Teenager punches bear in face to save father from attack

brown bear
brown bear

A teenage hunter saved his father from a bear attack by punching the animal so hard in the head he broke his wrist.

The unnamed duo were pursuing the animal when it attacked the father, pinning him to the ground, during a cull in rural Sweden on Monday.

The son, 15, punched the 22-stone female brown bear in the head before it turned on the lad and bit him on the wrist, hunt leader Jonny Sjöblom told the TT agency.

The distraction bought the father, who suffered serious but not life-threatening facial injuries, enough breathing space to shoot the creature.

Both were taken to hospital from Ljusdal, an area about 180 miles north of Stockholm. The son is being treated for his broken wrist.

“The bear probably switched victims so that the father had time to fire a shot at the bear,” said Mr Sjöblom.

“It’s damn unusual for something like this to happen - but here something has gone wrong,” Mr Sjöblom said.

Largest cull for decades

The hunt leader said the injured man, an experienced bear hunter in his forties, was talkative on Tuesday, had spoken to his family and was in good spirits.

It was reported he had called the hunting team from the helicopter rushing him to hospital to ensure the bear’s skin was being taken care of.

“He’s a tough guy, he’s mentally tough and will handle this well. I think more about his son’s well-being,” Mr Sjöblom said before appealing to the media to give the injured pair privacy.

This year, authorities have licensed hunters to kill up to 649 bears in the largest cull for decades.

Benny Gafvert, from the World Wildlife Fund, said the bear was small compared to some shot in the culls, which have weighed up to 53.5 stone.

“It wasn’t a giant bear, but if you compare it to a dog, for example, it was significantly bigger, stronger and with more power in its jaws,” he told a local public broadcaster.

Northern Sweden’s brown bear population has rebounded to about 3,000 animals in recent decades as a result of conservation efforts.

But that has posed a problem for farmers and herders because the bears kill up to 50,000 reindeer a year.

Bear attacks on humans are very rare in Sweden. There has only been one confirmed killing and two suspected deaths since 1902.

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