A wild bull elk gored a shepherd in the mountains in eastern Utah, puncturing one of the man’s lungs, knocking him unconscious and forcing him to walk several miles for help.
Sheepherder Hugo Macha, 31, was in good condition in a Grand Junction, Colo., hospital Friday, three days after the attack in the La Sal Mountains.
Macha, who is from Peru, told rescuers that he’d been sitting on the ground and leaning against a tree Tuesday evening when the elk appeared and started heading toward him. He tried to get away, according to Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officer Dennis Shumway, but the animal ran him down, knocked him to the ground and gored him with its antlers.
Macha told officials he waited in hopes that he’d be found by hunters, and tried to call for help on his cellphone but wasn’t getting service. Early the next day, he started a long walk to find a fellow shepherd about 5 miles away.
“This guy was a complete stud,” said conservation officer Jay Shirley, who was one of the rescuers at the scene. “He was in a lot of pain. He couldn’t even sit down because it hurt so much, and yet he walked that far. He hadn’t had food or water and no sleep. He was amazing.”
Conservation officers put him on an IV, bandaged his wounds, and arranged for a MedEvac helicopter from Grand Junction.