On Monday, August 21, a brown bear attacked a hunter in the Swedish town of Ljusdal. According to the Stockholm-based newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, the bear had the man pinned to the ground when his 15-year-old son began punching it in the head. Both hunters managed to survive the attack and were treated for injuries at nearby hospitals.
The man and his son were participating in a large cull hunt at the time, Svenska Dagbladet reports. The leader of the organized hunt, Jonny Sjöblom, told the newspaper that the roughly 300-pound brown bear likely let go of the man and went after his son after the boy began punching it. “The bear probably switched victims so that the father had time to fire a shot,” Sjöblom said, “so that it died.”
The man sustained serious lacerations on his face during the mauling and had to be treated in an intensive care unit at the Norrland University Hospital in the nearby town of Umeå—but he’s expected to survive. His son came away with a broken wrist that required emergency surgery.
“Bears can appear suddenly and come very close before you have time to shoot,” Sjöblom told Svenska Dagbladet. “It is very difficult to avert a danger in this way. Predators are individuals and it depends entirely on a case-by-case basis.”
According to Wild Sweden, the Scandinavian country is home to an estimated 2,800 brown bears. The largest predators on the European continent, they can weigh up to 300 kilograms or 660 pounds. They’re mainly found in the northern and central regions of Sweden.