Maine Teen Shoots Moose to Save His Team of Sled Dogs and Dad

Two moose in between snow covered treesTwo moose in between snow covered trees
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A Maine teenager retrieved a gun from a neighbor to subdue a frightened cow moose before authorities arrived to put her down.

After attacking a teen, his father and their dogs, a moose was put down in Maine

Caleb Hayes, 17, his dad, and their eight-dog team were returning to their family kennel business from a training run during a snowstorm when they encountered the moose.

The entire incident lasted 45 minutes, ending when Hayes shot the moose with a neighbor's rifle, according to local ABC affiliate WCVB. 

“When we pulled onto our property, the moose was stomping puppies and bashing dog houses,” 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 appeared frightened, saying, "We both felt sorry for her the entire time.”

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

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

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

The teen left again and returned with .30-06 rifle, and when he fired, the rifle kicked up, hitting him in the face, according to his father. He shot a second time, bringing the animal down, still alive. 

The Maine Warden Service was called to put down the animal, and after investigating, the warden gave the father and son the greenlight to harvest the cow moose’s meat. 

Caleb still plans to compete this weekend in the race he had been training for, according to the outlet. 

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.”

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