An Alaskan boy earned eternal playground bragging rights in June when he saved himself and three others from a charging brown bear. Juneau Empire reports that 11-year-old Elliot Clark, who has since turned 12, was walking single-file through the woods to a fishing hole with two adult relatives and his cousin when a brown bear charged the group. The two adults, including an uncle who was armed, were pushed to the side of the trail. "The bear was on him so quickly that he didn’t have time to take his rifle off his shoulder," Elliot’s father, Lucas, told the Empire. Elliot, who was next in line and in front of his unarmed cousin, fired multiple shots that brought the bear down at the boy’s feet.
Elliot’s pump-action shotgun was filled with birdshot, which is typically used to scare, not kill, large animals like bears. Lucas, who was not present during the bear attack, says that two lucky conditions contributed to his son’s deadeye reaction. Elliot didn’t have a sling on his gun, so he was carrying it in a manner that allowed him to shoot quickly. And just one day before the incident, Elliot asked his father for permission to remove a plug from his gun that only allowed it three shots. “It’s not just a matter of skill or preparedness. It can happen to anybody and it can go wrongly,” Lucas Clark said. State Sen. Shelley Hughes praised Elliot's "bravery" on her Facebook page, where she also posted bear safety links. (Another Alaskan boy had a recent run in with a bear...in his bedroom).