May 13, 2022
Written by Pearson Bonnett, Assistant Director of Lodge Operations
Overlooking Liberty University’s campus from the top of Liberty Mountain, the Barrick-Falwell Lodge hides an avid outdoorsman’s stories of courageous expeditions and frightful encounters. These awe-inspiring tales are concealed in the numerous taxidermies displayed on the walls of the Lodge. Recently, I had the privilege to hear some of the stories from a living legend, Dr. Alan Barrick.
To begin, who is Dr. Alan Barrick? A close friend to Jerry Falwell Sr., Dr. Barrick is a longtime supporter of Liberty’s mission and has donated a large portion of his hunting collection to the university. Dr. Barrick served in the Air Force as a dentist for several years before transitioning his career to a clinic. During this time, he made trips all over the world to hunt some of the world’s most dangerous animals. “Fair chase,” the type of hunting Dr. Barrick preferred, describes hunting big game animals where the hunter does not have an unfair advantage over the animal.
When Dr. Barrick starts a story with “that was a life-or-death situation,” you know things are about to get thrilling. He was hunting in the Cassiar Mountains in Northern British Columbia. Like many of his hunting expeditions, Dr. Barrick had a guide to help him navigate the wilderness. The two men spotted a bear in an open area surrounded by evergreen trees, sleeping beside a moose it had just slain. As Dr. Barrick and his guide approached to a distance of about 75 yards, the bear jumped up. Dr. Barrick took a shot that broke the bear’s right front leg, but as the doctor said, “that just irritated him.” His guide also took a shot but then promptly disappeared from Dr. Barrick’s side.
At this point, the bear jumped into some nearby brush. Dr. Barrick took another shot, which, unfortunately, connected with a branch. He then looked down to check his rifle, and when he glanced back up, the bear had begun to charge directly at him. Knowing he had no chance to outrun this massive grizzly, Dr. Barrick stood his ground, waiting for the right moment to strike. When the bear “hit the ground” 40 yards out, he took the shot. The beast stumbled to the ground as the bullet pierced his chest. Dr. Barrick took a deep breath and turned around to find his guide 100 yards away in some brush! Had Dr. Barrick not found his target, he would not be here to tell the tale. This exact animal can now be found upstairs in the Barrick-Falwell Lodge.
Just one of many stories from my interview with Dr. Barrick, this was one of my personal favorites. Imagining a grizzly charge at you is frightening enough, but managing to keep your cool enough to hit a 40-yard shot requires a different level of courage. Dr. Alan Barrick is inspirational, both from his adventures but also his desire to support Liberty University’s mission to train champions for Christ.