Huge moose tramples the Iditarod dog sled team during a practice run

The Iditarod is a notoriously dangerous and difficult race. I remember learning it in college (can’t remember why we did it, especially since we spent about 3 months there…) and just marveled at the dangers mushers are in confronted. For rookie Bridgett Watkins, however, the dangers came in practice. Unfortunately, during a 52-mile practice run, Watkins’ dog team was attacked and trampled by a very large bull moose, for More than an hour.

4 of Watkins’ dogs were injured in the attack, and as grim as it may be, she’s lucky it ended there. Although she emptied her gun into the beast, the moose did not stop and first tried to charge and attack her. Luckily, as it was a practice run, Watkins had a friend on a snow machine following her and was able to hide behind the machine to avoid injury.

“As he charged at me I emptied my gun at him and he never stopped, I ran for my life and prayed to be quick enough not to be killed at this He stomped on the team then turned around and charged us humans who were seeking shelter next to our machine. He stopped just 2 feet in front of our snowmobile. I was able to free 6 dogs that were part of the team hooked up to the machine but unfortunately he went back to my team attached to my sled and trampled them over and over again and again for almost an hour this continued. – Bridgett Watkins via Instagram

According to Alaska Public Media, Watkins’ father and stepmother were both well-known mushers, and in 2016 his stepmother, Aliy Zirkle, was with four-time Iditarod winner Jeff King when they were attacked by a man on a snowmobile during the race and one dog was killed and two were injured. So, unfortunately, Watkins is no stranger to the dangers of dog sled racing.

After over an hour of moose trampling the team, a friend of Watkins’s showed up with a more powerful gun and killed the moose. Her meat was donated to charity and Watkins says she was upgraded from the .380 caliber pistol she was carrying during the incident to a higher caliber rifle.

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