Maine teen shoots moose to save his sled dog team and dad

After attacking a teenager, his father and their dogs, a moose was shot in Maine.

Caleb Hayes, 17, his father and their team of eight dogs were returning to their family kennel after a practice run during a snowstorm when they encountered the moose.

The incident lasted 45 minutes and ended when Hayes shot the moose with a neighbor’s shotgun, according to local ABC affiliate WCVB.

“When we pulled up to our property, the moose was trampling the pups and hitting the kennels,” Caleb’s father, Jonathan Nathaniel Hayes, told the Bangor Daily News. According to the dad, a former Marine who was on a snowmobile during the encounter, all the dogs escaped without harm.

He said the moose also seemed scared, saying, “We both felt sorry for her the whole time.”

The sled dogs pulled Caleb to the moose, but he refused to let go of the gang lines, the harness system that connects the dogs, and his boot became tangled.

The moose, still stomping and kicking, came towards the team but passed over the teenager. Caleb was able to get away and his father told him to take the snowmobile to retrieve a gun from their neighbor, Jonathan said. The teenager returned with a muzzleloader, a single-shot pistol that requires the bullet, primer and powder to be loaded through the muzzle before firing.

“I’ve never used a muzzleloader before, and I certainly couldn’t load one in the dark in a storm with a mad moose,” Jonathan said.

The teenager left and came back with a .30-06 rifle, and when he fired the rifle went off, hitting him in the face, according to his father. He fired a second time, killing the animal, which was still alive.

The Maine Warden Service was called to cull the animal, and after investigation the warden gave the father and son the go-ahead to harvest the female moose meat.

Caleb still plans to race this weekend in the race he trained for, according to the outlet.

His father said he was proud that his son “put the safety of his team first, even if it meant his own life was in danger”.

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Bette C. Alvarado