One Montana hunter has lived to tell the tale of a grizzly bear attack after a memory of some great advice given to him by his grandmother resurfaced mid-attack. Chase Dellwo, 26, survived a grizzly bear mauling on Saturday morning while he and his brother were out hunting elk. The bow hunter shoved his entire arm down the bear’s throat and is now recovering from the injuries he sustained prior.
The bow hunter suffered a myriad of bruises and punctures from the bear’s tossing, but he knows they could have been worse. Deep puncture wounds on his right leg, a swollen and very bruised left eye, and just a few hundred stitches and staples to his head — including stitches to his face itself — are really not that bad when considering the alternative. The incredible survival tale he can now tell is no small feat either, as it is not everyday that a man crosses paths with a vicious 350- to 400-pound male grizzly and lives.
— TIME.com (@TIME) October 6, 2015
Dellwo, according to the Great Falls Tribune, is ensuring that people know that the bear was not a rampaging monster and has tried to defend the bear’s actions.
“”I want everyone to know that it wasn’t the bear’s fault. He was as scared as I was.”
On Saturday, Chase was hunting on the northwest side of Choteau when the encounter with the grizzly bear occurred. Chase Dellwo and his brother Shane, 30, could not have predicted this when they spotted the elk herd on that day. With winds blowing 30 to 40 miles per hour, coupled with snow and rain, the brothers were taking a chance when Chase decided to try drive the animals towards Shane. Chase was to walk up a narrow creek bed and try to push the herd of animals up to a ridge where Shane would wait. After about eight to 10 minutes, he said he heard a bull bugle and stepped up his pace. That was when he encountered the sleeping bear.
Due to the high winds, the bear was as surprised as Dellwo when they noticed each other, Time reports. With only about a three-foot (one meter) span of distance between the two, Dellwo says his first instinct was still to try and defend himself.
“I had an arrow nocked, and I put my bow up in front of me and took 2 or 3 steps back. There wasn’t any time to draw my bow back.”
The charging bear knocked the hunter off his feet and then proceeded to bite Dellwo on the top and back of his head. The bear seemed a little uncertain of his attack, though, as he let the man go after that bite. The bear remained on top of him for a moment and roared “the loudest roar” the hunter had ever heard.
The bear walked away some distance, and this allowed Dellwo the time needed to sit up. Unfortunately, the bear returned once more and this time bit into the hunter’s right leg, shaking him and then tossing him into the air. The bear then came after him again.
It was then that Dellwo was lucky enough to recall a magazine clipping that his grandmother had given to him a long time ago, and perhaps it was sheer desperation that made him attempt the advice but it saved him.
“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.”
The bear left. Thankfully, the bear was not harmed either, as humans encroaching on bear territory has seen a detrimental ripple effect on bears lately.
The persecution of bears is becoming UNBEARABLE! http://t.co/8gi9ImVxXl
— Marietta W.A. (@mariettawa) September 26, 2015
Chase then made his way to his brother, and the two raced to the hospital. Chase’s wife, Becca, says she was actually supposed to have been hunting with the two at the time and was just grateful that her husband had survived and was taken care of. Teton County is rife with bears, and this was not Dellwo’s first encounter, but it was the closest. He and his wife greatly recommend carrying bear spray, although with the winds it would hardly have made much of a difference. Chase was expected to be released from the hospital within a day or two of the attack.
Dellwo says he will now be waiting until rifle season to go hunting elk again. His tale of ramming his arm down the throat of a bear to escape is sure to be an inspiration though.
[Photo Courtesy of Eric Travers/ Getty Images]