Of all the ways to fend off bear attacks, we’ve heard of playing dead, punching it in the face or making a lot of noise. But never have we heard of shoving your arm down a bear’s throat. 

Apparently bear’s and other large animals have really bad gag reflexes, and to prove it that’s what Chase Dellwo exploited to survive an attack recently in Minnesota. He reportedly got the idea from  an article his grandmother had clipped a while back, according to a story about the incident in the Great Falls Tribune. 

“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.”

It wasn’t the first option for the bowhunter who had set out with his brother under cold and windy conditions that morning for some elk hunting. The two spotted an elk and decided to split up. One would flush the animal toward the other. But before Dellwo could realize it, he had startled a sleeping grizzly bear just a few feet away.

The 350-400 pound bear suddenly attacked, biting Dellwo on the head and letting out a ferocious roar. The bear retreated then came back again, this time biting down on his leg and fleeing him away. The next time the bear came at him, Dellwo had a plan. He shoved his arm down the bear’s throat. And it worked!

After the attack, he composed himself and found his brother. The two then hurried to the hospital where Dellwo was being treated. Surprisingly, this is not the first time the brothers have experienced a bear attack. 

“We had a bear in our house when we were kids and last fall there was one in the back of my dad’s pickup,” he told the Tribune. “I’ve had bears charge me before, but until Saturday, the closest was about 20 yards.”

Photo credit: Dreamstime