HELENA — A battered and blood-streaked survivor of a bear attack said in a video he shot on his way to the hospital that the animal attacked him twice as he played dead before hiking 3 miles to his truck to seek help.
Todd Orr, 50, posted the graphic video, along with photos and a written narrative, about Saturday’s attack in southwestern Montana’s Madison River valley on his Facebook page. The video shows Orr with blood streaming down his face from a deep gash on his head and what he described as “pieces of stuff” hanging from his mangled arm.
“Yeah, life sucks in bear country,” Orr said in the video.
A number listed for Orr rang unanswered Monday. A message left for a relative was not returned, and Orr did not answer emails sent to addresses associated with him.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim confirmed that Orr was attacked. It was the fifth encounter between bears and humans this fall in that part of southwestern Montana as hunters head into the backcountry in search of elk, deer and game birds, he said.
“It’s becoming more common every year,” Aasheim said.
It does not appear the bear acted abnormally if it was protecting its cubs, but the area will be closed while wildlife officials look into the attack, he said.
In the written narrative posted on his Facebook page, Orr said he was scouting for elk when he spotted a grizzly sow with two cubs at the far end of a meadow. The sow charged him and ran through the bear spray he discharged, he wrote.
The bear bit his arms and shoulders as Orr dropped to the ground and protected his neck with his hands and arms, he said.
He tried to make his way down the trail after the bear left, but it re-appeared five or 10 minutes later and bit him again on the upper body and head, Orr said.
The bear left again, and he was eventually able to hike 3 miles to his truck and drove himself to a hospital, he said. He said he suffered arm and shoulder punctures and tears, a 5-inch gash on the side of his head and a chipped bone in his forearm.
“Not my best day, but I’m alive,” Orr wrote.
Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson confirmed many of the details of Orr’s account to the Montana Standard on the day of the attack, before Orr released the video. Thompson said then that the victim did everything he was supposed to do and the bear seemed to lose interest because he was playing dead.
“It’s like being struck by lightning twice in the same day; you don’t get attacked by the same bear in one day,” Thompson told the newspaper.
The sheriff did not return a call for comment Monday.
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