Disabled Army Veteran Survives Violent Grizzly Attack

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Dana Abizaid Contributor
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A disabled Army veteran played dead while clutching a can of bear spray last Sunday to survive a violent grizzly attack in Wyoming, FOX26 reported.

The attack happened when Shayne Patrick Burke, 35, was trying to photograph a Great Grey Owl at Grand Teton National Park’s Signal Mountain, according to FOX26.

“It was the most violent thing I have ever experienced,” Burke said in an Instagram post describing the encounter. “I’ve experienced being shot at, mortared and IED explosions. I am a disabled Veteran in the Army reserve.” (RELATED: Pennsylvania Woman Suffers Severe Injury After Bear Attack, Recounts Horrifying Ordeal From Hospital Bed)

While trying to get back to the parking lot quickly after setting out on his own to find a Great Grey Owl, Burke said, “I had a really uncomfortable feeling. I was breaking branches, singing and talking to myself aloud” to ward off bears.

After coming up a slope, Burke noticed a bear cub running up a hill in front of him and that since he “knew this wasn’t good,” unholstered his bear spray.  Moments later, the cub’s mother was charging at him.

“When she pounced, I opted to turn and give her my back,” Burke wrote in the post. “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.”

Burke said the bear, who bit him on the shoulder, legs, and buttocks, then slammed him on the ground before standing on his back and going for a “kill bite” on his neck.

“I still had my hands interlocked and my arms protecting my carotid arteries,” he wrote. “I never let go of the bear spray can. 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.”

Burke said after the bear ran off, he improvised tourniquets for his legs and was able to make it back to his wife before being airlifted to a local hospital where he was expected to make a full recovery.

“What happened up on Signal Mountain was a case of wrong place wrong time,” Burke, who said he loves wildlife and urged park rangers not to harm the bear, wrote.