Persson has come across many bears over his years as a hunter and it’s this experience that helped save his life. But he didn’t take the passive approach many advise. “To lie down and play dead? I do not believe in that,” he told the newspaper.
His trick was to be more adversarial, a tactic he rather surprisingly credits to birds.
“I have seen in the past how even cranes have chased bears by folding up their wings.”
Most bear experts agree that many more bears have seen humans in Sweden than humans have seen bears, so shy is the Scandinavian brown bear. They tend to steer clear of us. But Persson admits he may have got too close. “This time, I went over the limit. You have to have respect for the animals.”
There have been at least three bear attacks in northern Sweden in the last 12 months, although none have been fatal. Hundreds of brown bears are killed in Sweden every year as part of an annual cull.
Bear attacks on humans are relatively rare in Sweden, compared to the US, where on average two people a year die as a result of an encounter with a bear. By contrast, there have only been two fatalities caused by bear attacks over the last century in Sweden.