Hunter survives run-in with bison
WHITEHORSE • A hunter has a harrowing tale of survival after nearly becoming the quarry during his first 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
I TURNED TO MY LEFT AND BIG HORNS TO THE HEAD JUST TOOK ME OUT.
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 wriggled free and stood up. He darted behind a tree. The bison followed. Then the bison stopped. Pilgrim took out his gun and fired the fatal shot.
He returned to his hunting companion and called 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 was in a life-and-death fight with a bison, the largest land mammal in North America, in the bush north of Whitehorse last week. Pilgrim finally got some space between himself and the wounded bison, and shot it dead.