A 41-year-old man enjoying a day of golf was left with a painful memento when a large elk charged him with its antlers — and tore his kidney into pieces.
According to KCNC, Zak Bornhoft was visiting Evergreen Golf Course in Colorado on Saturday when he came across a herd of elk famous for roaming the area. While many of the animals were peaceful, Bornhoft said he ran into trouble with one of the elk when his group tried playing the last few holes of the course.
"This bull elk was just eyeing us down," Bornhoft, of Aurora, recalled to CNN. "We were slowly going forward and he started charging at us and he missed."
"My buddy gassed [the golf cart] to get away and the elk gored me on my right side," he added.
The elk's antler punctured Bornhoft's hip, going deep enough that it horn tore his left kidney into two pieces, he told the outlet.
"It was unbelievable," Bornhoft described to CNN. "[The elk] was just freaked out and there was nothing we could do."
After the attack, Bornhoft was taken to a clubhouse before being transported to a local hospital, his wife, Megan, told KCNC. While he's expected to recover, doctors are hoping to stop any infections from developing.
"The urologist told me 3 inches higher and we wouldn’t even be sitting here," Megan — who did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment — told the station.
"I’m just so thankful he’s here with us and this isn’t worse than it could have been," she said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Public Information Officer Jason Clay told KCNC that the elk that roam the golf course are now in mating season and can become overly aggressive and territorial.
"During the rut, the bulls collect their harems and very aggressively will defend them," Clay explained. "It could definitely see a golf cart or people nearby as a challenger."
According to the Denver Post, more than 100 elk were visiting the golf course on the day of the attack, and guests are often warned of areas that could be dangerous because of the animals' presence.
"These are wild animals, even on a golf course. … They can be extremely aggressive," Denver parks spokeswoman Cindy Karvaski told the outlet.
Bornhoft is remaining in good spirits despite his hospitalization and told The Post he'd like to return to the course when he is recovered.
"I’ll be devastated if I can’t swing a club again," he said, assuring the newspaper he does not want "revenge" against the elk that injured him.
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