‘Went in for kill bite’: Mass. man who survived grizzly bear attack reveals what saved his life

A Massachusetts man who was left hospitalized with serious injuries after he was mauled by a grizzly bear while hiking in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is speaking out about the violent encounter.

The 35-year-old Army veteran from South Hadley, identified by the Jackson Hole News & Guide as Shayne Patrick Burke, says he’s been shot at, mortared, and experienced explosions from improvised explosive devices, but what he experienced last weekend was by far worse.

“What happened up on Signal Mountain was a case of wrong place, wrong time,” Burke wrote in an Instagram post from his hospital bed. “I was attacked by a mother grizzly protecting its cub. It was the most violent thing I have ever experienced.”

Burke, who was bloodied and battered when Grand Teton National Park rangers and Teton County Search and Rescue teams found him, suffered puncture wounds to his hand, legs, and upper back.

“When she pounced I opted to turn and give her my back and I laid down in the prone position on my belly and braced for the ride, interlocking my hands behind my neck to protect my vitals. The first bite and slash was on my back/right shoulder,” Burke explained in the post. “I screamed. She then turned, stepping on my back. She bit one of my legs, picking me up and slamming me on the ground multiple times. She bit each leg from my buttocks to my inner knee about three times each.”

As he continued to scream, Burke says the bear turned its attention to his head and “went in for a kill bite” on his neck. Fortunately, he was holding a can of bear repellant spray in his hands.

“I still had my hands interlocked and my arms protecting my carotid arteries. I never let go of the bear spray can,” Burke wrote. “As she bit my hands in the back of my neck she simultaneously bit the bear spray can and it exploded in her mouth. This is what saved my life from the initial attack. I heard her run away.”

Burke says he applied improvised tourniquets before crews tracked him down and rushed him to the hospital.

Burke also noted that he asked wildlife officials not to capture or kill the bear because it was defending its cub.

Bear attacks in Teton County are rare, the News & Guide reported

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