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Boy Shoots Grizzly in Self Defense

November 14, 2002

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KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) _ A father’s advice paid off when a 15-year-old Eagle Scout obediently grabbed a firearm before going to look for his dog and ended up shooting a charging grizzly bear behind the family chicken coop.

Daniel Pickar said he thought his dog Bessie was chasing varmints into the dark when he grabbed his .20-gauge shotgun and followed.

As he rounded the corner of the shed, Bessie was running back toward him with a large bear not far behind.

``I just saw a big, furry thing running at me, so I shot twice,″ said Pickar, who fired from about 20 yards. ``After I shot, it kind of grunted and that was the only indication that I might have hit it.

``I’ve never been more scared in my life.″

Wildlife officials said the shooting was perfectly justified.

``As much as we regret the loss of a bear, we’re glad we’re not grieving the loss of a 15-year-old boy,″ said County Attorney Tom Esch, who helped investigate the Oct. 27 shooting.

Grizzly bears are on the Endangered Species List, making it illegal to shoot them except in self defense.

In the 12 years they’ve lived at the foot of the Swan Mountain Range, the Pickars have had continuous conflicts with skunks, foxes, weasels, mountain lions and black bears.

But grizzlies are rare.

Still, Daniel’s father instructed his sons to carry a firearm when chasing after their 12-year-old mutt.

``It paid off, or I might not be standing here telling you about this,″ Daniel said.

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