Hawke's Bay farmer escapes death after mad bull attack

It hunted him down, gored him into the ground - then circled for the kill.
It hunted him down, gored him into the ground - then circled for the kill. Photo credit: Hawkes Bay Helicopter Rescue Trust / Supplied

A wounded Hawke's Bay farmer and his dogs have narrowly escaped death after he was attacked by an enraged bull.

Farmer Robert Pattullo went out to work with 25 bulls on his Puketitiri farm west of Napier on Thursday.

Mr Patullo tied his four dogs to a fence about 50 metres away from the herd to keep them safe from the bulls and not upset them.

But as he approached the bulls on his quad bike one of them charged. It knocked him and the quad bike over then continued to attack.

"The bull circled past the overturned quad bike and hunted me down, gored me into the ground a couple of times before I was able to get back to the safety of the quad bike," Mr Patullo says.

By the time the bull backed away, he had suffered head and chest injuries and his quad bike was wrecked. He also lost his cellphone in the attack.

As he lay there wounded the bull continued to circle him. Fortunately Mr Patullo had his personal locator beacon (PLB) with him and he was able to activate it. A Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust chopper was sent off with two paramedics on board to save him.

At first, the pilot thought Mr Patullo had been hurt in a quad bike accident.

Then, one of the bulls started roaring, stamping, and acting aggressively towards the helicopter and paramedics.

The paramedics quickly got Mr Patullo on board but he insisted they take his dogs too as he was afraid they would be killed by the bulls. So, the paramedics untied the dogs from the fence, put them on board the helicopter, and they all flew off together.

Mr Patullo was taken to Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital for treatment.

"This is as bad as it gets, totally unexpected and random from a single bull in a mob that gets shifted regularly," says Mr Pattullo.

"Having the bull continue to circle me around the quad bike was very unnerving but I was reassured that having activated my PLB that the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter would be coming to my assistance shortly.

"I can't thank the crew of the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter enough, pilot Jeremy Bruce, crewman Ian Clarke and paramedics Kim Crysell and Ryan Sutherland."