Army veteran seriously injured by grizzly bear protecting her cub at Grand Teton National Park

Shayne Patrick Burke wrote that at one point he feared he would die as he waited for help. “I recorded a short video telling my people that I loved them,” he said in his Instagram post

A Massachusetts man was seriously injured in a bear attack at Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park by a mother grizzly protecting her cub.

The man, identified by the National Park Service as Shayne Patrick Burke, was hiking Sunday in the area of Signal Mountain Summit Road when he had a “surprise encounter” with two grizzly bears, the park said in a news release.

Grand Teton National Park rangers and Teton County Search and Rescue responded and provided emergency medical care to Burke before he was transported to the hospital, where he is recovering.

Burke, an Army veteran and photographer, recounted his near-death experience in an Instagram post on Thursday, saying it was “the most violent thing I have ever experienced.”

“I’ve experienced being shot at, mortared and IED explosions. I am a disabled Veteran in the Army reserve,” he wrote, sharing photos of his gruesome injuries and recovery in the hospital.

Burke said he told his wife that he wanted to go photograph great grey owls in the woods and that he would meet her in the park’s parking lot in an hour.

When he realized he had been gone for more than an hour, Burke said he “decided to B-line it back to the car using my GPS in my phone” because he knew his wife would start to worry.

“Due to poor service I could only see the parked identification on the gps and my current location. I started to walk fast to that location,” he said. “I had a really uncomfortable feeling. I was breaking branches, singing and talking to myself aloud. These are something’s that can help prevent a ‘surprise encounter’ with a brown bear.”

As Burke made his way back to the parking lot, he said he saw a bear cub running up a hill about 70 yards in front of him.

He said he knew seeing the cub “wasn’t good” and took out his bear spray. Before he could do anything, the mother bear was charging at him. Burke said he tried to stand his ground by shouting and attempting to deploy the spray but the bear was already on him.

“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,” he wrote.

The first bite and slash was to his back and right shoulder.

“I screamed,” he said. “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. The final time I screamed again. This unfortunately but fortunately turned her attention to my head. I believe she went in for a kill bite on my neck. I still had my hands interlocked and my arms protecting my carotid arteries.”

Burke said he kept the bear spray can in his hands during the attack and as the bear tried to bite his neck, she “simultaneously bit the bear spray can and it exploded in her mouth” causing the bear to flee.

“This is what saved my life from the initial attack,” he said. “I heard her run away, I looked up and instantly ran in the opposite direction up a hill.”

Burke said he tried to call his wife but it wouldn’t go through so he sent her a text saying, “attacked.” His wife was able to call Burke, who had started to use his gear to apply improvised tourniquets to slow the bleeding from his wounded legs.

He then called 911 and stayed on the phone so they could triangulate his location.

Burke wrote that at one point he feared he would die as he waited for help. “I recorded a short video telling my people that I loved them,” he said in his Instagram post.

Eventually, help did arrive and he was transported to the hospital, where he underwent surgery.

Despite the horrifying attack, the former Army reservist said he told park rangers not to kill the bear.“I love and respect wildlife. Anyone who knows me, knows this about me,” he said.

Park officials said the bear will not be killed or captured.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com. More from NBC News:

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