A grizzly bear up close. Photo: iStock

What would you do if you're limbs were being mauled by a grizzly bear? Most of us instinctively would probably try to get them out of the animal's mouth, but not Chase Dellwo.

The 26-year-old from Montana who was attacked earlier this week deliberately stuck his arm down the creature's throat - a move which may well have saved his life.

Dellwo was out hunting with a bow, stalking a heard of elk with his brother, when he came across a bear sleeping by a creek. Because snow and high winds obscured his vision, Dellwo was practically on top of the bear - just three feet away - when he saw it.

The animal woke up, knocked Chase over and bit his head. "He was on top of me roaring the loudest roar I have ever heard," he told USA Today.

Chase Dellwo in hospital. Photo: Billings Gazette

chase dellwo

The bear then ran away but came back at him and mauled his leg, tossing him to one side. But the third time the bear came towards him, Chase was ready. Remembering advice his grandmother had once given him, he jammed his arm down its throat and the creature retreated.

"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."

Dellwo was driven to the nearest medical centre by his brother, and despite needing stitches in his head and face and treatment for deep puncture wounds in his leg, was well enough to joke that he was annoyed he'd had to give up the hunt.

"I saw a six-point elk on the way out, that was disappointing," he said.

It is expected Chase will make a full recovery, but he's lucky to have survived.

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