That, at least, is the version of events recounted by Benny Bygdebo, the driver of the vehicle that crashed into the animals near Umeå in northern Sweden.
Bygdebo said the reindeer “flew about like gloves” on the road after he was unable to prevent driving into them on the icy road.
With two animals seriously injured at the side of the road, he decided to stop the next vehicle that came along to ask for help.
When a passing car duly pulled over, he asked the passengers if they happened to be carrying an axe. At this point, two sturdy men stepped out of the car and addressed the unfortunate driver.
“’No’, one of them said, ‘we don’t have an axe but we do have guns’,” Bygdebo told local newspaper Västerbottens Kuriren.
It was then he realized that the two men were bodyguards travelling with Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson.
One of the bodyguards then informed Bygdebo that he would put the reindeer down with his firearm.
“I told him he should put the gun right up to the reindeer’s head, but he seemed sort of half-scared,” said Bygdebo.
Instead, the bodyguard held the weapon about a half metre from the animal’s head. Somehow he managed to miss the target before firing a second shot and killing the animal.
The Säpo guard then took a look at the second wounded animal and decided that it had died in the intervening period. But according to Bygdebo, the reindeer was still alive and in a great deal of pain.
“The Säpo guy drove off. Then an acquaintance of mine came along with his axe and killed the animal,” said Bygdebo.
Säpo however had a different take on the incident.
“The deer were shot with two shots. Then a passerby offered to help with an axe, but it was not necessary as the deer were already dead,” spokeswoman Maria Martinsson told The Local.