In my three decades of being a hunter, taxidermist and guide, Bear Archery has always been a part of any serious outdoor conversation. Its icon, Fred Bear, has been regaled as a true bowhunting legend without exception. One of my greatest finds was a set of DVDs that contained hours of Fred Bear’s hunting exploits from years past, called The Complete Fred Bear Collection.
Bear Archery sells this set on their website, www.beararcheryproducts.com. The footage of Mr. Bear was shot on old 8mm film footage and some on 16mm film stock. I highly recommend purchasing these as they are a true time capsule of old school bow hunting.
Although all the footage can definitely be defined as ‘classic,’ the Alaskan hunts really portray the pioneering days of hunting in the last frontier and they are a real treat. With some of the very first hunts featuring hunters being flown in to remote locations in Piper Super Cubs, a person can really appreciate seeing the origins of what we all know hunting to be like in Alaska today.
Hunting Kodiak brown bears with a stick and string is something to behold, but when you are watching a hunting legend do it on screen it really leaves an enduring impression.
Some other memorable hunts featuring Mr. Bear are a tiger bow hunt in India, a Kaibab mule deer hunt and many African animals as well. Hunting in Africa was a rich man’s game back in the 1950’s and hardly any prominent westerners hunted there with a bow. Fred Bear made it look easy and he no doubt inspired the African bow hunting industry that is so popular today. It may be because of Fred Bear that it is now easy to find affordable bow hunts all over Africa.
There is no doubt that the legend of Fred Bear will endure as long as there are still bow hunters, but Mr. Bear’s legacy is not simply limited to his hunting exploits. Bear Archery was started by him during the Great Depression. Mr. Bear created and popularized laminated wood and fiberglass recurve bows, and he also created some of the very first four-bladed broadheads. Although Bear Archery has suffered some lulls and technology challenges, they are still producing high quality modern compound archery products. And with the resurgence of primitive hunting, Bear’s recurve bows are turning into a hot item once again.
I would highly recommend purchasing The Complete Fred Bear collection for not only historical purposes, but for the entertainment value as well.