Chase Dellwo, 26, was hunting with a crossbow for elk with his brother in the rugged foothills of the Rocky Mountains in northwestern Montana when he surprised a 180kg male grizzly lumbering along a creek, said Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks spokesman Bruce Auchly.
“It was startled, he was startled; the bear engaged in a defensive attack,” he said.
Dellwo later told wardens he crammed his arm crosswise into the back of the grizzly’s jaws because he had read an article that said large animals have pronounced gag responses.
Wardens do not intend to capture the bear or kill it since it engaged in a defensive, rather than predatory, attack.
“If the grizzly wanted to kill him, it would have killed him,” said Auchly.
Dellwo, of Bellgrade, Montana, was driven by his brother to a nearby clinic before being taken to a hospital in Great Falls where he was treated for injuries that include cuts to his head and face, his wife Rebecca said.