Field & Stream Online Editors

Don’t tell Jim Nelson that groundhogs are cute and furry critters–or that they’re harmless. After a stint with the Godzilla of groundhogs last Saturday, Nelson found out that sometimes it’s the little guy who packs the biggest punch.

The confrontation between the groundhog and Nelson, a 240-pound veteran who lives in Lewiston, Maine, began when the animal started to attack Nelson’s poodles in his backyard, the Associated Press reported. When Nelson saw the squabble he rushed over and scared the groundhog away. It didn’t take long for the critter to return though, and this time it went after Nelson, who gave the animal a kick. But still the groundhog came back for more, baring its teeth.

Frustrated, Nelson grabbed a shovel and struck the groundhog on its head, which sent the animal scurrying to a hiding place under the garage. Trent Murphy, a police officer in Lewiston, arrived shortly thereafter and quickly got a taste of the groundhog’s tenacity when the critter made its final attack, going after both men. At the insistence of Nelson, Murphy pulled his gun and took a shot at the groundhog. Neither of the men could tell if the bullet hit the groundhog, which disappeared in the woods nearby.

After the ordeal a shocked Nelson was left with a different take on a groundhog’s strength: “The thing was bionic,” he told the AP. “It kept going like it was on a mission.”