DEWITT, Ark. — A 5-year-old Arkansas County boy killed a black bear Sunday weighing more than 400 pounds.
Tre Merritt, a descendant of Davy Crockett, was hunting with his grandfather Mike Merritt when a black bear happened upon their stand.
"His 10th great-grandfather was Davy Crockett," Mike Merritt said. "And Davy supposedly killed him a bear when he was three. And Tre is five and really killed a bear. I really doubt if Davy killed one when he was three."
Mike Merritt was in the stand at the time but said Tre did it all by himself.
"He came in about 40 to 50 yards," Mike Merritt said of the black bear, "and when he got in the open, I whistled at him and he stopped and I said, 'Shoot Tre.'"
Tre confirmed his grandfather's account.
"I was up in the stand and I seen the bear," Tre Merritt said. "It came from the thicket and it was beside the road and I shot it."
At first, Mike Merritt didn't think Tre had hit the bear with his youth rifle.
"I said, 'Tre, you missed the bear,' " Mike Merritt said. "He said, 'Paw-paw I squeezed the trigger and I didn't close my eyes. I killed him."'
The bear turned out to be 445 pounds — 12 times the weight of Tre. Mike Merritt said tears rolled down his cheeks when he found out his grandson killed the enormous bear.
Tre Merritt's father, Wheatley, said he began teaching his son to shoot when he was just 2 ½ years old, and said Tre killed three deer last year.
Wheatley Merritt said the family plans to get a life-sized mount of the bear, but where they will put has yet to be determined.
DeWitt is in rural eastern Arkansas, close to the Mississippi River bottoms and near Stuttgart, the Duck Hunting Capitol of the World.
Joined: 1 Sep 2004
Yards this season: 0
Home Cafe: Football
Location: Reser Stadium; lamenting the D-Line for 2011
I'm a descendent of Davy Crockett as well, but I've never killed a bear. I prefer to stick with deer, ducks, and squirrels.
This is a story that he'll undoubtedly want to share with his kids someday. Perhaps one of his future descendents will kill a bear in a similar fashion and will look back and cite this story, just as this reporter is citing Crockett's.
IMO, no way should a 5 yr old (much less a 4 year old) be allowed around firearms and encouraged to shoot animals. A 4 or 5 year old child doesn't understand the significance of death. Who the heck knows what pyschological impact being taught to kill will have on a child that young? If you want to teach them to shoot that young, teach them with a BB gun.