An Incredible Story
Grand Marais deer hunter held hostage by amorous, angry moose
It was a deer hunt that Julie Collman will never forget.
The 38-year-old Collman, of Grand Marais, was hunting in a deer stand off the Gunflint Trail last week when she heard crashing in the brush.
"I saw movement, but couldn’t make it out," she recalled.
Eventually, a cow moose and her calf slipped out of the woods. An hour went by. "Then I saw a bull coming," Collman said. "The cow started to coo, and then the bull mounted the cow."
Collman is a Cook County deputy sheriff and formerly worked for the U.S. Forest Service, and she has spent lots of time in the woods. She’s encountered a fair number of moose, but never witnessed two mate.
"All three laid down, so I figured I might as well hunt some more. After an other hour, they got up and approached my stand. I stood up then to make my presence known, because I really had to leave."
But the moose didn’t run off, as Collman had expected.
"They immediately got upset. … They wouldn’t leave. They were right under my stand. They weren’t afraid. They were just mad."
Collman was stuck.
She had six bullets, but didn’t want to shoot the moose. She fired a couple of shots to try to scare them off, but that didn’t work.
Fortunately, Collman had her cell phone. She called Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Darin Fagerman of Grand Marais. He grabbed an airhorn from his boat — and a rifle — and headed down the trail looking for Collman and the moose.
"She called me and said they had moved my direction," he said. "I blew the horn. The bull was only 40 yards from me. My heart may have skipped a beat. But he took off right away."
The other two moose also scrammed, and Collman was able to climb down from her stand. Her season continued to be memorable: She bagged an eight-point buck over the weekend and a nine-pointer party hunting two days later.
Doug Smith • firstname.lastname@example.org