11-Year-Old Saves Family by Shooting Charging Brown Bear

'What a shot. What bravery.'

Getty Images
• July 7, 2017 1:39 pm


11-year-old Elliot Clark used his shotgun to save himself and three family members from a charging brown bear during a fishing trip in Alaska last month.

Elliot's father said it was his son's quick action that saved the group of fishers.

"There was four of them in a line…My son was third," Lucas Clark, Elliot's father, told the Juneau 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."

The bear charged through Elliot's uncle and great uncle and was headed toward his unarmed cousin when Elliot took his first shot. That shot hit the bear in the shoulder but had little effect. Elliot's second shot was to the bear's face. The third hit its back and caused the bear to fall to the ground. The fourth shot killed the bear and ended the threat to the group.

His heroic actions have earned Elliot praise across the internet as well as back home in Alaska.

"Wow. Just wow. The day before this walk to the fishing hole, Elliot changed out the out-of-season birdshot in his firearm—a reminder lesson to be prepared. So, so glad he did that," Alaska state senator Shelley Hughes said of the incident on Facebook. "What a shot. What bravery."

Elliot's father told the Juneau Empire he believes his family's prayer for the safety of their children made the difference in helping him survive the encounter with a deadly brown bear.

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

Published under: Alaska, Guns