An unusual bear defence – Shoving an arm down it’s throat

Doug Williams
Casey Dellwo recovers from the bear attack; photo  credit: Jo Dee Black
Casey Dellwo recovers from the bear attack; photo credit: Jo Dee Black

This is the story of Chase Dellwo, who back in the fall of 2015, at the age of 26 got nailed by a 400lb bear.

He was out bow hunting with his brother Shane, pursuing a herd of elk, including a bugling bull. As they crept up on the herd, they were shocked to find themselves three feet away from a grizzly bear that had been sleeping peacefully on the ground. Because it was windy, with rain and snow and they were also down-wind the bear had not heard or smelled the two of them.

Chase Dellwo said that he had an arrow nocked, but as he was stepping backward to extract himself from the situation, the bear lunged at him knocking him off his feet and then bit his head and then his leg. There had been no time to draw back his bow to defend himself.


Chase Dellwo did some quick thinking and recalled an article from a magazine which his grandmother had kept and given to him some time previously. This mentioned that large animals have strong gag reflexes. With little choice, when the bear came at him again, he quickly (and very bravely) shove his arm down the bear’s throat. This abruptly changed the bear’s mind, and the bear stopped the attack.

Chase was in a bit of a mess, but he and Shane managed to get back to the car and head for medical help where he got treatment for his injuries.

Chase ended up with over a two hundred stitches and staples on his head and face, deep puncture wounds to his right leg and a swollen left eye.

Bear spray, which Chase did not have with him, could have helped but owing to the wind it possibly would have been a waste of time. Quick thinking saved him this time. He did, however, recommend carrying bear spray as a good idea in such a situation.


Photo Credit: Arne Nordmann

The “arm” method was certainly unconventional but it worked, and the brothers live to hunt another day.


The distinguishing factors of Grizzly Bears:

  • Grizzly bears are most commonly a medium to dark brown, but color variations from cream to black have been known.
  • They have a distinctive hump on their backs, situated between the shoulders.
  • The long guard hair on their forequarters is often tipped with white giving them a grizzled appearance, hence the name grizzly.
  • The face is concave in shape
  • Ears are short and rounded in shape
  • Long claws, usually around 2-4 inch long
  • These are large bears, and on four paws they stand around three and a half feet, but when standing upright, they may well reach over six feet tall.
  • Grizzlies have a wide weight range, averaging around 400-500 pounds, but adult males may well reach over 800 pounds.


The original story can be found here Great Falls Tribune

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fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival