On a different thread I was asked to write a little about my experience with Fred Bear. I didn't want to hijack that thread so am gonna throw up a few notes here.
I'd gone up to Gordon Bentley's Bear Paw Landing in Wabigoon, Ontario to hunt bears. The year was 1975.
Little did I know that Fred Bear had booked that very week with Gordy.
Fred had a habit of takin the people he worked with on special hunts... I guess it helped keep them motivated. It would me! Anyway there was a whole group that showed up the first morning in camp.
I was out shooting my bow early that morning when I heard a boat coming across the lake... camp was on a peninsula of the lake that could only be accessed by boat.
There were four or five cabins nestled in the birch trees on the high ground above the lake. A long set of steps led down to the boat landing area and I walked over to see who might be arriving.
The boat had already docked and one of the party was coming up the steps. The first thing I saw of that person was this gray fedora felt hat. At that time, Fred Bear was the only one I knew of that wore that type hat. I was floored!
It was a dream come true and we'd spend a week in camp with Fred and his gang.
I don't remember everyone in the group by name. I know Dick Lattimer was one and I think Frank Scott was there too and there were a couple others that I'd read about in Fred's stories. Pretty cool stuff.
One of the things I really wanted to check out was Fred's bow. For years I'd suspected it was different than the production models. In his photos, the bow was always laying against the animal he'd shot with the shelf side not visible.
If you looked real close, you could just make out something different about that area of the bow. I wanted to know how different it was.
Well, I got my chance that first day.
I found Fred to be a very friendly man. He seemed to be always smiling and answered any question he was asked in detail.
When I questioned him about his bow, he brought it out for me to see... AND SHOOT! Wow! I was stoked!!
That's when I saw that what I had suspected about his bow... the shelf was cut so low that it was impossible to put the arrow anywhere but on the knuckle of your bow hand.
I shot the bow quite a while (even though I'm right handed) and asked a multitude of questions.
Stuff like, why he shot off his hand like that, why was the arrow plate padded out so far, why didn't he make them like that for production and finally, was there anyway to get one like it?
My gut's been telling me to get the arrow down on my hand. I can't afford another bow right now, and this isn't helping matters...
-------------------- Genesis 9:3 “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything." Posts: 872 | From: West Central IL | Registered: Dec 2004
| IP: Logged |
He said he shot off his hand for a couple of reasons 1. since he'd started shooting in the self bow days he didn't want to change that part of his shooting.
2. Fred had been bothered by target panic in his younger days. He drew the arrow until the broadhead touched his knuckle assuring full draw. Built in draw check!
3. He felt the bow pointed better.
He built out the arrow plate to accomodate the arrow spine he preferred. In other words he tuned the bow to the arrow, not the arrow to the bow. Obviously he preferred an arrow that was somewhat underspined for the weight bow he was shooting.
A pretty common practice in those days.
And yes, he would build me a bow with a shelf like that. I still have the bow and the letter from Fred that goes with it.... and it ain't goin nowhere!
Like a lot of "experienced" bowhunters, Fred was an avid fisherman. One morning as Fred and a couple of friends were taking off in there boat they passed these two young guys who were fighting a big northern pike.
They didn't have a net, so Fred eased his boat alongside them and passed over his landing net, then backed off to watch. He was pretty excited to be part of it and the boys were on cloud nine.
I snapped the picture from the bank above them which was right in camp.