Fred Bear: Details You May well Not Know

Details You May well Not Know About The Legendary Bowhunter

March 5th, 2017 was Fred Bear’s 116th birthday. While he died 30 years ago this spring, his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of his pals, fans, and a new generation of archers and bowhunters who have come to recognize his lasting influence and the quite a few contributions he created to our sport.

I initial met “Papa Bear” in 1972 at the Pope and Young Club’s biennial convention in Denver. I had the pleasure of operating with Fred and other P&ampY Board members on the Club’s initial record book, published in 1975 (thanks to the generous monetary contribution Fred created to spend for printing charges). Beginning later in the 1970s, I saw him and his bowhunting sidekick, Bob Munger, every June at the Anderson Archery International Bowhunting Clinic. These clinics drew thousands to Grand Ledge, Michigan, each Father’s Day weekend, There Fred and the Who’s Who of Bowhunting mingled with the gathered throngs and admirers, presenting valuable how-to seminars. Our trails also crossed exactly where other bowhunters gathered from Clinton, Indiana, to yearly archery market trade shows in Chicago or elsewhere, and at successive Pope and Young conventions.


I initial met Fred Bear at the 1972 Denver Pope and Young Club Convention. That is future astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander Joe Engle on my proper. To my left is Tink Nathan, who was a BOWHUNTER Magazine columnist at the time.

The year ahead of his death, Fred was the guest of honor and featured speaker at P&ampY’s 1987 Tulsa Convention. While in failing overall health and towing a wheeled oxygen tank (which he joked contained peppermint schnapps), he graciously posed for numerous photographs and signed a myriad of autographs, smiling and signing books and photographs. I saw him early the following morning at the Tulsa Airport, not understanding when we stated goodbye it would be the final time I’d ever see him. We spoke once again by phone the week ahead of his death as I was preparing to attend the P&ampY Board of Directors’ annual meeting in Boise.  I was about to leave for the airport when the sad get in touch with came that a correct legend and pal had passed away.

Due to the fact then, I’ve written various columns, articles, and individual tributes about a man quite a few think deserved the title of “The Greatest Bowhunter of Them All,” who for decades represented and popularized archery and bowhunting for millions. Amongst the loyal followers of the lanky man in the Borsalino hat, no a single I know would disagree.

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Back in the 1970s and 1980s, I in no way hunted northern Michigan without having dropping by the Bear Museum in Grayling. It was usually a treat when Papa Bear stepped out of his workplace and took time to chat.

Following are a quantity of miscellaneous details about Fred Bear and his lifetime efforts to show other people the challenges, excitement, and rewards that shooting a bow and arrow delivers:

*Fred was born in a Pennsylvania farm home in the course of a Cumberland Valley blizzard on March five, 1902, the second of 3 Bear young children. His father, Harry Bear, took Fred on his initial deer hunt close to their farm in 1913. Fred killed his initial whitetail with a rifle the following season.

*Shortly soon after his 21st birthday, Fred moved to Detroit exactly where he worked as a pattern maker for the Packard Motor Vehicle Business.

*In 1927, Fred saw Art Young’s bowhunting function film, “Alaskan Adventures,” in Detroit’s Adams Theatre. It inspired him, sparking an interest in shooting bows and arrows. He later met and befriended Art Young. The two shot with each other and constructed archery gear in Fred’s basement. Fred’s initial bowhunted  in 1929.

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This Fred Bear drawing by artist Chuck Denault appeared in my 1992 book, My Spot. It is a single of my favourite sketches of Papa Bear.

*Fred Bear and Charles Piper founded Bear Items Business in1933, the exact same year Fred helped to kind the Detroit Archery Club. A year later, Fred won the Michigan State Target Archery Championship. In 1935, he arrowed his initial deer.

*NOTE: Fred Bear shot bows left-handed, regardless of the truth he was naturally proper-handed. A farm accident had expense young Fred element of a finger on his proper hand. That injury prevented him from drawing the bowstring and anchoring with his proper hand’s fingers, so he switched to shooting “lefty.”

*U.S. patents granted to Fred Bear incorporated the modern day shooting glove (1937), fiberglass bow backing (1946), and bow quivers (1946). In 1947 the Bear Archery manufacturing plant opened in Grayling, Michigan. The Fred Bear Museum opened in Grayling 20 years later in 1967.

*Fred Bear firsts contain his initial bowhunting film (1942), designing his initial take-down recurve (1943), publication of his initial book, “The Archer’s Bible” (1968), release of his “Secrets of Hunting” LP record with Curt Gowdy (1968), and induction into the initial Archery Hall of Fame class (1972).

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Fred Bear was inducted into the Archery Hall of Fame in 1972, along with other bowhunting legends such as Ben Pearson. This is a photo of their biographical show in the AHOF Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri.

*The Fred Bear Sports Club was announced in 1970 with Television stars, astronauts, and leading US archers its initial members. In 1972 the Fred Bear Sports Club was opened to the public. By 1981 the Club boasted members in each US state and 44 foreign nations. In time its all round membership would exceed 50,000.

*Amongst Papa Bear’s bowhunting Pope and Young Club Globe Records had been a British Columbia Stone sheep (1957), and an Alaskan brown bear (1960).

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Fred Bear gave me this signed photo the year ahead of his death in 1988. It is hung in my dwelling workplace considering the fact that then, a continual reminder of the man I admired considering the fact that our initial meeting in 1972. Its individual message reflects vintage Bear modesty and wit.

*Bear Archery’s historic manufacturing milestones contain the Bear Grizzly bow (1949) the initial Kodiak recurves (1954) Bear Razordhead hunting heads (1956) the Fox line of strong fiberglass bows (1961) Bear snap-on bow quivers (1963) the 48-inch Super Magnum hunting bow (1967) Converta-Point arrows (1968) Fred Bear Take-Down with Futurewood bow deal with (1970) magnesium alloy deal with Fred Bear Take-Down bows (1971) Bear bow production tops 360,000 in a single year (1976) Bear Super Razorheads (1978) the Fred Bear Signature bow (1980) Bear stainless steel Razorheads (1981) and “the world’s quickest bow,” the Delta-V (1981).

*Bear Archery moved its manufacturing facility from Grayling, Michigan, to Gainesville, Florida (1978) and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1983.  Fred Bear died at Gainesville’s Shands Hosptial on April 27, 1988. His cremated remains had been scattered along the South Branch of the Au Sable River close to Grayling exactly where Fred loved to devote spare time flyfishing.

Sponsored by:  The Archery Hall of Fame

For much more please go to: Thoughts and Strategies with M.R. James

Fred Bear Interview Video

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