30-year old Chase Dellwo is in the hospital after surviving an attack from a 400-pound grizzly bear on the Rocky Mountain Front.

Dellwo was attacked on Saturday, October 3, while bow hunting for elk. Fish, Wildlife and Parks Bear Biologist Mike Madel who spoke with Dellwo after the incident and also investigated the scene of the attack, explained how Dellwo survived, but it is still hard to believe.

"He had his bow in his hand and he never dropped it, he actually kind of used it as a shield. He got beat up pretty bad," Madel said. "In this case, when the bear came back, he finally thought 'I'm gonna stop this,' and he shoved his hand and fist into the bear's mouth partially down his throat which caused a gagging reflex, which caused the bear to take off and run."

Madel said extreme winds on Saturday likely led to the close encounter and would have prevented the effective use of bear spray. Chase’s brother Shane Dellwo played a pivotal role in getting his brother to medical professionals.

"This hunter was pretty severely mauled. He had some serious lacerations on his head and on his leg," Madel said. "He was young and strong, but he did the right thing. He immediately got up right after the attack. He called his brother and they just raced in this truck directly for [the hospital in] Choteau and made it within 20 or 30 minutes."

Because the grizzly attack was defensive in nature, FWP will not be trying to trap and euthanize the bear. According to Madel, there are about 30-40 grizzly bear conflicts a year on the rocky Mountain front, but he’s never heard of anyone surviving by triggering a bear’s gag reflex by hand.

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