Athlete Endures Horrific Hour-Long Attack As Moose Tramples Her Sled Dogs

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Alaskan resident Bridgett Watkins was training for an upcoming sled dog race when a moose held her hostage and trampled her sled dogs in an attack that lasted almost an hour.

The 38-year-old athlete was out in 5°F weather sledding with her team of 16 dogs and her friend Jen Nelson who was following them on a snowmobile when the moose attacked.

According to Newsweek, Bridgett said, “This has been the most horrific past 24 hours of my life. In short; we were attacked by a very large healthy bull moose on a 52 mile 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.”

The moose trampled the dogs and then turned back for Bridgett and Jen hiding behind the snowmobile. He charged at the snowmobile but stopped just mere two feet in front of the machine. Bridgett said she was able to cut six dogs free.

“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,” Bridgett said.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, there are 175,000 to 200,000 moose throughout the state, and males can weigh up to 1,600 pounds, and stand seven feet tall at the shoulder.

Bridgett said she was carrying a 380 semi-auto firearm and fired around half the pistol’s magazine into the bull from just a few feet away, however, it didn’t stop it from attacking them.

Her gun jammed halfway through and she fled for cover and the bullets that were supposed to stop the attack, only enraged the healthy bull moose into attacking the 10 dogs still attached to the sled.

Bridgett said, “We’re standing there and I said, ‘I’m out of bullets, I’m out of bullets, I have no more bullets’… and I’m like, this is it. I can count the whiskers on his nose. He’s two feet from me.”

The attack on the dogs being repeatedly trampled lasted a sickening 50 minutes until help finally arrived and stopped the onslaught.

“Honestly, I think [the moose] just saw them as a pack of wolves that he was trying to kill. Which I understand. In an animal’s mind, that’s what they were. Any time a dog would move or bark, the moose would go into attack mode. Over and over and over. And we would yell and hit things and scream and try to distract him. During the attack, I thought, this is it. This is how my story’s going to end,” she said.

Alaska’s Department of Wildlife and Game said that most moose view dogs as wolves and sometimes go out of their way to kick at one, even if the dog is on a leash or in a fenced-in yard.

The 10 dogs were quickly transported to a veterinarian who was, fortunately, 45 minutes away and the vets are currently working on bringing the dogs back into better health.

“We have one dog still fight for his life—Flash. He was stomped in the head and has a major head injury. Bronze underwent 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,” Bridgett said.

They also started a GoFundMe page and raised more than $9,000.

Bridgett said, “Flash—your prayers were poured out and heard as we truly witnessed a miracle. He was later “awake, alert” and even wagged his tail. Bill—he is learning to hobble on three legs as his repaired injury heals,” she said. Watkins continued: “Bronze—she has been the most relaxed and able to rest well. She’s wearing a tee shirt to keep her wounds nice and clean. Jefe—what a big silly goofy boy. His injuries are not hardly detectable. His leg is healing and he is 110 percent back to himself.”