“There were hearts and livers and a lung,” one of the hunters, Benny Trygg, told The Local on Monday.
“It was a mess,” he added.
Benny Trygg and fellow hunters from his Ljusmossen hunting team, were out patrolling the area near Nyhammar, some 300 kilometres northwest of Stockholm, in preparation for the elk hunt.
The hunters discovered a pile of discarded clothing and leftover food, and the gruesome collection of leftover body parts from several elk.
In total four hearts, three livers and one lung, intestines and several chopped off legs were found at the site, placed in plastic boxes commonly used for berry picking.
Benny Trygg told The Local that he and his hunting colleagues were unable to come up with a satisfactory explanation.
“It has never happened here before,” Trygg said. “But there are restaurants that buy that stuff so you can make good money off of it. And slaughter houses buy it for 88 kronor ($13) per kilo.”
Judging from the body parts, these were two big individuals and two smaller ones, raging from approximately 250 to 550 kilogrammes. So there’s a clear motive for illegal hunting, Trygg explained. However, he’s unable to tell why they would have left the intestines like this.
Some locals are speculating that the motives were harmless, Trygg said, such as people emptying out their freeze box where they might have kept the body parts to make dog food, or to train their dogs to recognize the smell of elk.
But these are not arguments that have persuaded the the 66-year-old hunting veteran.
“Nonsense. Then why would they just dump it out in the woods? And this was all fresh stuff, it hasn’t been frozen.”
After the discovery, Trygg and his team contacted the police which arrived at the site to document the find.
The case has currently been classified as “suspected illegal hunting” according to Göran Lekander at Dalarna Police Department, according to a report in the local Dalarnas Tidning (DT) daily.
But Ljusmossen hunting team has also carried out their own investigation as they’ve patrolled the area in preparation of the upcoming hunt. But so far, nothing.
“We haven’t seen any butchering sites so we’re suspecting they might have shot the animals elsewhere and then just dumped the intestines here.”
Trygg explained to The Local that there maybe more to the story than what first meets the eye.
He explained how a man from the village had been out in the woods with his wife and a number of relatives when they heard a larger group of people speaking in Thai. They got curious and walked up to them to chat.
“They said they lived in the huts that our hunting team uses,” Trygg said.
Trygg was however unwilling to further speculate on whether the Thai berry pickers had any role in the elk body parts mystery.
Yngve Andersson at the local Dalarna police told The Local on Monday that he is personally sceptical to the idea that these elk were shot in the area.
“I’m a hunter myself and it sounds a bit unlikely in my ears. Had it been one elk, fine, but four… You just don’t go out there and shoot four elk like that,” Andersson said.
“Last year I didn’t see a single damn elk.”
Having seen evidence of illegal elk killings before, the choice of cuts taken from the animals in this case, strike Andersson as somewhat peculiar.
“You cut off thighs and the fillets, that’s the classic illegal hunting,” he said. “You don’t take the trouble to cut out the heart and the intestines.”
With regards to speculation that the elk body parts may have something to do with Thai berry pickers in the area, Anderson replied:
“You can speculate all you want. We need something concrete, like a site where the animals were butchered, otherwise it’s hard to do anything.”