MADISON, Mont. (UPI) — A Montana man said he survived a double attack by a grizzly bear while he scouted hunting locations by playing dead and fooling the giant animal.
Todd Orr posted pictures of his bloody, punctured body and a full account of the attacks on Facebook Sunday after driving himself to the hospital, to the surprise of doctors who were impressed with his reaction to the mauling, he wrote in the harrowing tale.
Orr, 50, went out looking for elk, yelling “hey bear” while walking a trail in the North Fork of Bear Creek in Montana’s Madison Range. The idea, he wrote, was to alert bears to a human and hopefully scare them away.
“About 3 miles in, I stepped out into an open meadow and hollered again,” Orr wrote. “A few more steps and I spotted a sow grizzly bear with cubs on the trail at the upper end of the meadow. The sow saw me right away and [the cubs] ran a short distance up the trail. But suddenly she turned and charged straight my way.”
Orr yelled louder to try to divert the bear from him, opting to unleash bear spray when the animal was about 25 feet away to no avail as it ran straight through the stream and attacked him.
After biting and beating Orr on the arms, shoulders, and back, the bear stopped and disappeared. Describing himself as “stunned,” Orr got up and started walking back down the trail toward his truck, taking stock of his injuries — several bleeding puncture wounds, but fine overall — when he turned to see the bear coming at him again from 30 feet away.
“I couldn’t believe this was happening a second time!” Orr wrote. “Why me? I was so lucky the first attack, but now I questioned if I would survive the second.”
Orr protected the back of his neck with his arms as the bear slammed down on him, biting at his shoulder and arms.
After a gash to his head, the bear suddenly stopped and stood on top of Orr for a moment before finally leaving him in the mud. Covered in blood, Orr walked 45 minutes back to his truck.
X-Rays showed he’d lost a chip of the bone in his forearm and he required eight hours of stitching
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks said it will determine what, if anything, will happen to the bear.
Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson said Orr did everything he was supposed to in the situation, and that he was both very lucky and very unlucky because although he was attacked twice, the bear lost interest when he played dead and let him live.
“It’s like being struck by lightning twice on the same day; you don’t get attacked by the same bear in one day,” Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson told the Montana Standard. “I think he did an excellent job under the circumstances, but he ran into a bear who wasn’t happy with his presence — and he lived to tell about it. I think he should go out and buy a lottery ticket now.”