HOONAN, ALASKA — An 11-year-old boy, who knows his way around a rifle, is credited with saving a fishing party when a brown bear began charging towards them while out in the woods. Two in the party were armed while the others weren’t. The boy, Elliot Clark, was one of those armed. His father, Lucas Clark, gave an account of what happened that day.
From Juneau Empire;
“There was four of them in a line … my son was third,” Clark said. “The bear came down the trail at them, fella in the front, who was his uncle, the bear was on him so quickly that he didn’t have time to take his rifle off his shoulder.”
The bear ran through the first two men, who were pushed to the side of the trail, leaving Elliot Clark in front of his unarmed cousin. The boy raised his pump action shotgun and shot the sow, hitting it with birdshot, which is often used just to scare bears off, Lucas Clark said.
“His first shot was a light load of birdshot. That first shot hit him in the shoulder and did absolutely nothing. The next shot hit him in the nose and traveled down through the neck,” Lucas Clark said.
The third shot went into the bear’s shoulder and his back, dropping it to the ground. The bear was so close when Elliot hit it with his third shot, there were powder burns on the bear’s mouth. Still alive, the bear then slid by Elliot’s feet.
“As the bear slid past him and came to a stop, he put a kill shot it him,” Lucas Clark said.
With lots of shooting practice, Elliot knew just what to do in this dangerous situation. Some will say that a boy this young shouldn’t be around guns, but we disagree. Elliot is a fine example of a safe-handling minor with firearms.
Just the day before, Elliot still had a plug in his shotgun, meaning his gun only carried three rounds: the “topround” of birdshot and two slugs. He had taken the plug out the day before, Lucas Clark said, after calling his father to ask permission to do so.
This respect for firearms, as well as for his father, makes this young man a person who has learned the right way to do things. This training and preparedness likely saved lives that day, and there’s nothing wrong with that.