A cow moose attacked a Maine teen, his dad and their sled dogs during a snowstorm Tuesday night — a 45-minute ordeal that only ended when the 17-year-old shot the moose with a neighbor’s rifle.
Caleb Hayes and his eight-dog team were returning to the family’s kennel business in St. David after a training run. His father, Jonathan Nathaniel Hayes, rode ahead on a snowmobile.
“When we pulled onto our property, the moose was stomping puppies and bashing dog houses,” the father told the The Bangor Daily News. All the dogs escaped unhurt, he said.
He said the moose also appeared frightened, adding, “We both felt sorry for her the entire time.”
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Then the dog sled team began pulling Caleb Hayes toward the moose. He refused to let go of the ganglines – the harness system that connects the dogs. His father said he’s proud his son “put the safety of his team first, even when it meant his own life was in danger.”
The teen’s boot became tangled in the lines, and the stomping and kicking moose “came right up to the team, passing over (Caleb),” his father said.
The high school junior got away, and his dad told him to take the snowmobile and bring a gun from their neighbor. But he returned with a muzzleloader, a single-shot gun that requires the bullet, primer and powder be loaded through the muzzle before firing.
His dad, a former U.S. Marine, said “I’ve never used a muzzleloader before, and certainly couldn’t load one in the dark in a storm with a mad moose.”
Caleb Hayes rode off again, this time returning with .30-06 rifle. He fired, but the rifle kicked up, bloodying his face, his father said. A second shot brought the animal down, alive but not moving.
The Maine Warden Service was called to put down the animal. After investigating, the warden gave the Hayeses a tag to legally harvest the meat.
Caleb Hayes still plans to compete this weekend in the race he was training for, the newspaper reported.