Orland woman: I was run over by a mooseRead full article and see photo on the Bangor Daily News site:
By Karen Douglas, Special to the BDN
Posted Feb. 18, 2011, at 11:44 a.m.
ORLAND, Maine — [...] This winter’s exceptional snowfall prompted me to take up snowshoeing, and lately my three dogs and I have been regular visitors to the woods.
My dogs caught scent of something and took off. [...] I could hear them all barking like mad in the distance, which is generally not a good sign. My first thought was that they had encountered a porcupine and all I could think about as I made my way toward them was how much a veterinarian visit for quill removal was going to cost me this time.
As I clawed to the top of the embankment on the other side of the stream I saw him — a bull [moose] about 6 feet high at the shoulder. I’m 6 feet tall, and he was looking down at me. Mature bulls drop their antlers after mating season, to conserve energy for the winter, and this one was not sporting a set, so I assumed he was an adult. He also had a large “bell” on his neck.
The moose didn’t seem especially concerned about the three dogs barking at his heels. All three were keeping their distance, just making a lot of noise. The moose was standing under a grove of trees, where there was relatively little snow, munching on vegetation. I had heard that moose can be aggressive, but I was fooled into complacency by this moose’s calm demeanor. I thought the best thing to do was to grab the dogs’ leashes and lead them away before the moose got riled.
I made a wide circle as I approached. When I was about halfway to the dogs and out in the open, the moose charged. My right side was to the moose. I was trying to avoid direct eye contact, so I only saw him from my periphery just before he rammed me.
The force threw me to the ground. I stayed down, stunned, in a fetal position. I wanted to make certain that he wasn’t coming back to trample me or kick me in the head. All three dogs came over to empathetically lick my face, and I was able to grab the leash of the largest and loudest of the three dogs. I figured if I could lead him away, the other two would follow.
Content that the threat was gone, the moose went back to his spot under the trees to stand his ground.
I crawled with the leash in hand to a stand of trees where I could be out of sight before I stood again. [...] I realized that one snowshoe had been knocked off in the attack. I scanned the ground for it, but I didn’t see it. I wasn’t fond of the idea of revisiting the moose to fetch it. Had I realized how difficult it was going to be to hike out of the woods without snowshoes, I probably would have risked going back. I abandoned the remaining snowshoe because it wasn’t doing me any good.
Many times I had to crawl across the snow to make headway, pausing often, exhausted, wet and freezing, wondering why I had left my house without my cell phone that morning. I knew I was getting hypothermic because I was trying to tell the dogs that had now rejoined me to “just go home!” afraid that they would freeze. I heard myself slurring words. My feet and lower legs felt like slabs of meat fresh out of the freezer, but I didn’t dare pause to look closely. I just wanted to get myself to the safety of home, then worry about frostbite.