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Bison turns tables on Yukon hunter

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, November 10, 2017, 7:18 PM - Todd Pilgrim has been trying to hunt a bison for 14 years. He's now achieved that goal, but not without a struggle.


On Tuesday, Pilgrim and a friend drove to a hunting area north of Twin Lakes, when Pilgrim's friend, Fred Mullett spotted a bison that weighed an estimated 2,000 pounds.

Pilgrim says he shot the animal and it didn't even flinch. He shot it two more times before the bison causally walked away.

Mullett headed back to the truck for a break. Pilgrim tracked the animal for three and a half hours until he found blood in the snow.

“They’re so hard to get because they’re so smart,” Pilgrim, a retired senior natural resource officer for the Yukon territorial government, told CTV.

“I have a lot of respect for them.”

When the bison saw Pilgrim, it charged at him, horns first.

“I couldn’t breathe because he was choking me. My mouth, nose, my whole face was covered in bison fur, chest fur,” he told CTV.

“I yelled at it, ‘You’re not going to kill me! I have a family. I don’t want to die!”

Pilgrim was able to squirm away and take cover behind a tree. The angry bison was close behind.

He says the bison chased him around the tree for what seemed like an "eternity", until the animal gave up.

"When I was hunting this bison it was dark at 5 and -25 degrees Celsius," Pilgrim told The Weather Network. "So that makes it tough to stay warm and there's not many daylight hours to hunt."

Worried the animal would attack again, Pilgrim shot the bison, this time killing it.

“And then you know what I did? I threw my gun down on the ground and I went over and gave him a big hug,” he said.

“Poor guy. He was only trying to defend himself. He knew I was going to kill him so he was going to let me have it. I deserved it.”

Pilgrim required 12 stitches for a gash on his forehead. He says the experience left him "terrified", adding that he's through with bison hunting.

The bison was later retrieved and harvested for its meat.

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