Fred Bear

Fred Bear was born in the town of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Although he didn't start bow hunting until he was 29 and did not master the skill for many years, he is widely regarded as a pioneer in the bow-hunting community. Bear was a world traveler, film producer, and the founder of Bear Archery, an outdoor company that still exists.

When chatting in an outdoor setting the legendary Fred Bear, one of the worlds greatest archers and developer of archery equipment, always has 2 things in operation - his corn cob pipe and his constantly searching eyes of the hunter. Bear has held at least four different archery records at one time.

(Borrowed from Wikipedia)
In 1947, Bear and his wife moved to Grayling, Michigan, where they lived in a tent along a river to keep their personal expenses down while trying to make a go of their bow business. Even as late as 1961, it was difficult making ends meet for Bear. The following years proved prosperous however, as more states permitted bow hunting and the sport's growth steadily increased.

Bear's interest in bowhunting was stimulated by another legend, Art Young of the Pope & Young Club, whom Bear met in Michigan in the late 1920s and often called his hero. Bear's first bowhunting trophy was a Michigan whitetail taken in 1935. In the ensuing years, he traveled the world with his bow and appeared before thousands of bowhunters promoting and teaching the sport. His television debut was made on Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, with later appearances on The American Sportsman and The Tonight Show. He also produced several films of bowhunting around the world.

Bear sold controlling interest in his company in 1968, but continued on with the title of chairman. In 1978, following a strike and continuing labor problems, the Bear Archery manufacturing operation was relocated to Gainesville, Florida.

Fred Bear Museum
The Fred Bear Museum originated in Grayling, Michigan in 1967. Eventually the museum's collection represented the largest privately held collection of archery artifacts in the world. At first the museum remained behind in Grayling, but in 1985 it too was moved to Gainesville, where it found a home in the Bear Archery plant between Archer Road and Williston Road, just off of I-75. That museum closed in 2003, and the collections were sold to the Bass Pro Shops chain.[5]

Since then, the Fred Bear Museum was displayed at the headquarters store of Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri. Exhibits included the story of Fred Bear and bowhunting history, life-size animal mounts, bowhunting artifacts, some of his trophies and memorabilia, and historical bows and arrows used or built by Fred Bear and his company.[6] The exhibit was temporarily closed due to the construction of an aquarium in the same building. Artifacts from the Fred Bear Museum have now been incorporated into the Archery Hall of Fame and Museum on the upper floor of the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World.[7]

Fred Bear was also the first president of Michigan's oldest archery club, Detroit Archers. A small collection of his memorabilia is located in the club house. The most prized piece is that of one of his polar bear skins, shot with an arrow. In 2006, Detroit Archers was broken into and the skin was stolen. The case is still open and no suspects or evidence has been found as to the skin's whereabouts.

Bear has been immortalized in the song "Fred Bear" from the album Spirit of the Wild by hard rock musician Ted Nugent, who was Bear's friend. Fred Bear was also a popular contributing author for magazines such as Outdoor Life and Archery Magazine.

More on Fred Bear:

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