Nov. 11, 1903: Attacked by an eagle

Posted on November 3rd, 2009 – 4:36 PM
By Ben Welter

While fishing from a kayak the other day, I spotted a huge eagle atop a tree on the west side of Lake Harriet. After reading this St. Paul Globe piece, I wonder if I should arm myself with something more menacing than a paddle next time I troll that stretch of water. Any suggestions?


Anton Bosworth Has Exciting
Battle With King Bird

Alone in a rowboat on Bald Eagle lake, Anton Bosworth, a young hunter, battled with a powerful gray eagle yesterday afternoon, and after fifteen minutes of desperate fighting, in which the half-starved eagle made repeated attacks upon him, succeeded in breaking the eagle’s wing by shooting it.

Handicapped as Bosworth was by being in a small rowboat, he fought against the onslaughts of the bird, and when the danger was finally over, he fell to the bottom of the boat exhausted.

Bosworth, whose home is at Hugo, was hunting muskrats in the marshes of Bald Eagle lake. He noticed the eagle some time before it reached him, but did not anticipate any trouble. But the big bird, evidently in search of muskrats also, came direct toward the boat, and before Bosworth could realize his position the bird was within a few feet of him.

Raising his gun, he fired at the eagle when it was within three feet of him. The shell was loaded with small shot, and the charge, which scattered the bird’s feathers, only irritated it.

Circling around a few yards the bird came direct at Bosworth. He had not time to reload his gun, and for the next few moments it was a fierce battle between the enraged eagle and the hunter. By using his gun as a club, Bosworth managed to keep the bird off him, but the eagle put up a game fight and kept Bosworth busy to protect himself.

Finally the eagle soared away to a distance sufficient to give Bosworth time to reload his gun with a shell containing large shot, and when the attack was renewed a well-aimed shot broke the eagle’s wing and it fell into the shallow water.

Bosworth was exhausted, but after a rest of a few moments he recovered sufficiently to kill the eagle.

A wound on the wrist shows the only mark Bosworth received from the claws of the eagle, but he fought desperately to save himself from a worse fate.

Bosworth came to St. Paul with the eagle yesterday evening and was about town attempting to sell the bird.

The eagle’s wings measured a trifle more than seven feet from tip to tip. The bird had every appearance of being half starved.

  A cottage on Bald Eagle Lake in about 1895. (Photo courtesy

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