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Chris Hatfield of Two Harbors, Minn., holds the helmet he was wearing when he hit a barred owl while snowmobiling near Jean Duluth Road. The owl knocked Hatfield out -- and off of his snowmobile. (Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune)

Northern Minnesota snowmobiler survives collision - with owl

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One moment, Chris Hatfield of Two Harbors, Minn., was zipping along the North Shore State Trail on his snowmobile. The next, he was sprawled on the trail unconscious, the victim of a vicious collision.

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With an owl.

Hatfield, 35, remembers the seconds leading up to the collision, which occurred about 8 p.m. Saturday night. He had just rounded a corner on the state trail where it neared Jean Duluth Road in Duluth. He estimates he was traveling at 40 to 45 mph.

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