Stag With 'Antlers Like Knives' Gores French Hunter to Death in Rare Attack

An elderly French man has been gored to death by a stag while he was taking part in a hunt, amid widespread animal rights activism in the European country.

While acting as a beater, whose job it is to drive the animal into a particular area and corner it, the 62-year-old, named as Regis Levasseur, was set upon by the animal, according to The Local.

According to a police spokesman, the victim, who held no firearms, "was charged and pierced by a deer which stabbed him with his antlers," and died of internal injuries before he could be tended to by emergency services, in an incident described by authorities as "uncommon."

"The antlers of the stag are like many knives piercing you; there is nothing you can do. This tragic accident reminds us that we do not play with a wild animal," said Guy Harlé, the president of the hunters' federation in the Compiègne forest, where the incident took place, almost 100 miles from Paris.

"There is an inherent risk with hunting," Harlé added. "Normally the animal would flee, but this time he decided to charge. It came after him."

A stag has mauled a hunter to death in France. Creative commons

The incident follows an explosion of anti-hunting activism in the region after an incident in the town of Lacroix-Saint-Ouen in late October, where hunters cornered a deer in a private garden before blasting it with guns at close range.

Nicolas Hulot, the French environment minister, described hunting with dogs at the time as a "practice from another century" that "prolongs the agony" of the quarry. Petitions and protests were launched in nearby towns.

But Harlé said the fatal accident was a reminder of the necessity of hunting. "Here we have the painful illustration of the danger that a wild animal can represent," he said.

"What would have happened at Lacroix-Saint-Ouen if the stag had charged around the neighborhood? This should serve as a lesson."