I STILL HAVE NIGHTMARES. I see just the bull’s eyes, and they’re glowing red. He’s like pure evil in those dreams, and I know he wants to kill me.

I first spotted him from a hill in the morning as he fed in a bog. He had a big, 14-point rack and weighed probably 600 pounds—maybe 800. I was hunting with a buddy, and my wife had also come along to watch. The two of them stayed back while I snuck through a patch of woods, and when I got to the edge, the bull was 150 yards out. I rested my .30/06 on a branch and put the crosshairs on his shoulder, and he went down like a ton of bricks.

I couldn’t believe it when he shot back up. I hit him again, and for a second time he went down hard. I could see his antlers sticking up above the bog, and he never moved a muscle as I walked to him.

When I got there, his eyes looked locked open and lifeless, and his tongue was hanging out. I’d seen enough dead moose to know what one looks like, I figured, so I put my gun down on a nearby bush. 

Then I turned toward the hill and signaled to my wife to bring the knives. When I turned back, that bull was charging me at full speed and grunting. I had no place to go. He was only feet away and coming like a freight train, with his antlers lowered.

It felt like a car hit me, and then I was flying through the air. A bull moose stands around 8 feet at the withers, so he must have tossed me at least 10 feet high. When I landed in the bog, he stepped back 3 or 4 feet and did it again—hit me and scooped me up in his antlers all in one motion, then tossed me up over his head. 

moose with glowing red eyes gores airborne hunter
David Hollenbach

As I hit the ground, he was charging at me, but this time I grabbed his rack and started screaming and kicking him in the forehead. One of his antler points punched through the flesh between my thumb and trigger finger, and he started dragging me through the bog. Then he stepped back and rammed his antlers into my left side, and another point punctured my ribs and left a hole the size of a silver dollar. 

I was just about out of it when he stomped me in the head. I saw his big, black hoof coming down, and then every­thing went dark. 

When I came to, the bull was gone, and there was blood coming out of my nose and ears. I started thinking that I might not make it. My wife and buddy had called 911. The paramedics came in on quads, but they couldn’t take me out that way, so they called in a helicopter from St. John’s. It was actually pretty incredible to watch that chopper touch down 5 feet away from me, in the only area in the bog dry enough for a landing. I’ve always wanted to ride in a helicopter. But not this way. 

I had several broken ribs and puncture wounds, and for days afterward I had a visible hoofprint on my forehead. The bull somehow got away, even with two .30/06 slugs in him.

My doctor told me not to, but a week later I went back to the same spot with a couple of buddies. My wife wouldn’t go. I spotted a 13-point bull in the same spot and dropped him with one shot. But this time I made one of my buddies go to make sure he was dead—and I told him not to put his gun down.

This story originally ran in the 2021 Danger Issue. Read more F&S+ stories.