(Article originally published on Men’s Journal by Lauren Steele)

Bozeman, Montana native Todd Orr, a former trail engineer at Gallatin National Forest and owner of Skyblade Knives was on an early morning hike on Sunday on a familiar trail in the Madison Valley to scout for elk when he first saw the grizzly. The experienced outdoorsman had taken his ordinary bear country precautions — carrying bear spray and yelling out “Hey, bear” every 30 seconds to alert any unsuspecting bears of his presence.

But when a mother bear accompanied by two cubs spotted Orr from about 80 yards, she charged. According to a post he made on his Facebook page immediately following the attack, Orr attempted to spray the bear with his pepper spray but the grizzly was not deterred. “I yelled a number of times so she knew I was human and would hopefully turn back,” he wrote. “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.”

The sow proceeded to thrash Orr, biting his arms and clawing his face, scalp, and back. He wrapped his arms around the back of his neck for protection and lay motionless and silent while the attack continued. “The force of each bite was like a sledge hammer with teeth.” Orr wrote. “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.”

Orr, counting himself lucky, started back down the trail with bleeding wounds and his senses to make the three-mile trek back to his truck to get himself to the hospital. But the bear had other plans. “About five or ten minutes down the trail, I heard a sound and turned to find the griz bearing down at 30 feet,” he recounts. “She either followed me back down the trail or cut through the trees and randomly came out on the trail right behind me. Whatever the case, she was instantly on me again.”

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