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Hunter in hand-to-hoof battle with angry elk

David Landes · 12 Sep 2011, 10:53

Published: 12 Sep 2011 10:53 GMT+02:00

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“Suddenly the elk stopped and looked right at me. Then it came after me,” hunter Per Henrik Berggren, 31, told The Local.

Berggren was part of a 15-strong hunting team that had taken to the forests near Skellefteå in northern Sweden on Saturday in search of the so-called king of the forest.

Shortly after the group started the day's hunt, word came over the group's radio from Berggren's hunting companion Niklas Forsell, 22, that an injured elk calf was in the area.

“Niklas called out that there was an injured calf heading toward me,” said Berggren.

Berggren was unarmed at the time, serving as part of the group attempting to flush out the elk so that other members of the group armed with rifles could take aim at the beast.

Suddenly, the animal rushed past Berggren.

“I ran with him for about 200 metres, which was only possible because it was injured,” he said.

However, it didn't take long before Berggren found himself eye-to-eye with the elk, who quickly went on the offensive.

“It came at me and kicked me down to the ground,” he said.

“I realised things could end badly, that it could just trample me to death.”

His adrenaline pumping, Berggren's survival instincts kicked in.

As he and the elk wrestled with one another, Berggren reached for his hunting knife and succeeded in delivering a blow to the attacking elk's neck.

“Then I called to Niklas for help and he came and managed to finish him off,” said Berggren, who described the minutes-long encounter as “extremely unpleasant”.

“It was no fun at all. That's not a natural way to kill an elk,” he said.

Story continues below…

Despite his potentially deadly-brush with the beast, Berggren doesn't hold a grudge against the aggressive animal.

“He felt trapped and was stressed. I have full understanding for why he acted the way he did. His natural self-defence instincts kicked in,” said the hunter.

“Of course, my self-defence instincts kicked in as well. But the whole point was to try to end the elk's suffering as quickly as possible.”

While Saturday's hunt left Berggren shaken, he nevertheless expects to be out hunting elk again soon.

“I'm still in a state of shock from the whole thing, but I don't think it will be any problem to go out again,” he said.

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David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:13 September 12, 2011 by Tysknaden
I do not want to read boyish stuff like this.
13:04 September 12, 2011 by karex
Why oh why would they want to kill a calf? Easier prey?
13:18 September 12, 2011 by Frank Arbach
Lets face it - hunting is the pursuit of cowards these days - and cowards never think an opponent could offer self-defence.

I agree with Tysknaden - this kind of story is the stuff of comics
13:35 September 12, 2011 by JulieLou40
I wish the elk had killed the arrogant prat.
13:41 September 12, 2011 by Addendum
I fully respect respectful hunters.
14:25 September 12, 2011 by Roy E
The issue here is poor marksmanship and poor judgment in deciding when to pull the trigger.

It's extremely poor hunting ethics that gave rise to this entire situation.
15:22 September 12, 2011 by stillwatersrd
"I'm still in a state of shock from the whole thing, but I don't think it will be any problem to go out again."

If there is any fun remaining in reading The Local, it has to be in reading a David Landes story. This was hysterically funny.

Of course, in reading the word 'fatal', I got baited in to reading further in the hopes that the elk/moose had done the cha-cha on the hunter's innards. I'm impressed that the moose had no trouble in identifying what manner of idiot had shot him, and chose to stomp the next one to offend him.

But our heroic hunter is still alive, in 'shock', and willing to go right back out in the woods, well-armed. Oh goody!
16:20 September 12, 2011 by Tanskalainen
I had a similar incident with my girlfriend's husband.
17:29 September 12, 2011 by ctinej

It is amazing how a person with no conscience, seeking to make himself bigger, more important in the BBQ story telling sessions, and seemingly more masculine in the eyes of his compassionate female counterparts, can have his habit of being an animal murderer, all made OK, by simply changing the word to describe that habit to " sportsman" or " hunter".

That poor calf, already hurting in so many ways, and then they feel sorry for the hunter?? I have a human manikin on my wall, (just like an animal head) with his orange hat and vest, the chew in his mouth, the dumb look on his face, and a deer antler sticking out of his chest. A silly joke, but makes a good point.

I want to put these into production. Any body want one??? Life size or a smaller one??
17:48 September 12, 2011 by Svensksmith
How revolting. How am I expected to enjoy my Elkburger now?
18:11 September 12, 2011 by Mina08
"It was no fun at all. That's not a natural way to kill an elk," he said."

No its not a natural way to kill an elk with a knife, i think old age and natural cause's are the only natural way an elk should die. sitting in a wooden hut waiting for an elk to walk by so the "hunter" can blow its brains out is not hunting, its sitting around and waiting...hunting should be for survival and conservation, NOT pleasure.

nuf said
20:21 September 12, 2011 by Redbee
Henrik Berggren must feel a big man for killing an injured calf who originally did him no harm. It is nothing but barbarism and as much as i admire most of the swedish way of life these hunters make me feel angry and sad . Just because there is plenty of land therefore this justifies this sick enthusiasm for killing wild life .

Perhaps you hunters will one day feel stress and pain which maybe will raise your thick area of consciousness of how you have treated other sentient creatures .
20:30 September 12, 2011 by Soft Boiled
Isn´t that a moose? (nah just kidding ya) I know its an elk ;) Point is..once theyve had a drink of alcohol moose/elk act like 18 year olds on a friday night who have had one over the eight... I say, dont sell alcohol to elk unless they can provide their ID cards and prove they are 20 or over!
20:42 September 12, 2011 by Scorch
What is wrong with you people?

I'll say the same thing I said in the bear article yesterday. Hunting is necessary! Otherwise these animals would get to many and start to seek food closer to society. Ask yourself who you would blame if an elk attacked your 4-year-old playing in the garden because he och she came to close to it's calf. Huh?

And theres never a guarantee that the bullet will hit a vital spot even if the shooter is an expert marksman.

However, I don't think this story is worth writing an article about.


Hunting teams are usually gives a certain amount of calves and a certain amount of big ones that they are allowed to shoot each year. To keep their numbers on a good level. Shooting calves is a part of the strategy (trust me, they would rather shoot the big ones)


An elk can attack without being wounded. Would you let it kill you if it attacked you?
21:27 September 12, 2011 by Dukratus
@ Scorch

Every animal, including ourselves the Human beings, can kill without being wounded so in what way are you proving your point by saying what you said in the last couple of lines? Just because someone or something might be a threat to your integrity does it automatically mean you should kill it on the spot? Get one thing straight here...We the Human race are the problem here, we the Human race are the ones constantly usurping and taking everything in our path and hunting is a "sport" for cowards and insignificant little people who fail at everything else in their own pitiful little lives. When I started reading this article I actually hoped that this story had ended the other way around but sadly it didn't, who takes pleasure in killing another living being's son or daughter? Every other living being in this planet has a family too, what kind of a person takes pride in killing an infant? Who boasts about that? Is that a reason to feel proud? Why attack it in the first place? They might not see the world the same way we do but that elk has exactly the same right o live in this planet as each everyone of us. We're just sad and pitiful as a race, we were "given" such a beautiful place to live and all we can do is reduce everything to ashes. Our planet is still so lively and full of diversity and yet all we have been able to do is make it greyer and sader for future generations. Gooo hunters keep up the good work, in fact people don't recognize you guys but you're in fact doing mankind a great service, commendable to say the least.....
21:37 September 12, 2011 by summo
I presume the anti hunting lobby are 100% vegan, never straying etc... I doubt it very much, it's double standards.
21:46 September 12, 2011 by Dukratus
Well if you're reffering to me yes I am 100% vegan, your point is? Cause if that was all you had to say you could have just kept quiet....
22:33 September 12, 2011 by swe-usa
Hunt, Hunt, Hunt! And the heart is the best part! Hunters are people who are not afraid to live life like it is suppose to be lived. Buying packaged meat is way worse than hunting it yourself. By the way, elk tastes so good if you grind it up with some cow meat and make your self some burgers or better yet put it over pasta! Yum Yum Yum. Oh yeah, the heart is the best part!
23:40 September 12, 2011 by Scorch

Ohmygawd have you ever been face to face with an elk or other animal with the same size? If it attacks you, you will run. If it catch up to you, you will defend yourself. If you have a knife, you will use it (especially if it's already wounded).

Or would you just stand there and let yourself get attacked and hoping you might get out of it alive?

And you didn't answer my statement. Who are you going to blame when a wild animal kills your son/daughter whatever because the hunters didn't shoot enough of them? (Imagine in your mind a 250 lbs wild boar attacking your little kid).

Or are you just gonna accept it and go on because at least the boar is alive, right?

I have never killed an elk with a knife before, but several deers. And I tell you, I take no pleasure in it. I would never kill an animal without reason. So why do I do it? 1. Population control, 2. Food (and no not everyone can live with alternatives to meat), 3. Mercy
00:12 September 13, 2011 by swe-usa
@ Scorch


No one should live with only alternatives to meat. Meat tastes great, and it is good for you!
01:51 September 13, 2011 by Dukratus

Man you're hopeless...I could be here all day trying to explain why, according to me, hunting withing our society is WRONG to say the least and you would still use the very same arguments...Once again the animal attacks in response to an attack which has no reason whatsoever to have happened in the first place, why not leave the elks alone for a change? And who are you going to blame when an uncontrolled person kills a crowd with a gun? Society ? We are far from dangerous and cruel than the most savage predators in the animal kingdom so I still fail to see where we in the middle of all this can still be considered as "victims"... If you take no pleasure in taking a deer's life then why do you do it in the first place? Do you live in the wild and do it in order to feed your family or your tribe? If that is the case then I might understand you otherwise I still fail to see your point...If you kill the animal cause you need its meat in order to assure your own survival then I have no way to say you are wrong but that is hardly the case nowadays isn't it? As for meat there are plenty alternatives already in the supermarket so why hunt in the first place when everyday tons and tons of meat are spoiled throughout the world...As for the mercy part...whose mercy ? And you are you to decide what's merciful and what isn't ? But anyways it's better leave it at that, I will always fail to see your point and you will always fail to see mine so better move on...
04:04 September 13, 2011 by volvoman9
More of the mindless dribble meant to justify violence. I live in a place where hunting is a primary industry. I'm all too familiar with the type of individual that makes this absurd argument.

Culling the herd wouldn't be necessary if we had not killed off most of the natural predators. It's as if these folks wish to be thought of as 'stewards' of the environment. Do these 'stewards' cull the old,weak or naturally injured? Nah. One might get sick from eating the diseased ones and who wants to brag to their like minded moronic buddies about killing an invalid or God forbid hanging the freak in the trophy room.

My personal favorite is the use of the term 'sport ' to describe this activity. I believe the term sport describes a contest between two individuals on a somewhat level playing ground.

Now let's see. Man has an arguably superior intellect, a weapon with which to blow a hole the size of a football in you at a range at which you probably won't see him and certainly won't be a threat to him.

The animal has in his arsenal the cunning which comes from having to survive in this hostile environment, some natural camo, and speed. Oh ya! Best of all. One individual doesn't know they are engaged in this contest! Ya that's my idea of sport.

But you of course know that all wild animals are vicious creatures bent on killing your offspring. When was the last child killed by one of these monsters? Must not make the news much. Although I'll grant you the bears around here bag their quota of 'hunters' every year. Animals usually become violent when threatened unlike the human animal that merely does it in the name of entertainment and gluttony.

Speaking of gluttony... The preponderance of modern science indicates that a meat diet is neither healthy or necessary for the human animal and in fact poses severe health risks. (I'm not a vegan nor am I a tree hugger.) Not my opinion but fact.

Just once I would like to hear a 'hunter' tell the truth about the reason for this archaic activity.... That they just like to kill stuff. It's that simple. Oh the cool camo clothes and uber cool guns and knives are a huge factor but really it comes down to the killing. I can respect honesty even if I don't agree with it.
09:00 September 13, 2011 by Scorch

Oh but I wont let it go.

Animals can attack you without you attacking them first. Try walking between a wild boar and it's piglets. Even if you didn't mean any harm it will attack.

If some person start shooting a crowd with a gun, of course I blame that person. But he or she is not shooting for food or population control (probably). He's shooting because he's a psychopath. As mentioned in my previous posts, there are good reasons for hunting.

Sure we're dangerous. But that person who was going for a walk in the forest but gets killed instead is not a victim? As for the guy in the article, I already said it's not worth writing about. If he had died, I dont think I had felt sorry for him. He went out there knowing it could happen.

Now some quotes and answers:

"If you take no pleasure in taking a deer's life then why do you do it in the first place?" Oh so you think every hunter enjoy the killing part of the hunt? I already told you the reasons (1, 2, 3). The killing is no "fun" when hunting, it's the tension and excitment. I don't have a hunting license but I was often hunting together with my father when I lived at home and I tell you, it's really thrilling than sitting there keeping watch. You can have a great time hunting without even seeing an animal.

"Do you live in the wild and do it in order to feed your family or your tribe?"

No. I lived in the country before I moved away from home tho. We often had elks and deers in the garden eating apples and such. And believe me, when that happended we took out the camera, not the rifle.

Alternatives to meat? See the post above yours

"As for the mercy part...whose mercy ?"

The deers mercy. First scenario: 1. The deer was hit by a car, 2. police calls closest dog owner, 3. dad's not home so I go, 4. track the deer, 5. put it out of it's misery. (don't ask me why the police wont shoot it, because that I dont know)

Second scenario: 1 out hunting, 2. the bullet hits but doesn't kill it directly, 3. put it out of it's misery.

Now that I have answered your questions, maybe you can answer mine.

Oh and one more thing. I don't now any hunter who wishes to cause suffering, sees hunting as a sport or kills for the pleasure
10:46 September 13, 2011 by JulieLou40
You have too much time on your hands.
21:54 September 13, 2011 by swe-usa
@Scorch and Dukratus

I agree with Scorch that no hunter hunts to create suffering. In fact I was just in Sweden in June to a family who hunts very often and raises their own farm animals. On one particular day, the son went into the hills to kill two of their raised sheep (by bullet to the head) whom they would be selling to a man the next day. His scope was misadjusted for targeting an animal at such a close range so it took him four shots to kill the first lamb, one shot to kill the second. When he popped five shots and was only killing two animals.....his parents were MAD and made fun of him relentlessly for being a bad shot. He was so embarrassed over the event and clearly felt terrible. He even stopped and specifically explained to me what happened, and that they do not do things like that in Sweden. Hunters absolutely hate it when they miss their shot and wound the animal. The mother of this family told me that if you wound an animal while hunting with a club, you can possibly be thrown out due to bad reputation.

Furthermore, if you buy meat in the store, there was an equally bloody process to create the meat. Chicken production plants....hang chickens upside down and ride them by a high speed saw to cut their throats. If the machine misses a human stands by with a knife to jab their neck and finish the job. Then another machine turns them inside out and makes all the cuts. Hmmmm..... And you dont have to live in a tribe to enjoy real meat from the wild!!!!
20:40 October 15, 2011 by GlennSigtuna
Too bad the elk didn't have a pratap weapon, too
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