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.
Davy Crockett was a celebrated 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician; usually referred to as "King of the Wild Frontier". He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the age of 49 at the Battle of the Alamo.
Crockett passed through Arkansas on his way from Tennessee to Texas in 1835.
While at a Little Rock (Pulaski County) banquet given in his honor, he reportedly stated, "If I could rest anywhere it would be in Arkansas, where the men are of the real half-horse, half-alligator breed such as grow nowhere else on the face of the universal earth but just around the backbone of North America."
Robert Crockett, one of Davy Crockett's grandsons, became the first mayor of Stuttgart (Arkansas County) after the town incorporated in 1889. The village of Crockett's Bluff (Arkansas County) was named in honor of Robert Crockett.