‘God help me, I’m going to die,’ hunter recalls as bison grinds him into ground

WHITEHORSE — A hunter has a harrowing tale of survival after nearly becoming the quarry during his first-ever bison hunt in Yukon.

“All I seen was horns,” Todd Pilgrim said, describing the moment on Nov. 7 when an injured and enraged bison charged at him as he tracked it through bush north of Whitehorse.

Pilgrim said he shot and wounded the animal just a few minutes earlier, but it escaped into a nearby grove of trees.

He followed the bison but said he had little warning before he was attacked.

“I turned to my left and big horns to the head just took me out,” Pilgrim said.

“If he had hit me square-on, a 1,400 pound animal, I would be dead.”

Pilgrim, a natural resource officer with the Yukon government, said the blow briefly knocked him out and he awoke to find himself in more trouble.

“I’m smothering in his chest fur, bison fur,” Pilgrim said.

“It came to me, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been attacked by the biggest land mammal in North America.’ “

The bison was trying to grind him into the ground, he said.

“I said, ‘Holy cow!’ I’m screaming, I’m screaming. I said ‘God help me, I’m going to die.’ “

Pilgrim said he kept repeating “You’re not going to kill me,” and somehow managed to wriggle free before pulling out his gun, which he was carrying on his back, and firing the fatal shot.

He was able to return to his hunting companion and call for help.

Despite a concussion and gash on his forehead Pilgrim was not seriously hurt.

He was calmer just a few days later, saying it’s not every day you get head butted by a bison.

“It was surreal,” he said.

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