Chase Dellwo was bow hunting elk in the Montana town of Choteau with his brother last saturday, but things took a dramatic turn when the 26-year-old stumbled across the grizzly as it slept.
Snow, wind and rain had meant neither Dellwo or the bear saw the other coming, and the mauling that followed is believed to be a result of the beast being scared as opposed to bloodthirsty.
When the hunter came to within one metre of the grizzly, which can weigh up to 180kg, the animal woke from its slumber and knocked Dellwo clean off his feet.
The Great Falls Tribune reported that Dellwo managed to sit up momentarily before the grizzly returned, this time biting his leg and vigorously shaking the man.
It is at this point that instinct kicked in and Dellwo recalled a life saving lesson handed to him by his grandmother.
I remembered an article that my grandmother gave me a long time ago that said large animals have bad gag reflexes. So I shoved my right arm down his throat.”
Much to his relief the trick worked and the bear left allowing Dellwo to reunite with his brother and seek medical help. The mauling left the quick-thinking man with stitches and staples in his head, plus a swollen eye, and puncture wounds to his leg.
Refreshingly Dellwo holds no ill will towards his attacker.
I want everyone to know that it wasn’t the bear’s fault. He was as scared as I was.”
I can’t say getting into the bears mouth willingly would have been my first thought, but good to keep that little gem in the back pocket for emergencies.