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11-year-old boy armed with shotgun saves fishing party from charging bear

Malene Thyssen/WikiMedia
July 05, 2017

An armed 11-year-old boy saved a fishing party from a charging brown bear on June 18, Alaska State Troopers said, according to the Juneau Empire.

Elliot Clark, 11, was walking through the woods near Game Creek on his way to a fishing hole on June 18 with his uncle, Craig Stoltzfus; Stoltzfus’ father, a cousin and three dogs, when a brown bear charged the fishing party.

Clark and Stoltzfuz were the only ones armed at the time the bear charged the group.

Elliot’s father, Lucas Clark, told the Juneau Empire that Elliot was third in line when the bear charged at the group.

“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 pushed through the first two on line and made its way toward Elliot and his unarmed cousin. However, Elliot aimed his shotgun and fired at the bear.

“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,” Clark said.

The third shot hit the bear in the shoulder and back, causing it to drop to the ground and slide at Elliot Clark’s feet. Two more shots were put into the bear to make sure it was killed.

Alaska Senator Shelley Hughes posted photos of the incident on her Facebook page.

Clark said not putting a sling on his son’s shotgun may have been what saved his life.

“He was carrying it in his hands rather than on his shoulder,” he said. “That was the problem with the other ones; when the bear came at his uncle, he had his rifle on his shoulder and the bear was very close, so he couldn’t get it off in time.”

One day before the incident, Elliot pulled a plug out of his shotgun, allowing him to hold more than three rounds, according to the report.