Chase Dellwo survived a gruesome grizzly bear mauling on Saturday thanks to a magazine clipping his grandmother gave him years ago.
The 26-year-old was bow hunting for elk with his brother, Shane, 30, near Choteau, Montana, when he came across a 350-400 pound grizzly bear, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
Chase was walking up a narrow creek bed, hoping to drive a herd of elk to a ridge where his brother was waiting when he noticed a bear just three feet away from him.
“I had an arrow nocked, and I put my bow up in front of me and took two or three steps back,” he told the news outlet from his hospital bed. “There wasn’t any time to draw my bow back.”
The bear knocked Dellwo to the ground and bit down on his head.
“He let go, but he was still on top of me roaring the loudest roar I have ever heard,” he recalled.
The bear then bit Dellwo’s leg and shook him, tossing him in the air. When the bear came at him again, Dellwo remembered a life-saving piece of knowledge.
“I remembered an article that my grandmother gave me a long time ago that said large animals have bad gag reflexes,” Dellwo said. “So I shoved my right arm down his throat.”
The trick worked. The bear immediately left and Dellwo gathered his composure to make the walk to meet his brother and get help.
“I forced myself to calm down and not to panic,” he said. “I was lost. I cleared the blood out of my eyes. If I had allowed myself to panic I would still be in there.”
Shane drove Chase to Benefis Teton Medical Center where the young man received a few hundred stitches and staples in his head.
“I want everyone to know that it wasn’t the bear’s fault, he was as scared as I was,” he told reporters from his hospital bed.
Chase and his wife Becca added that if any advice could be gleaned from his harrowing experience, it would be “carry bear spray.”
Listen to your grandmother might make a good addition to that list.