Saturday 18 November 2017

Boy (11) saves family by shooting charging bear in Alaska

The Hoonah area, a small city on Alaska’s Chichagof Island (Photo: Google Maps)
The Hoonah area, a small city on Alaska’s Chichagof Island (Photo: Google Maps)

Daniel O'Connor

An 11-year-old boy has saved three of his older family members from a charging brown bear in Alaska, after shooting it several times with a shotgun.

Speaking to the Juneau Empire, Lucas Clark told the story about how his 11-year old son Elliot was on a fishing trip with his uncle, great-uncle and cousin on June 18 when a brown bear emerged from the woods.

It began charging at the group of four, two of which were unarmed, when quick thinking from Elliot saved the day.

"There was four of them in a line … my son was third," Lucas Clark told the Juaneu Empire.

"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."

After pushing the first two men to the side, the bear then approached Elliot who was able raise his pump action shotgun in time to defend himself.

"That first shot hit him in the shoulder and did absolutely nothing. The next shot hit him in the nose and travelled down through the neck," Clark continued.

"The third shot went into the bear’s shoulder and his back, dropping it to the ground. 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 in him."

Elliot’s father explained that he hadn’t yet put a sling on his son’s shotgun, something which he believes enabled Elliot to deal with the moment as quickly as he did.

"He was carrying it in his hands rather than on his shoulder. 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," Lucas Clark said.

The family had been carrying guns for protection after seeing a bear in the area days earlier.

It is the third recorded killing of a bear in the Hoonah area, a small city on Alaska’s Chichagof Island and just 48km away from Alaska’s capital city, Juneau.

Lucas Clark stressed the importance of practicing caution and safety with his family in 'bear country'.

"It’s not just a matter of skill or preparedness. It can happen to anybody and it can go wrongly, especially a kid," Lucas Clark said.

"We pray for our kids every day and in my mind that’s the biggest factor right there."

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