Moose attacks sled in Alaska, injuring four dogs

The moose attacked the sled and started trampling the dogs still tied to it.


A big moose spent over an hour trampling a team of competition sled dogs led by a rookie in an Alaskan wilderness last week, and the attack didn’t end even when Bridgett Watkins emptied her gun at the animal.

The woman posted on Facebook on Friday that the moose, after seriously injuring four of his dogs, would not go away and that the ordeal stopped only after he called his friends for help and one appeared with a high-powered rifle to kill the moose with a single shot.

“These last have been the most horrible 24 hours of my life,” he posted after Thursday’s moose attack on the Salcha River trail system near Fairbanks.

But just a few days later, all four of her dogs are recovering and she was able to get back into training with the others.

“This is not what I was planning but these dogs and I have trained so long and so hard for this race… when I go back to my dog ​​yard and see 12 perfectly healthy dogs out of 16 and they look at me and all they want do is run, how can I tell them no?

“These are incredible athletes who just survived probably the most traumatic experience of any dog ​​team in history, and they are survivors and they are still fighting,” he added.

Watkins said the attack, first reported by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, occurred while she was in a 52-mile training run for the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail sled dog race. ) which begins March 5 in Anchorage.

“While attacking I emptied my gun at the moose and it never stopped,” he wrote on Facebook. “I ran for my life and prayed that I was quick enough not to die right then. He stomped on the team and then turned on us.”

Watkins said she and a friend who was following her on a snowmobile took shelter next to the vehicle.

The moose stopped its charge toward them about 2 feet (0.6 meters) from the snowmobile and managed to free six dogs that were tied to the machine.

But the moose turned on his sled and began trampling on the dogs still tied to him, standing on the dogs and stamping on them repeatedly for over an hour.

“I have never felt so powerless in my life,” Watkins wrote. “He wouldn’t leave us alone and was even above the team refusing to leave.”

He called his friends and the moose was shot dead after one arrived with a rifle.

Alaska State Police had been preparing a helicopter to respond but stopped doing so after they were told the moose had died, agency spokesman Tim DeSpain said in an email.

His four injured dogs were taken to a vet in the nearby community of North Pole and are recovering, Watkins said.

Watkins, an Arkansas native who moved to Alaska when she was 5, is no stranger to bobsled racing and its dangers.

His father and stepmother were successful competitors Allen Moore and Aliy Zirkle.

In the 2016 Iditarod competition, Zirkle and four-time winner Jeff King were attacked by a man on a snowmobile near the community of Nulato. One dog on King’s team was killed and two others were injured.

Another famous angry moose encounter story occurred in the 1985 Iditarod, when the late Susan Butcher encountered one while leading the race. She used her ax and a parka to fight off the moose, but she killed two of her dogs and injured 13 others. She got another competitor and killed the moose.