Fred Bear Archery

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Fred Bear - The Legend

Fred Bear brought bowhunting to national exposure and participation. Rarely has one man meant so much to the development of an industry. Fred Bear passed away almost 15 years ago, however his legacy in the archery industry will not be forgotten.

Fred was born in Waynesboro, PA, March 5, 1902. A farm boy, he could have followed his father and become a farmer in the comfortable confines of the Cumberland Valley. But he was stimulated by an innovative, ambitious nature.

At 21, Bear turned his back on a childhood of farming, hunting and trapping, and journeyed to Detroit to explore new opportunities. There he worked as a patternmaker and later ran an advertising silkscreen plant for the automotive trade.

In 1927, a chance visit to the Adams Theater in Detroit changed the course of Fred's life and the sport of archery. There, Fred saw a film titled "Alaskan Adventures" which depicted the bowhunting exploits of Art Young.

"Alaskan Adventures" captivated Bear and when he finally met Art Young, his life-long bowhunting quest began in earnest. He and Young huddled in Bear's basement workshop and there the experienced archer taught the novice how to make bows, arrows, and bowstrings.

Then, at the height of the Great Depression in 1933, Bear and another acquaintance named Charles Piper pooled $600 and started Bear Products Company. They specialized in silkscreen advertising banners and fliers for Chrysler automobile dealers. However, in one corner of the shop, Bear handcrafted archery equipment for a growing circle of friends who appreciated the craftsmanship his patternmaker's training brought to the art of the bowyer. In just six years, Bear's archery business expanded to the point it could support him. The two men then dissolved the joint partnership and Bear launched Bear Archery Company.

To make a living building bows, Bear first had to expand the market for his products. He was instrumental in promoting a bowhunting season in Michigan (1936). He also tackled target archery, winning Michigan's state championship in 1934, 1937 and 1939. In those days, Bear traveled the sports show circuit, demonstrating his instinctive shooting skills at exhibitions in major urban areas.

In 1942, Bear and Detroit Free Press editor Jack Van Coevering journeyed to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to make a bowhunting film. It was the first of many films to be produced over the years to follow. Films gave Bear something to show sportsman's groups to interest them in hunting with a bow. Bear used outdoor magazines, films and specialty shops to promote archery sales and seasons. His trademark was a felt Borsalino hat that he wore for the rest of his life.

Bear moved his archery plant to Grayling, MI, in 1947. For two decades, Bear traveled on bowhunting and filmmaking expeditions throughout the world. One of his African trips included radio and television personality Arthur Godfrey. During this trip, Bear downed a bull elephant and Godfrey recounted the story on his international radio broadcast. This, coupled with an article in Life Magazine, significantly enhanced Bear's international fame.

Bear remained active in designing products and promoting the sport he loved until his death in 1988 at 86 years of age. Truly an icon in archery, Fred Bear will forever be remembered in the archery industry and in the hearts and souls of many people for generations to come.

Fred Bear Teams with the Strongest Brands in Archery

Fred Bear quality and craftsmanship can be found in every Fred Bear bow, as well as each bow bearing the Realtree®, Buckmasters® or Mossy Oak® brand logo. Each bow meets the performance standards required to be included under the Fred Bear brand. Combined with a complete commitment to delivering the finest quality bows made in America, Fred Bear bows also share mutual design standards for the Realtree, Buckmasters and Mossy Oak brands too. Exceptional bows for exceptional hunters, Fred Bear - Live The Great Outdoors.
 

 

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