Bionic Groundhog

Elkhunter

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Military vet, cop fight ferocious groundhog

Associated Press — July 6, 2004

LEWISTON, Maine — A 240-pound military veteran stands ready to dispute the notion of the cute, cuddly image of the groundhog in the movie "Caddyshack."

James Nelson fought off a rampaging groundhog in his backyard, but the critter kept coming back for more after being kicked and hit with a shovel. It finally scurried away after a police officer showed up with a gun.

"The thing was bionic," said Nelson, who was twice knocked to the ground. "It kept going like it was on a mission."

The episode unfolded when the furry animal the size of a large cat showed up behind Nelson's home and proceeded to attack his two poodles as his 10-year-old daughter and her friend shrieked from the swimming pool.

Nelson came to the rescue and shooed the groundhog away late Saturday morning, but that was not the end of the story.

The angry critter came back, and this time it attacked Nelson, hissing and baring his teeth. Nelson gave the animal a kick and it ran away. But, again, the story didn't end there.

The groundhog came back and Nelson whacked it on the head with a shovel.

"It was like a bull and matador thing," said Nelson. "I beat up myself trying to fight it off."

Cleo Dow watched the ongoing battle from the neighbor's lawn. "He really wanted Jim," she observed.

When police officer Trent Murphy arrived, the groundhog was hiding under Nelson's garage. It was there that the groundhog launched its final attack, going after both men.

"I said, 'Shoot it! Shoot it!'" Nelson said. Murphy pulled his gun and fired.

It was unknown whether the single bullet found its mark, but the animal disappeared into the woods.

Afterward, Nelson marveled at the tenacity of the animal, which he said was "as aggressive as aggressive can be."

"I'm not much scared of anything," he said. "It was more of a Stephen King version of Caddyshack."
 
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