Todd Orr escaped getting attacked twice by a grizzly in Montana

Written by on October 3, 2016 in Critters vs Humans vs Critters - No comments

This is Todd Orr’s story and it’s a doozy.

Look at his bloody face in the video below and remember these words.

“Legs are good, eyes are good. Internal organs are good. I just walked three miles out and heading to the hospital. Be safe out there.”

14457334_10210413720368687_7744586519062853030_n Orr, a resident of Bozeman, Montana, went for an early morning hike in Madison valley to scout for elk on Sunday. Bears are common throughout southwest Montana, a fact Orr knew. He holler out ‘hey bar’ every 30 seconds so he wouldn’t surprise any bears along the trail.

Man hoped bears would stay away

Three miles into his hike, Orr stepped out into an open meadow and hollered again. He spotted a sow Grizzly bear with cubs on the trail at the upper end of the meadow.

The sow saw him right away and along with her cubs, they ran a short distance up the trail. But suddenly she turned and charged straight my way.

Orr yelled again so the sow would know he was a human, hoping the Grizzly would turn back.

No such luck. Within a couple seconds, she was nearly on me. I gave her a full charge of bear spray at about 25 feet. Her momentum carried her right through the orange mist and on me.

I went to my face in the dirt and wrapped my arms around the back of my neck for protection. She was on top of me biting my arms, shoulders and backpack. The force of each bite was like a sledge hammer with teeth. She would stop for a few seconds and then bite again. Over and over. After a couple minutes, but what seemed an eternity, she disappeared.

Heading to truck when second attack occurred

Stunned, Orr picked himself up and managed to walk down the trail towards his truck about 3 miles below.

As I half hiked and jogged down the trail, I glanced at my injuries. I had numerous bleeding puncture wounds on my arms and shoulder but I knew I would survive and thanked god for getting me through this. I hoped the bleeding wasn’t too significant. I really didn’t want to stop to dress the wounds. I wanted to keep moving and put distance between us.

About five or ten minutes down the trail, he heard a sound and turned to find the grizzly bearing down at 30 feet.

She either followed me back down the trail or cut through the trees and randomly came out on the trail right behind me. She was instantly on Orr again.

I couldn’t believe this was happening a second time! Why me? I was so lucky the first attack, but now I questioned if I would survive the second.

Again I protected the back of my neck with my arms, and kept tight against the ground to protect my face and eyes. She slammed down on top of me and bit my shoulder and arms again. One bite on my forearm went through to the bone and I heard a crunch. My hand instantly went numb and wrist and fingers were limp and unusable. The sudden pain made me flinch and gasp for breath. The sound triggered a frenzy of bites to my shoulder and upper back. I knew I couldn’t move or make a sound again so I huddled motionless. Another couple bites to my head and a gash opened above my ear, nearly scalping me. The blood gushed over my face and into my eyes. I didn’t move. I thought this was the end. She would eventually hit an artery in my neck and I would bleed out in the trail…

Orr wrote that he knew that moving would trigger more bites so he laid motionless hoping the attack would end.

“Dead silence” as bear stood on top of victim

The bear suddenly stopped and just stood on top of Orr, a moment he says he’ll never forget.14494616_10210413720048679_4413884651469566250_n

There was dead silence except for the sound of her heavy breathing and sniffing.  Orr could feel the bear’s breath on the back of his neck just inches away.

I could feel her front claws digging into my lower back below my backpack where she stood. I could smell the terrible pungent odor she emitted. For thirty seconds she stood there crushing me. My chest was smashed into the ground and forehead in the dirt. When would the next onslaught of biting began. I didn’t move.
And then she was gone.

He tried to peek at what was happening without moving but his eyes were full of blood and he couldn’t see. He was certain that if the bear came back a third time, he would be dead so he knew he had to do something. Staying in position on the ground, he reached under his chest to grab the pistol he couldn’t reach earlier.

I felt I needed something to save my life. The pistol wasn’t there. I groped around again but nothing. I wiped the blood from one eye and looked around.
No bear.

The pistol and holster were lying five feet to his left. The bear’s ferocious bites and pulling had ripped the straps from the pack and the holster attached to it. Now trashed, that backpack may have helped prevent many more serious bites on my back and spine.

45 minutes away from bleeding to death

Having survived two attacks, Orr said he knew he had to move down the trail again and judging from the blood dropping off his head, his elbows and how soaked his shirt was, he realized he had another 45 minutes to make it to his truck without losing too much blood.

He made it to his truck, shot a video of his wounds, and headed for town. He called 911 told the operator about his injuries and was met at the hospital with a doctor, nurse and an officer. The officer had to help Orr unbuckle his seat belt because his left arm was so badly injured but did express how impressed he was that the survivor managed to buckle in his seat belt in the first place.

Eight hours of surgery and stitching him back together showed a 5 inch gash along the side of his head and deep bites and bruises with arm and shoulder punctures.

There’s also a line across his lower back and butt where the bear stood on him.

Not my best day, but I’m alive.
So thankful I’m here to share with all of you. 🙂
In a couple weeks I will have to clean out the truck a little better. My girlfriend says it looks like I had gutted an elk in the drivers seat.

h/t: Facebook Todd Orr

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About the Author

Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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