Seal attack on Nova Scotia island leaves Quebec hunter with 26 stitches

MONTREAL — A Quebec hunter had to be airlifted to hospital this week following what was described as a rare seal attack on a Nova Scotia island.

Alexis Boudreault, 29, and nine other hunters were on Pictou Island Tuesday when the attack occurred. Only four of them were carrying hakapiks — clubs tipped with sharp hooks — after federal fisheries officers confiscated the tools from the others earlier in the day because their hooks were judged to be too long.

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Boudreault, therefore, was defenceless when the 225-kilogram male seal charged.

“I wanted to back up,” he told The Canadian Press in an interview Friday. “Usually, a seal might strike, advancing to protect its territory. But this time, exceptionally, the seal charged. He didn’t stop. I slipped on the ice while turning around, he grabbed my leg and threw me over him.”

His fellow hunters weren’t able to get to him in time to stop the attack, but were able to scare off the animal, which returned to join its fellow seals.

Boudreault said that his experience is a reminder that while they may appear adorable in photos, seals have sharp teeth, can bite and should be respected.

The other hunters had a first aid kit and were able to provide him with treatment.