Who would have ever known how entertained and challenged a man could be with just a stick and string? Today, on his birthday, I am honoring a true American legend. Fred Bear, the godfather of bow hunting, would be 111 years old today. Thanks to Fred Bear, the sport of bow hunting is world renowned.
From his signature hat and flannel shirt, to his re-curve bow, Fred Bear is by far one of the most recognized names in the sport of hunting today. He was more than just an archer. He was a sportsman, teacher, entrepreneur, conservationist, outdoor television producer, and much more. Because of his passion for the sport and his drive to capture the moment on film, his life can be seen in old documentaries that are being converted to the technology we view today. In his films, he was all about telling the story from the beginning to the end of the hunt, and yet, he did so on 8 and 16 mm films. He made the best of what he had to work with and didn’t allow obstacles to get in the way of living out his vision. Being in the outdoor production industry, I have the upmost respect for Fred Bear and his ability to capture his hunts, from the ethical shot on mature game to different camera angles for viewers to see.
Fred Bear is an idol of mine. I can remember as a young boy, reading about him in magazines like Outdoor Life. Fred Bear’s legacy hit home for me back in 2003 when I was in college at The University of Florida. There, in Gainesville, Florida, I had the amazing opportunity to visit his museum before it closed and the Bear Archery manufactory plant. I spent more than four hours in there intrigued by all the mounts, bear skins, and equipment he used.
Did Fred Bear Hunt Strong? There is no doubt he was mentally and physically tough. He did it the hard way, with a re-curve bow at a 65 pound draw weight and wooden arrows. He looked at archery as an adventure and a journey. There were no four-wheelers or all terrain vehicles to pack out harvested game. He relied on his body and horseback to do so. He, still today, holds multiple records in reputable record books for trophy game from big horn sheep to white-tailed deer, and Bear Archery is still around as one of the leading bow manufactures in the hunting industry.
I would have love to work with Fred Bear and teach him the ways of nutrition and training for the hunt. His success in the outdoors was next to none. So, could you imagine what type of an athlete/hunter he would have been if he practiced The Hunt Strong Lifestyle, and not to mention, with the technologies we have today. I can promise you this, when I die and go to heaven, you better believe I will have my stick and string slinging arrows at big game, learning and understanding his ways of bow hunting. Happy Birthday Fred Bear!
“I have always tempered my killing with respect for the game pursued. I see the animal not only as a target, but as a living creature with more freedom than I will ever have. I take that life if I can, with regret as well as joy, and the sure knowledge that nature’s ways of fang and claw or exposure and starvation are a far crueler fate than I bestow.”
“Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.”
“If some of our teenage thrill seekers really want to go out and get a thrill, let them go up into the Northwest and tangle with the Grizzly Bear, the Polar Bear, and the Brown Bear. They will get their kicks, and it will cleanse their souls.”
“If you are not working to protect hunting, then you are working to destroy it.”
“A hunt based only on trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be . . . time to commune with your inner soul as you share the outdoors with the birds, animals, and fish that live there.”
“A downed animal is most certainly the object of a hunting trip, but it becomes an anticlimax when compared to the many other pleasures of the hunt.”
“I feel like one of God’s chosen people, having had the opportunity to share, with many fine companions, these varied and lovely realms of our natural world.”
“When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God.”
“Hardships are quickly forgotten. Intense heat, bitter cold, rain and snow, fatigue,and luckless hunting fade quickly into memories of great fellowship, thoughts of beautiful country, pleasant camps, and happy campfires. ”
“If asked to sketch a mental picture of the typical archer I would be hard put.They seem to come in all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds. Inwardly they seem to have in common a love for the outdoors, a reverence for wildlife, and a close tie with history. There is nothing they seem to enjoy more than telling tall tales around a campfire or talking about archery to others. It would be difficult to find a more interesting group of people.”
“The very remoteness kindles the imagination of the adventurous hunter. From the top of any mountain the challenge extends far and wide, until the mountains meet the sky.”
“Life in the open is one of my finest rewards. I enjoy and become completely immersed in the high challenge and increased opportunity to become for a time a part of nature. Deer hunting is a classical exercise in freedom. It is a return to fundamentals that I instinctively feel are basic and right.”
“I hunt deer because I love the entire process; the preparation, the excitement,and sustained suspense of trying to match my woods lore against the finely honed instincts of these creatures.”
“I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything; it has to do with how the day was spent.”
“The history of the bow and arrow is the history of mankind.”
“Not only in bow-hunting fun and a real challenge, but its good for you. The exercise in the fresh air, the chance to get away from everyday pressures and problems, a return to the basic relationships between man and his environment. “
“When bow-hunting, you find you get closer to the woodland critters. The flora and the forest floor becomes clearer. You look at things more closely. You’re moreaware. You know the limited range of the bow is only 40 yards or so. You must try to outwait that approaching deer. Careful not to make the slightest movement or sound hoping that your scent won’t suddenly waft his way. That’s when you’ll know for sure and appreciate deeply what bow-hunting is all about.”
“There’s more fun in hunting with the handicap of the bow than there is in hunting with the sureness of the gun.