A man hunting elk in the Montana mountains said he fended off an attacking grizzly bear by shoving his arm into its throat to induce a gag reflex that would frighten it away, according to state wildlife managers.
The 26 year old Ole Chase Dellwo, was hunting with a crossbow for elk with his brother in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Montana on Saturday when he surprised a 500-pound (200kg) grizzly bear lumbering along the river, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Bruce Auchly.
“It was startled, he was startled; the bear engaged in a defensive attack,” he said on Monday.
Dellwo later told wardens he crammed his arm crosswise into the back of the grizzly’s jaws because he had read an article that said large animals have pronounced gag responses.
Wildlife managers were not acquainted with the literature or purportedly excessive gag reflexes among the massive, hump-shouldered bruins, but Dellwo’s action prompted the bear to break off its attack and run away, Auchly said.
Wardens do not intend to capture the bear or kill it since it engaged in a defensive, rather than predatory, attack.
“If the grizzly wanted to kill him, it would have killed him,” said Auchly.
Dellwo, of Bellgrade, Montana, was driven by his younger brother to a nearby medical clinic before being taken to a hospital in Great Falls where he remained on Monday for treatment of injuries that include cuts to his head and face.
Wildlife managers advise carrying bear spray to ward off attacks. ( I world rather be carrying a gun) Dellwo was not equipped with bear spray when he encountered the grizzly.