Bull Moose Attacks Dog Sled Team Training for Iditarod

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

The moose continued to trample the dogs even after the musher shot it several times

A dog-mushing team training for the Iditarod in the wilds of Alaska recently endured a nightmare when it encountered an aggressive bull moose that relentlessly attacked the dogs, injuring several of them.

In what she describes as “the most horrific past 24 hours of my life,” Bridgett Watkins wrote on her Kennel on a Hill Facebook page that her mushing team was on a 52-mile run when the bull moose attacked.

“As he charged me I emptied my gun into him and he never stopped,” Watkins wrote. She carried a .380-caliber semi-auto pistol. “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.” The bull stopped just 2 feet away. 

She managed to cut loose six dogs that had been tied to the machine so they could escape the moose, but those still attached to her sled were not as fortunate. For more than an hour, the moose trampled those dogs again and again.

“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,” Watkins wrote. “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.”

Four of the dogs received serious injuries and were taken to the vet.

“We have one dog still [fighting] for his life-Flash. He was stomped in the head and has a major head injury,” she wrote. 

Her dog Bronze underwent emergency surgery to repair internal organ damage, she said, and Bill had a broken leg treated. Jefe had wounds stapled up. Other dogs suffered bumps, bruises, cuts, and puncture wounds.

Several days later, Watkins updated her followers, writing that Flash had improved: “He is now walking again on his own and starting to have some of his old personality traits show back up.”

She said Bill was learning how to hobble on three legs. Bronze was eating and enjoying the inside life, and Jefe was back out in the yard enjoying his house and the neighbors.

Watkins requested prayers and advised other mushers to “carry a bigger gun.”

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