Leszek Kaminiski was hunting in southeast Poland when a big red stag exploded out of the bushes and came on a beeline right at him. Kaminiski was participating in a deer drive, a style of hunting in which a group of people walk through the woods, pushing deer towards shooters positioned strategically near where the deer are most likely to run. Kaminiski was a shooter and had his rifle at the ready when he saw the stag. But the red deer came at him too quickly. A video that Kaminiski recorded shows the deer charging him, lowering its massive rack, and violently barreling into the man, all in a matter of seconds. The incident took place in mid-December but the video of it was only recently posted on YouTube.

“A young red stag was going out of the drive,” Kaminiski told ViralHog. “At the last moment, he saw me. He decided that his best option was to attack me. So he did. The stag turned in my direction and hit my head with his antlers. I didn’t pass out, but I was struggling to get up for 10 minutes with blood coming out from the left eye area. One of the antler spikes broke my skull in the eye socket area. Then it went slightly into my brain.”

Kaminiski was rushed to a local hospital, where he says that he underwent two surgeries and spent a month recovering from the incident. Even so, he managed to avoid getting more seriously injured. “Leszek tried to avoid the stag and managed to take a step to the left, which may have saved his life,” Leszek’s friend, who runs a blog called WildMen.PL, told the “Fortunately, his eye muscles and nerves are intact and the puffiness is [going down].”

man recovers from eye injury
Kaminiski documented his recovery from the attack on his Instagram account. Leszek Kaminski via Instagram

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Kaminiski says that one of the reasons he didn’t shoot at the red stag was because of Poland’s strict hunting regulations for taking red deer. In the split-second that Kaminiski had after he saw the stag, he didn’t have time to properly field judge the deer, and therefore, didn’t pull the trigger. Regardless, the incident is a good reminder that, though ungulates such as deer will rarely attack a human, it’s important to use caution around wild animals, especially when they’re threatened or injured. “In 99.9 percent of those kinds of situations, red deer choose to run away from a hunter,” Kaminiski said. “This one had a different idea.”