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Man Vs. Owl in Snowmobiling Collision Hot

Owl CollisionHatfield collided with an owl on his snowmobileSnowmobiling through the pristine woods of Lake Superior’s north shore can be exhilarating and enchanting. Obviously there are a certain dangers that come with driving a 600-pound vehicle at high speeds on a surface as capricious as snow. Last Saturday, Chris Hatfield of Two Harbors, Minnesota encountered a bizarre danger that surely isn’t on any snowmobiling safety test.

Around 8pm, Hatfield was snowmobliling on a state trail just north of Duluth, Minnesota. He turned a corner about 45 miles per hour, saw a flash of black and heard a loud crack.

Moments later Hatfield awoke behind his snowmobile with a large fracture running through the shield of helmet. He looked up, victim of an unusual collision.

But with what?

“I woke up flat on my back on the trail staring at the stars,” Hatfield said. “The sled was about 3 feet away. There wMan vs. Barred OwlAn adult barred owl can weigh almost 2 pounds.as a shape on the seat, and it was an owl.”

As unlikely as it may seem that an owl would create enough force to knock Hatfield from his sled, an adult Barred Owl is, on average, 21 inches tall and 1.6 pounds. With this type of foce, it is the equiviliant to travelling 40-45 miles per hour and being hit in the face with a bottle of wine.

That said, the damage seems minimal.

“Two shiners, a cracked nose, a little whiplash,” Hatfield said.

A wise decision by Hatfield, helped him avoid a more serious injury. His helmet was not his own—it was his fiancée’s. Chris’ mask has a bad shield and when he uses it he wears the shield up, exposing a lot of his face. Before he left he opted for Heise’s new helmet and thus wore the mask down.

“That was probably the best decision I had that day,” Hatfield said.

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