Grizzly bear attack survivor a tough guy even in surgery

“Things were a bit worse than expected once I was opened up,” Todd Orr tells his supporters.


Grizzly bears, especially females with cubs, are temperamental at this time of year, while fattening up before hibernation. Photo: Courtesy of the USFWS

Todd Orr, the Montana hunter who gained notoriety after surviving two savage attacks by the same grizzly bear last Saturday, exhibited more toughness Tuesday when he underwent extensive surgery without general anesthesia.

In a Facebook post Wednesday night, Orr revealed that his injuries were more extensive than he first thought, in the bloody aftermath of two attacks by a grizzly bear the Bozeman resident encountered while scouting for elk sign. (Warning: The video posted below contains graphic content.)

"Unfortunately, things were a bit worse than expected once I was opened up," Orr, 50, stated. "Some nerve and tendon trauma in one wound will heal over time. But another showed two tendons separated from the muscle tissue and the muscle looked like hamburger meat.

"After some time, everything was reattached and hopefully new scar tissue will form and help keep everything strong and intact. A final wound of concern revealed bone damage with a bone chip bit out from the bear's canine tooth.

"It was very deep but luckily minimal tendon and nerve damage as the tooth had somehow slipped between them."

Orr was mauled by the bear soon after it was spotted with two cubs in a meadow. The bear charged through an orange mist of bear spray, Orr said, and bit him repeatedly as he curled on the ground and tried to protect his head and neck.

The bear left, but attacked Orr again, pinning him to the ground, as he fled toward the trailhead.


Todd Orr pictured in the months before he was mauled by a grizzly bear. Photo: Courtesy of Todd Orr

Ultimately, though, Orr reached cell-phone range at the trailhead. He dialed 911 and asked the operator to alert the nearest hospital that he'd be driving himself to the emergency room in his own vehicle.

Before driving to the hospital, bloodied and suffering puncture wounds on his head, face and arms, Orr videotaped his recollection of the attack (posted above).

"Yeah, life sucks in bear country," the hunter says in the clip, which he posted to Facebook last Sunday, a day after the attack. "I just had a grizzly with two cubs come at me from about 80 yards…. I sprayed the sh** out of her with bear spray. Then I went [to the ground] on my face and protected the back of my neck…. She got my head good."

RELATED: Tense standoff with grizzly bears leaves family angry and shaken (video)

The video clip, as of Wednesday night, had garnered nearly 40 million views.

Orr's popularity as a tough-as-nails outdoorsman soared, to the point where the Bozeman resident felt compelled to start a blogTodd Orr – Bear Attack Survivor – to keep supporters updated on his progress.

"I couldn't stop laughing at some of the Chuck Norris comments and jokes that have arisen," Orr stated in one post. "I'm pretty sure I'm way too rough around the edges to fill the 'Todd Orr for President 2016', but it has been a good read while I'm sitting around recovering."

Orr, whose surgery was scheduled for Tuesday after an earlier assessment, began his post-surgery Facebook post with this passage:

"Good afternoon everyone! I was doing better yesterday until surgery rolled around. I thought I could slip into the hospital unnoticed but maybe it was the Frankenstein scar on my head that gave me away. :)

"I chose a local nerve block instead of general anesthesia so I could watch the surgery and listen to the Doc’s commentary as it progressed…. It was a fantastic few hours to watch the entire surgery unfold and interact with the team."

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