‘God help me, I’m go­ing to die’: Hunter

National Post (National Edition) - - NEWS -

I’VE BEEN AT­TACKED BY THE BIG­GEST LAND MAM­MAL IN NORTH AMER­ICA.

WHITEHORSE • A hunter has a har­row­ing tale of sur­vival af­ter nearly be­com­ing the quarry dur­ing his firstever bison hunt in Yukon.

“All I seen was horns,” Todd Pil­grim said, de­scrib­ing the mo­ment on Nov. 7 when an in­jured and en­raged bison charged at him as he tracked it through bush in Car­ma­cks, north of Whitehorse.

Pil­grim said he shot and wounded the an­i­mal just a few min­utes ear­lier, but it es­caped into a nearby grove of trees.

He fol­lowed the bison’s blood trail and found a spot where it looked like the wounded an­i­mal had rested. Pil­grim thought the an­i­mal was se­ri­ously wounded. But he said he had lit­tle warn­ing be­fore he was at­tacked.

“I turned to my left and big horns to the head just took me out,” Pil­grim said.

“If he had hit me squareon, a 1,400-pound an­i­mal, I would be dead.”

Pil­grim, a nat­u­ral re­source of­fi­cer with the Yukon gov­ern­ment, said the blow briefly knocked him out and he awoke to find him­self in more trou­ble.

“I’m smoth­er­ing in his chest fur, bison fur,” Pil­grim said.

“It came to me, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been at­tacked by the big­gest land mam­mal in North Amer­ica.’ ”

The bison was try­ing to grind him into the ground, he said. A wound over his left eye was drip­ping blood. He was on his back and the bison was stand­ing over him. His ri­fle was un­der him.

“I said, ‘Holy cow!’ I’m scream­ing, I’m scream­ing. I said ‘God help me, I’m go­ing to die.’ ”

Pil­grim said he kept re­peat­ing “You’re not go­ing to kill me,” and some­how man­aged to wrig­gle free and stand up.

He darted be­hind a tree. The bison fol­lowed. And then the bison stopped. Pil­grim took out his gun and fired the fa­tal shot.

He was able to re­turn to his hunt­ing com­pan­ion and call for the Car­ma­cks Health Cen­tre. A para­medic was dis­patched to help.

De­spite a con­cus­sion and gash on his fore­head, Pil­grim was not se­ri­ously hurt. A doc­tor or­dered a week’s rest.

He was calmer just a few days later, say­ing it’s not every day you get head butted by a bison. “It was sur­real,” he said. “I think it was a strong will to live, for my kids and my mother,” he told the CBC. “I knew my mother — who I’m very close to — wouldn’t take my death well.”

TODD PIL­GRIM / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Nat­u­ral re­source of­fi­cer Todd Pil­grim with a dead bison on the ground be­hind him. The Yukon hunter has a har­row­ing tale of sur­vival af­ter tan­gling with a bison, the largest land mam­mal in North Amer­ica.

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