Montana man fends off grizzly bear by inducing gag reflex

By Tomas Monzon  |  Oct. 6, 2015 at 7:49 AM
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CHOTEAU, Mont., Oct. 6 (UPI) -- A Montana man fended off a grizzly bear by sticking his arm down its throat.

Chase Dellwo, 26, and his brother Shane were out in the woods Saturday morning to hunt for elk with their crossbows. Winds were blowing at 30 to 40 mph alongside snow and rain when the brothers spotted a herd of elk. After making a plan to move the herd near Shane's location, Chase started walking fast before realizing he had come within a few feet of a sleeping grizzly bear.

The bear quickly awoke and was startled both by Chase and the windy conditions. Chase told the Great Falls Tribune of Helena, Mont. that he had his crossbow drawn and it was too late to holster it, meaning the bear was startled even further. Chase was soon knocked down onto the ground where he hurt his head and endured "the loudest roar" he'd ever heard.

Though the bear initially left, it came back to bite Chase's lower right leg. The bear left again after this but returned, at which point Chase remembered an article that his grandmother had shared with him about the "bad gag reflexes" that large animals have. When the bear returned, Chase stuck his arm down its throat and succeeded in making the bear go away.

Chase forced himself "to calm down and not to panic" despite being lost and bloodied. He eventually made it back to his brother, who quickly transported him to the Benefis Teton Medical Center.

Chase is expected to be released this week and his wife, Becca, said she was "just relieved" when he saw her husband.

Chase, who was not carrying bear spray when the encounter took place, joined Becca in saying that carrying bear spray was their best advice for others. The Great Falls Tribune, however, notes that the windy conditions present during Chase's encounter would have potentially made the spray ineffective.

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