dog moved, the moose stomped it.
She weighed in on the horrifying situation:
“This has been the most horrific past 24 hours of my life. I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and love sent our way. I would love to share all the details with everyone but I simple don’t have the emotional bandwidth left in me at the moment.
In short, we were attacked by a very large healthy bull moose on a 52mile run. As he charged me I emptied my gun into him and he never stopped, I ran for my life and prayed I was fast enough to not be killed in that moment. He trampled the team and then turned for us and charged us humans who sought refuge beside our machine.
He stopped a mere 2 feet in front of our snow machine. I was able to cut 6 dogs free that were on the team connected to the machine. But unfortunately he went back to my team attached to my sled and trampled them over and over; repeatedly, for nearly a hour it continued.
I have never felt so helpless in my life. He would not leave us alone and he even stood over top of the team refusing to retreat. Our friend that lives out on the river was able to finally get to us and kill the animal that dropped just beside the team.
We arrived at North Pole Vet with the most amazing trauma team of vets all waiting for us. We have one dog still fight for his life – Flash. He was stomped in the head and has a major head injury. Bronze under went emergent surgery last night to repair internal organ damage. Bill had a rear leg broke in half and just got out of surgery to stabilize. Jefe was stapled up, wounds cleaned and soft tissue damage evaluated. The rest of the team is home, inside and recovering.
We have many bumps, bruises, cuts, puncture wounds, hoof prints and broken hearts. We are mending together and will see where this leads us in the next few days. Please pray for us all as we continue down this road. Musher advice… carry a bigger gun.”
With only one bar of cell service, she began calling anybody she could, until she got a hold of a friend who came to the scene and killed the moose with a rifle.
The dogs were rushed to the North Pole Veterinary Hospital, with three receiving emergency surgery, and one reported in critical condition after the attack. Friends set up financial accounts to assist with the vet bills.