Follow the link below for Time Magazine’s article and video.
This Man Survived a Bear Attack. Twice.
Todd Orr. 10/26/16.
Update to Grizzly Bear Attack.
It’s been three weeks now since the two Grizzly bear attacks and the following surgery to re-attach the two tendons in my left arm.
The deepest bite chipped the bone in my forearm, but luckily, the long canine tooth slipped between the tendon and nerve.
Each day, the movement and flexibility in my fingers improve. Two more weeks with the splint and I can begin a more intensive physical therapy regiment.
There is still considerable numbness in my forearm, palm and fingers from the crushed and damaged nerves. However, in time, they should regenerate and the numbness should subside.
The Frankenstein looking scars of two weeks ago look much better but still quite tender.
I stopped by my surgeons house for a chat about fishing this morning and to borrow some scrubs for a Halloween costume. He believed my wounds were healing better than expected and was confident I would have near full recovery in a few months.
I sure like the small town atmosphere here in southwest Montana. Your orthopedic surgeon is just another local guy you can call buddy, and you stop by for a chat or go out for a beer with. 🙂
My right arm, shoulder, chest, back and side are nearly healed. A hundred stitches, staples and scabs have now become scars. Most of the bruising has faded and the swelling and soreness is minimal.
I look back at the photos from a couple weeks past, and am reminded of how extensive the bites, claw marks and bruising really were. Although only a dozen significant puncture wounds, other numerous bites did not break the skin, but definitely left their mark in cuts, scrapes and bruises.
The swelling and soreness from the bite marks on the back of my skull are completely gone.
The nasty claw gash and partial scalping along the right side of my head has also healed incredible well. The 5 inch scar is barely visible within the hairline. I have to thank the ER docs for doing a great job stitching! Only minor swelling and a shaved strip through my hair remind me of that fretful day, the first of October.
Mentally, I’m doing really well. Only one bear dream to date that woke me, but nothing frightful. I don’t fear my inevitable return into bear country, but I will be extra aware of my surroundings and likely looking over my shoulder often, the first few days back. I hope that if I do see a bear, I can back away without being seen.
Sunday was very rewarding as I joined my Dad for an afternoon of fly fishing. The erratic winds certainly didn’t help my one-armed fly casting and Dad out-fished me.
But no complaints, as it was my first day back in the mountains since the attack, and I thoroughly appreciated the fresh air and sunshine.
A fresh black bear track in the mud along the shoreline kept me looking over my shoulder, but it couldn’t spoil a great day with my father. I am thankful to be alive and enjoying life in Montana.
Again I want to thank everyone for the many thousands of healing wishes and words of encouragement. I believe it is working wonders on my recovery. Thank you! 🙂
Enjoy the week everybody!
Question: Why didn’t bear spray work?
Todd Orr. 10/16/16.
Update to Grizzly Attack.
Question: Why didn’t bear spray work?
I noticed numerous comments out there this last couple weeks about the use of bear spray and it’s effectiveness. I am certainly no expert on the matter but would like to give my opinion as it relates to this incident and my past experience.
First and foremost, I am a strong advocate of bear spray! Statistics from recorded bear attacks show that bear spray is more effective than a gun at stopping a bear charge. I used bear spray on a black bear twelve years ago at about 15 feet, and it turned him around in a heartbeat. It works.
It makes sense. An animal gasping for breath because it’s lungs and eyes are filled with a burning pepper spray is more likely to stop its charge or change its behavior than a charging bear full of adrenaline with a stinging, superficial bullet wound.
Animals have a much higher pain tolerance than humans, and a bullet wound may be barely noticeable unless it penetrated a major muscle, bone or internal organ. Even then, an animal could survive with a major injury and continue its attack. A deer shot by a hunter rarely falls dead in its tracks even though a well placed bullet found its mark. Now imagine a heavy boned and muscular Grizzly bear protecting its young and charging at 40mph. Good luck making that well placed shot that pierces the bears brain or spine and stops it in its tracks in two seconds.
Additionally, a bear has a very thick and sloped skull that is not easily penetrated with a bullet even by an excellent marksman. The bullet could very well glance off the bone or lose much of it’s energy and lethal power. A frontal shot on a charging bear is likely to result in a wound to a leg or shoulder, with only the possibility of a chest or head shot, which may not be lethal and likely not going to stop a bear in its tracks. And even more likely, is a miss. Not many people practice shooting at a target full of teeth and claws on a surprise attack at up to 40mph. Think about it…
Now let’s go back to the use of bear spray in my incident.
First, my can of bear spray was a well known brand name of the medium 8oz size and still within the expiration date. It put out a good blast and cloud of spray when I tested it three weeks earlier.
I have had a number of government certified bear identification, safety and bear spray use classes over the years with the Forest Service. I am familiar with the distance bear spray travels and its effectiveness.
In my situation, the bear was at full charge the entire time, and did not stop or hesitate as most bears would, opening a good opportunity for the use of bear spray.
Bear spray puts out a good, concentrated cloud to roughly 25 or 30 feet. So ultimately you would want the cloud in the bears face or just in front of it if charging. I estimated that I sprayed at about that distance or likely further at the initial spray but I can only speculate the exact distance. In any case, the cloud of spray engulfed the bear. I am also aware that bear spay has a slight recoil that will lift you arm a couple of inches and shift your spray pattern upward, so I was sure to keep the pattern low to the ground and at the attacker.
The bear did not stop at the cloud of spray and was through it immediately. Had she taken a deep breath at the right moment while going through the spray, it may have been a different story. Had she slowed, stopped or bluff charged at the cloud for a second, I believe the spray would have had an obvious effect as well. In this situation, I believe her speed and determination just carried her through the spray with a minimal effect that did not deter her. She was focused on getting to me.
So I ask that anyone out there in bear country or around other wild animals, please carry your pepper spray. Don’t be discouraged or consider it unnecessary just because it didn’t work for me that day. My situation was very unique. The odds are still highly in your favor that it could save you life in the event of an attack.
If you want to really be prepared, attend a bear identification and safety class and take the opportunity to test an inert can of bear spray so you know what to expect if you had to use one.
Also, I like to give a quick test burst of my bear spray once a year to know it is operating properly. I have heard others say this is a bad idea because it uses up a half second of spray you may need to use on a bear. That is a legitimate concern, so each person should make their own decision on the matter. If you choose to test, make it a very quick burst and be certain to spray in a large, open space outdoors, and away from people or pets. Common sense should tell you not to spray into the wind. After the quick test spray, immediately move away from the area and wash your hands.
A Bad Day In Bear Country – Todd Orr’s Horrific Grizzly Encounter
Todd has been asked repeatedly to answer some of the common questions and recount his grueling attack. Todd took the time to do this special edition interview for The American Warrior show, with his cousin Mike Seeklander, the show’s host.
Welcome to The American Warrior Show, the podcast of the American Warrior Society. This show is designed for one thing: To help keep you safer through information, motivational concepts, and action steps! We appreciate your listenership and value your opinion. Please send comments, questions, or requests on the show to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for listening to my show. Please share it on social media and other methods with freinds who want to be safer!
Show #41 – This is show number 41, an American Warrior Show special edition. This show covers the horrific attack experienced by Todd Orr, who was attacked not just once, but twice by a sow grizzly bear in Montana.
In this interview, we discuss:
- Todd’s background and childhood.
- His love of hunting, fishing, and outdoor sports.
- Todd’s grueling attack by a Grizzly bear, including details he has not talked to anyone else about!
- Attack number 2, and how he survived.
- Todd’s thoughts on bear spray and why it didn’t work.
- Why Todd did not use a gun (a common question).
- Todd’s opinion on what should happen to the bear.
- An unbelievable story!
To download this episode, click here.
For more information on this podcast and the AWS please visit:
- The American Warrior Society website (we are live!)
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- Next Level Training (coupon code: “seeklander” for 15% off!)
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Todd Orr. 10/8/16
Update to Grizzly attack story on 10/1.
Why didn’t you shoot the bear?
1. I am a hunter and an outdoorsman and I do not shoot a bear just to kill it.
2. It is illegal to shoot a Grizzly bear unless you can prove you were defending your life.
3. I certainly wouldn’t care to shoot a sow with young, defenseless cubs that would likely not survive the winter without their mother, unless necessary to protect my life.
4. Bear spray has been proven to be more effective than a pistol at stopping a bear charge.
5. The quickness of the charge and uncommon behavior did not trigger the thought of using the gun before the bear spray.
6. Shooting a Grizzly charging at up to 40mph with a pistol and with accuracy is nearly impossible.
7. I carried a large, heavy, scoped handgun made for hunting and not an easy quick-draw, self defense type pistol.
8. Shooting a charging bear at close range while aiming through a handgun scope is nearly impossible.
When I first saw the Grizzly and her two cubs of the year, they were approximately 70-80 yards away, and ran immediately into the timber upon seeing me. I felt quite comfortable that the situation was over at that time, due to my experience with other bears and known typical behavior of a sow with cubs. She would likely continue west, putting distance between us. I planned to continue up the mountain moving eastward and away from her.
But suddenly she appeared without the cubs and about 20 yards closer to my left and was at a full charge from the trees. I pulled my bear spray out at that time, yelled a number of times so she was aware I was human, and slowly backed away.
Again it would be common behavior for a sow to retreat to her cubs, stop and smell for my scent, woof, snap her jaws, or change direction and run past me. Attacks are very rare.
A Grizzly can run up to 40mph. When I saw her charge from the trees, she was closer than before, so approximately 50-60 yards. At full speed, she could be on me in as little as just 3 seconds.
Bear spray has proven to be more affective than a pistol at stopping a charge, so my first instinct was to pull the bear spray. Unfortunately, she did not behave as 99% of bears in that situation do, and she continued her full charge attack. So I had about 3 seconds to notice the charge, pull bear spray from its holster, remove the safety clip, point and assess the situation.
No time for plan B and pull a heavy, long barreled and scoped hunting pistol from a shoulder holster, cock the hammer, locate her within the scope and somehow expect accurate hits on a charging bear.
The thought never crossed my mind to even make that attempt because I knew there just was no time to do so.
I used bear spray when I thought she was at about the max distance my spray would reach, and kept the trigger down until she burst through the fog and was literally on me. At that time I went to the ground and was protecting the back of my neck a face from the claws and teeth.
At no time during that first attack, did I feel comfortable exposing my neck or face or losing the position I was in, in order to attempt to pull the pistol, turn to face the attack and shoot. In my opinion, it would have certainly invited a frontal assault on my face throat and soft stomach area. Even reaching for the pistol would have exposed the back of my neck and spine, or reduced the stability of my position and possible allowed the bear to roll me over and gain a frontal assault.
During the entire attack, I used every ounce of strength and determination I had to keep my face down, hands and forearms protecting the back of my neck, elbows locked down protecting the sides of my face, and knees and legs tucked under me to lock along my elbows and protect from as many angles as possible with minimal exposure of my body. Only one bite on my right side along the ribs and just above my hip, rolled me to the side for a split second where I viewed the side of the bears face, but I was instantly back in my almost a “ball” position before she could get to me.
Then the first attack was over and she was gone…
Within a few seconds, I was on my feet and immediately headed down the trail, in the opposite direction of where I had last seen her cubs and where she charged from. I wanted nothing more than to put distance between us. I jogged for a few hundred yards and then alternated between a fast hike and a jog as the terrain would allow.
For some reason I really can’t explain, that was the only morning in my life that I had grabbed a second can of bear spray and hooked to my backpack before leaving the truck.
As a hiked, I shoved the 2/3 empty can into my pants pocket and grabbed the second full can to carry in my hand. I think it just made me feel better even though I was quite sure the bear was now headed in the opposite direction with her cubs and I would never cross paths with her again.
Five minutes later as I neared the first stream crossing, the second attack occurred. I was regularly glancing over my shoulder as I hiked and jogged, but I had no warning of the second attack. Likely a combination of the noise from the adjacent stream and the reduced hearing in my right ear didn’t help the situation. I heard something, turned and she was on me.
I don’t really remember if I fell to the ground or was knocked to the ground, or maybe a combination of the two. There was zero time to use bear spray or a pistol. I hit the ground on my face and immediately went to the defensive position to protect myself from the attack and biting, which was more intense than the first time. Her bites were deeper and would lift me off the ground when she pulled back, and then smashed me back into the dirt and squashed and almost hugged or pinned me. A very eerie and helpless feeling.
Then one more aggressive bite went deep into my forearm and I heard and felt the crunch of bone, tearing of tendons, and damaged nerves. My hand and fingers were completely useless. A claw ripping along the right side of my head also opened a 5″ gash to the skull, filling my eyes with blood. I could do nothing but hold my defensive position as still and quiet as possible and hope she got off my back and left. Again, I never considered turning to use bear spray or the pistol and expose myself to likely further and much more severe injuries.
A minute later, I was left alone and all was quiet. It was then I think, I feared a third attack would be the end of me and I would go out fighting. While still on the ground, I slowly reached under my chest to extract the pistol without making any sound or movement, in case she was still nearby and watching me. The holster and pistol were gone. They had been ripped off me during that second attack.
Desperate for that pistol, I wiped the blood from one eye, looked out under one arm and spotted the holster a few feet away. No bear in sight, I got to my knees pulled the pistol and cocked the hammer. If she had returned, I likely would have been shooting for my life.
Had I shot and only wounded the bear, would she have been more aggressive and attacked with more ferocity or for a longer period of time, doing more damage?
If she was shot and wounded, would her sounds have called the cubs in to us, now putting me in the position of her not leaving the attack scene?
Had I a do-over, I may have drawn both the pistol and the bear spray. However, with the speed at which the situation unfolded, the outcome may have been worse. Had I been lucky enough to get off a shot, it certainly may not have been lethal and could have led to a wounded and irate bear.
I am going to look into a lightweight, short barreled revolver in a 44mag, that will be accessible quickly from my hip. Although one more level of safety in a future incident, it still may not have made any difference in this situation.
Hey all- We posted the video that you may have watched on Facebook or other sources. It is pretty graphic, so be advised! Thanks again for all the support.
This video is copyrighted, please contact email@example.com for use or licensing.
Site name and News Updates-
Some of you may be wondering about the site URL, “thetoddorr.” Well, funny story is that Todd has been jokingly called “the Todd” by friends for years. More on that later. And toddorr.com was used when we got a request to put an update page together, so just ran with thetoddorr.com! Anyway, it appears I have been in the news. Since most of them did not ask for permission to run his video, I guess that is what happens when you post a video like on Facebook and it goes viral! Oops. Here are some of the news stories:
And the list goes on. Many of you that represent the news have asked for interviews, and Todd will be reaching out to those of you that have contacted him soon. If you have an interview request, please submit it via the contact form. Please forgive his inability to reply, the last few days have been hectic and painful.
Thanks for reading and following!
Todd Orr. 10/5/16.
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 Docs commentary as it progressed.
While being wheeled down the hallway, I was threatened with having to listen to music from the Indigo Girls during my surgery. Luckily they pulled up a playlist of old school 70s and 80s classics.
It was a fantastic few hours to watch the entire surgery unfold and interact with the team. What a great Doctor and person as well. He was also the doc behind my shoulder surgery after a snowmobile accident years ago. And happy to see another buddy of mine was part of the surgical team as well.
Unfortunately, things were a bit worse than expected once I was opened up. 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 bears canine tooth. It was very deep but luckily minimal tendon and nerve damage as the tooth had somehow slipped between them.
I’m now put back together but I swear the doc had carved his initials with all the incisions and following stitches. He chuckled the comment off but we will see in time. 🙂
So a late evening at the hospital and sleepless night of pain and pressure, but i was finally able to sleep a hour or two this morning. Trying to avoid the pain meds if possible but downing the antibiotics as prescribed. Nothing like a mouth full of teeth and carnage ripping into you. Please no infection!!!
I hope everyone enjoys their day!
Okay, so maybe Todd is not ready to step up to the plate to replace the guy on the commercial as some of you may suggest, but he is certainly an interesting guy. I should know, I’ve been following him around all my life. My name is Mike Seeklander and Todd is my older cousin, and we have grown up together. I wanted to wrote a short post and say some things that Todd may not, as we document the events following his horrific attack.
So, the first thing you must know is that Todd has been doing interesting and adventure filled stuff for a long, long time! Maybe some would guess that he is a random guy that was dealt a blow by fate and was attacked by a bear in the woods, but truth be told Todd has spent so much time in the woods he has had hundreds of bear encounters, and several other close calls (I will let him write about that). Let’s just say that one of them was so close he had to bring his pants to his mother to get her help sewing them from the rip left by a bear claw while I believe he was sitting in a tree.
Extreme sports? Yep, Todd has that one covered as well. As young boys probably around the ages of 10 I can remembers following cousin Todd into random caves on their Montana property looking for bones and indian artifacts. Oh, and if I remember correctly, we were on the top of a large ridge-line that was edged by a steep cliff. Todd (and his younger brother Tim’s) solution to getting down? I think we jumped to a tree and climbed down. I guess non of us thought about the 80 foot drop if we missed the tree.
If you check out Todd Facebook you will likely find the pictures of him on a snowmobile, riding in a manner that is beyond what I would say is your normal daily ride. To put it bluntly, I guess he has probably caught almost as much air as the local pilots. It’s just who Todd is! He is, and always has been an adventurer who likes to have fun and push things to the limit.
And for you California types, Todd has long been into surfing, just like you. And there aren’t any oceans in Montana, so he and his buds have long been pulling full length surfboards behind their boats. For those of you that wake surf, this is different, think waterboarding but on a surfboard behind a tow rope! Years ago Todd created a group called the Montana Surf Riders, and at that time (although we could be wrong), we didnt know of anyone else surfing like that.
And you dirt bike riders out there would totally dig the guy. Let me put it this way, some of the trails he has ridden on his Honda XR 250 and 400 are probably not suitable for a mountain goat. Seriously, I wouldn’t attempt to hike some of the stuff he has ridden in his hundreds of hours in the woods. Todd’s work vehicle for part of the year is his bike, which he uses to scout trails for the forest service contract crews he manages.
Basically Todd is any 40 year olds hero, living his life exactly as he wants and doing what Todd does. He’s an angler, hunter, conservationist, and a great all around guy. As most of you know, he is tough as nails and this is coming from someone who doesn’t give that compliment likely. He is also a great human being, one that his brother and other cousins look up to. Everyone wants to be a bit more like Todd.
And even though he may not get the official title, to me he is probably the most interesting man in the world. We are incredibly thankful he is safe and pray he recovers well, as he has a tough road ahead. As I write this he is resting from a complicated surgery (he will post about it) that discovered “two tendons ripped off at the muscle” and more damage than expected.
Please keep him in your prayers.
Todd Orr. 10/4/16
Good morning everyone.
Thank you so much for all your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement and of course the onslaught of creative and humorous responses I have seen going around in light of my bear incident. :)). Keep them coming.
I couldn’t stop laughing at some of the Chuck Norris comments and jokes that have arisen.
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. 🙂
I am a morning person so i have been up a few hours already.
I’m in high spirits and able to get around quite well, but still damn sore.
I noticed a lot more bruising last night on my upper body.
That damn bear ran me through the wrecking machine.
My arms are four different colors top to bottom.
Unfortunately, the Docs assessment yesterday verified some nerve and tendon damage in my left arm.
Surgery scheduled for this afternoon so wish me luck.
Hopefully I can get beyond this soon and back in the knife shop.
It appears that my website was down due to a butt-load of traffic, but should be back up and running now.
I apologize for the inconvenience.
Check it out at www.skybladeknives.com
Thanks again to all you kind people out there!
Be smart in the woods…