The Wild And Unexpected Way A Man Thwarted A Scary Bear Attack

Largely, bears are content to be left alone, doing what they do wherever a given species happens to live. Naturally, though, they come into contact with humans quite often, what with humanity's tendency to spread itself further and further into every reach of the planet. A 2019 study titled, "Brown bear attacks on humans: a worldwide perspective," from G. Bombieri et al (via Scientific Reports) relates, "Although brown bears are known to adjust their behavior in order to avoid humans, complete avoidance is not always possible." The study reports that damage to property is a common result of such an encounter, and that direct attacks on people are less common but can occur. When they have, per the researchers, "the main scenario was an encounter with a female with cubs."

On the subject of bear attacks, the National Park Service offers some valuable and surprisingly varied advice. Depending on the species encountered, your approach should be different: With brown or grizzly bears, it's advised to take a defensive, submissive stance, while fighting back can be key against black bears. One man managed to save himself in the most incredible way.

A hunter's surprising encounter with a grizzly bear

Bears can engage in bluff charges, according to the National Park Service, in which they attempt to frighten away a perceived threat by barreling towards them but then turning away before contact is made. "When a bear bluff charges, it will have its head and ears up and forward. The bear will puff itself up to look bigger," the National Park Service reports, indicating that the key is not to run but to remain still.

This is reportedly differentiated from an aggressive charge from a bear that feels under pressure, characterized by the bear pounding the ground and lowering its head. Those are signs that the person being targeted must prepare to defend themselves by any means necessary. Keeping a cool head and differentiating between a bluff and aggressive charge, when faced by a bear, is no easy feat. Improvisation can be the key to survival, as one young man discovered when he happened upon a grizzly bear while on a hunting expedition. Only by thrusting his arm into the attacking creature's mouth did he survive the encounter.

The Great Falls (Montana) Tribune recounts the harrowing story. In October of 2015, Chase Dellwo was hunting elk near Choteau with his elder brother, Shane. The pair were armed with bows, but Chase encountered another powerful animal they had not counted on meeting: a grizzly that was as surprised to see him as he was to see it.

Bear-ly escaping further injury

The brothers separated when they discovered a herd of elk, according to The Great Falls Tribune. This was when Chase woke a sleeping grizzly. Chase was just feet away when he noticed the animal, and the wind conditions meant he inadvertently got the drop on it. Dellwo reported to the newspaper that the bear seized him and sank its teeth into his head. Roaring furiously, it bit him again in the leg and tossed him away.

The bear still wasn't finished with the injured Chase, and may have killed him if not for the young man's brainwave. From his room at Benefis Health System, where he was being treated, he told the newspaper, "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."

At this, the bear backed off, and the shaken young man found his way back to Shane. They drove to Benefis Teton Medical Center, where Chase was given stitches to the head and face, and treatment for his punctured leg and injured left eye. Ultimately, it was thanks to the article and his ability to retain a cool head in a crisis that he didn't fare much worse. As for his attacker, he bears (pun intended) no ill will. "I want everyone to know that it wasn't the bear's fault, he was as scared as I was," he told the Tribune. His advice? "Carry bear spray."