This is topic Hunting with Fred Bear in forum Fred Bear at Trad

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Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
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?
Posted by Tedd@work (Member # 1952) on :
Posted by Tedd@work (Member # 1952) on :
Wonder who has that bow now!?
Too bad its a lefty.

Posted by Tedd@work (Member # 1952) on :
Does anyone have or use an actual bow that Fred used for hunting?
Posted by ckruse (Member # 2492) on :
What a priceless experience! Thanks for sharing it with us. CKruse
Posted by Rangeball (Member # 4996) on :
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... [Smile]
Posted by leftbow (Member # 2502) on :
That must have been pretty exciting Charlie. Did you get any pictures taken with Fred?
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
Ya mean like this....

Posted by herb haines (Member # 235) on :
Charlie and Fred are my heros . Charlie you are a lucky man --------- ----- herb
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
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! [Big Grin]
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
Posted by tim-flood (Member # 133) on :
thanx for sharing!! that was great
Posted by Roughcountry (Member # 2496) on :
Thanks for sharing this with us Charlie, it don't get much better. [thumbsup]
Posted by tmccall (Member # 7399) on :
What a tremendous opportunity! Thanks for letting us experience it with you all over again.
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :

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.
Posted by leftbow (Member # 2502) on :
Can't beat those mementos. Good for you.
Posted by Jake (Member # 105) on :
Good Stuff CHarlie. You should write a book. It would sell better than most out there today. You have so many stories you never cease to amaze me. Thank you Charlie.
Posted by BillW (Member # 257) on :
I recently read Dick Lattimer's book about Fred. I think the '75 hunt was the promotional hunt where they brought up a couple of dealers. I sure wish I could have met Fred and to have hunted out of the same camp is something I bet most here wish they could have experienced. Wow Charlie, getting to shoot Fred's bow and talk to him at the same time....Did he offer any shooting pointers (not that you would need it)?
Posted by Tedd@work (Member # 1952) on :
So how well do you shoot the bow? Got some pics of that thing for us??

Posted by N.O.S.guy (Member # 6445) on :
My hats off to ya. You have done things in your life that I am still planning to do with mine. I truly wish that I could have meet someone as great as Fred Bear. I would have loved to have meet Howard Hill, Ben Pearson, or Earl Hoyt as well. Thanks for sharing those pictures and the story.
Posted by Littlefeather (Member # 982) on :
I've had the opportunity to hear those stories first hand. I always feel honored to hear them again. Somehow we can't build a future without some building blocks from the past. Very cool Lambo. I can't wait to hear them again sometime next to a campfire. Maybe Oregon, ok? CK
Posted by luv2bowhunt (Member # 4943) on :
What a great story... and I can only imagine what an awesome experience that must have been! Too cool [thumbsup]

How bout some pics of that bow he built for ya Charlie [Big Grin]

Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
Guys... nobody knows better than me how lucky I've been to meet Fred and spend time with him in that environment.

My close friend Gary Norris killed a bear the first night of hunting and spent many afternoons with just he and Fred in camp (I always hated him for that! [Wink] )... Fred was more interested in the fishing at that point in his life. Like he said, "I've killed a lot of black bears."

He did hunt a couple of evenings. More for the sake of the outfitter than anything else... so the guy could say that Fred had hunted from his camp, I'm sure.

Fred made what he called a "stalking blind". He built a ground blind of sorts and cleared a path to it from the downwind side.
He'd go off in the timber and dink around, then every once in a while he'd "stalk" the bait to see if anything was there.

I thought that was pretty cool.
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
BillW... I needed a lot of pointers to shoot his bow left handed. I could just get it to full draw that way. [Big Grin]
He said I was a pretty good hand with it, but I think he was just being nice.

Tedd... I was shooting that bow in this story on the Articles and Stories forum.
The Bear and the Bouncing Bow
Yeah, I think I shot it pretty good! [Wink]

[ April 07, 2007, 06:06 PM: Message edited by: Terry Green ]
Posted by OH at work (Member # 121) on :
Do you remember what the draw weight of that bow was?

Posted by Madpigslayer (Member # 139) on :
2 questions Charlie...

1)so you actually WERE young once!?? [Smile]

2)how does the low cut shelf bow shoot compared to your other bows, worth it in your opinion???

...inquiring minds you know. thanks for sharing the story!
Posted by non-typical (Member # 160) on :
Great post Charlie. Delightful reading on my lunch break!
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
Tedd... here's another bear taken with that bow.


I'll have to dig out that bow... it's in storage right now. When I do I'll post some pics for ya.
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
N.O.S. guy... Earl Hoyt was one of my mentors when I was growing up. Pretty much had the run of his shop from the time I was about 13.

Somewhere there's a picture of Earl and I with the trophies we were presented for being two of the three guys that killed deer that year (around 1964) in the St.Louis Bowhuntes club.
Great man!!

Oh at work... that bow was 65# and Fred would have been 75 or thereabouts.

Calvin... I think I was. But I could be hallucinatin!! [Confused]

The shelf on that bow wasn't "exactly" like Freds but still pointed very naturally.
Todays bowyers have jumped on the low shelf band wagon... mostly thanks to Fred Asbells articles... and I think that's a good thing.
Posted by OH at work (Member # 121) on :
Good stuff Charlie,
I only had the chance to meet Fred one time in the early 70's when he came and gave a talk at our small town. He really had some good stories to tell!!!

Posted by Carcajou (Member # 1206) on :
You Da Man! You never cease to amaze me with your stories and history.....a very lucky man indeed!

What an experience!
Posted by Ray Lyon (Member # 35) on :
Thanks for sharing Charlie!!! [Not Worthy]
Posted by KodiakMagnum (Member # 5635) on :
Thank you for sharing!! you truly are blessed [Not Worthy] [Not Worthy] [Not Worthy]
Posted by TexMex (Member # 3788) on :
Charlie, thank you so much. [Not Worthy] [Not Worthy]
Posted by PAPALAPIN (Member # 1384) on :

Them must be some old pictures. Yer hair still has color to it, and yer waistline don't look so big.

Great pictures, and I'll bet, great memories.


Don't dispair about not being able to hunt with Fred Bear, Earl Hoyt, and now Jack Howard is gone. There are still a few TRADITIONAL ICONS around. CHARLIE LAMB for one. Invite him on a hunt, he might just take you up on it.
Posted by Mudfeather (Member # 1407) on :
I'm so dang mad at myself. We sat around a campfire for a week in CO and the listened to the guys that didn't have nothin to share talk.... [Confused]

Charlie, The next time........and Lord I do hope there is a next time.......we get to hunt together [campfire] ...I want to be priviledged enough to HEAR this straight from you. PLEASE?????????? [Not Worthy]

I'm not above begging!!!!!! [wavey]
Posted by Peckerwood (Member # 2612) on :
Thats what I love about this site! You come home from a looooooong day at work and can read about Charlie hunting with the Bear. Charlie, what other great stories are you keeping from us?
Thanks for sharing and keep'em coming.

Posted by Randy Morin (Member # 2199) on :
Wow very cool read Charlie. I could read this kinda stuff all day long. (Hint: "more, more, more") The pics are awesome too. Thanks for takin the time to share this with us. Oh yeah, did you say you were "stoked"? I knew you were young at heart!!! Rock-on Charlie!!!
[thumbsup] [Not Worthy] [Not Worthy]
Posted by Frank V (Member # 3547) on :
Charlie, I'm probably not the only one who'd like to hear some things about Fred from someone who's met him. Thanks for sharing with us. God places people in our lives, when he placed Fred Bear in yours,even if for a short time, you were blessed. Frank
Posted by 2traxx (Member # 1348) on :
Thats,just freakin awesome!!!!!!!!
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
We don't bash compounds here and that ain't what this one is about... Fred and company were just introducing the Bear Alaskan Compound bow and they were shooting promotional shots for the catalog and adds.

Of course Fred had his own personal left hand compound. You know what? The shelf was cut down on that bow just like his recurve. Shootin off his finger with a compound bow... kinda funny.

MAN!! I wonder where THAT bow went!

Fred was shooting a few shots with that compound and he'd raise the bow and draw just like with his recurve.
He'd just about jump out of his skin when the thing rolled over. He'd shoot and shake his head.

I asked him what he thought and he said, he had to shoot it for the promotion, but that when the wheels rolled over it really blew his aiming.
"I really don't like this thing", is what he told me.

Go figure! [Wink]
Posted by Butts2 (Member # 5836) on :
This is great stuff
more more more
yes I am greedy
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
I should add that the pics of Fred shooting his compound did come out in magazines and the catalog that year.
I don't have a pic of it myself or I show it.

Anyone got a catalog collection?
Posted by Ray Lyon (Member # 35) on :
I remember that Bear Alaskan compound picture well. It was a over the shoulder shot of Fred at full draw in a woods setting. He has his classic red check plaid shirt on. I ALMOST bought one of those that was sitting used on the local shops shelf (I think it was around 1977/78). Instead, I set aside my recurve and bought a Howard Hill Tembo longbow.

The rest is history.
Posted by Meathook (Member # 67) on :
I bet old Fred got back from that hunt and told the story to all his buddies.

Probably sounded like this:

"You'll never guess who was in camp with us this week, Thats right THE Charlie Lamb. Whoda thunk a little bowyer like me would get a chance to hunt with a guy like him." [tunglaff]
Posted by Huntrdfk (Member # 938) on :
Cahrlie that is awesome, thanks for sharing this.

Posted by Timo (Member # 180) on :
Cool stuff Lambo! [thumbsup]

The first trad related pic I ever remember seeing was that of Fred draggin out a big ole michigan whitetail!

I still see that image in my head!
Posted by Mark U (Member # 1938) on :
Looking at the shelf on that bow, and then mentioning Fred Asbell reminds me of an article Asbell wrote, probably back about 1981 in Bowhunter, about shooting off the shelf. He said that the first thing he did when he bought a new bow was to buy a new file and modify the shelf to look just like the one on Fred's bow. I, of course, did the same with my bows.

Yer a lucky dog, Charlie.
Posted by Mike Bolin (Member # 401) on :
Charlie, thank you for sharing with us. You should really put your hunts/adventures down in book form. I know you'd sell at least me! [bigsmyl] Thank you-Mike
Posted by (Member # 6) on :

Thanks so much for sharing! It's a pretty cool piece of history.

Posted by woodsman (Member # 2937) on :

I recently came in posession of an old Bear recurve. The fellow that had owned it said he had the opportunity to meet and shoot with Fred Bear. He told me of Fred's personal bow and how it was modified. He bought this bow new and modified it exactly like Fred's bow. It is a mint 1959 Bear Grizzly, painted camo.

It's special to hunt with this bow simply due to the history connected to Fred and a life-time of bowhunting by it's previous owner.

Hearing your story adds even more credability to it's history cause I had never heard anyone else speak of Fred's special modification.

Thanks Charlie

Posted by John/Alaska (Member # 1857) on :
Thanx for sharing Charlie!
Posted by Glenn29 (Member # 4015) on :
This is an awesome thread!

Mr. Lamb thank you very much for sharing your memories [thumbsup]
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
I may have mentioned this before, but this hunt is where I first noticed it.

I loved Fred's hat... as many do/did. Something I noticed that I hadn't paid much attention to was a little sprig of leaves with a couple of berries tucked into the hat band.

I didn't think much about it the first day, other than I thought it was kinda neat.

Then the second day I noticed that Fred had changed the sprig for a small feather.

On the third it was something different and by now my curiosity was running wild... so I asked him. "What's up with that?"

Fred told me that each day he'd stop and pick some little something that caught his eye and put it in his hat band.
It reminded him to slow down and pay attention to the little things around him.

I adopted the habit as my own that day and have kept it. Ya know what? It works.

Fred wasn't so much the killer/hunter as he was a student of nature and the world around him.
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
My granddad wore a hat like Fred's, as many men did years ago and I got my first one from him.

I guess I've worn "the hat" since I was about 18.

It's my constant hunting companion and keeps the sun out of my eyes and the rain off my neck.

The fact that Fred wore one like my grandad made the hat just that much cooler.
Posted by Earl E. Nov...mber (Member # 690) on :
Charlie,, Sent ya the picture, Earthlink did it's thing.
Posted by Hutch (Member # 1092) on :
Charlie, That's really neat.
I would love to hear some of these stories first hand, person to person over a camp fire sometime, and ya know, we don't live all that far apart.

Your welcome around my camp anytime sir.

Posted by Iron Bull (Member # 7360) on :
[thumbsup] [thumbsup] I knew that you could do it in one setting and it really wasn't that hard was it [Smile] Thanks for the refresher
[bigsmyl] and I'll see ya soon.
Posted by Woodduck (Member # 50) on :
This is a nice thread...thanks so much. Leaves me with a real warm feeling...or maybe I've been sittin' here too long [bigsmyl]
'For really' thanks, Charlie, and guys. It's nice to hear the REAL inside stuff. Fred's promotional team fooled me into buying that 'Alaskan' compound. I saw in the picture that it was the one Fred was shooting...gosh, I'm gullible [Embarrassed]
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
Alrighty then... Ken "Earl E. November" Elshof sent me the picture of Fred and the Alaskan Compound. Doesn't show the shelf, but you can see he's got the arrow down on his knuckle.


Thanks much Ken! [thumbsup]
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
Note the feather in his hat! [Smile]

Woodduck... Have you still got that Alaskan? I know a guy who'd be tickled to have it!
Posted by Joseph (Member # 2732) on :
Cool stuff!!! Joseph
Posted by Guru (Member # 616) on :
Charlie that's awesome...very,very enjoyable bud!!
Posted by the Ferret (Member # 103) on :
Originally posted by Charlie Lamb:

Fred told me that each day he'd stop and pick some little something that caught his eye and put it in his hat band.It reminded him to slow down and pay attention to the little things around him.

What a great tip!

I met Fred 3 times over the years and what impressed me most about the man was how easy he was to talk to and how "normal" he was for a "supestar hero". Really just another bowhunter when it came right down to it. Easy to smile and quick to laugh. And I remember his hands were huge! The most humble man I've ever met. Frank Scott was the same way.

Never got to hunt with him though. That would have been awesome! Charlie that has to be one of the best memories a trad bowhunter could ever have you lucky dog!
Posted by Earl E. Nov...mber (Member # 690) on :
I have an Alaskan that could use a new home.. I am easy..
Posted by PAPALAPIN (Member # 1384) on :
In 1968 I went to Michigan on my honeymoon. Stopped by the Bear Museum and as luck would have it Papa Bear was there greeting visitors.

What impressed me the most was his size. I had always seen him in pictures standing next to a 12' bear mount, with the bears paws hanging down to right about Fred's head. It made him look like a man of smaller stature, thin and wirey looking. Boy was that a misconception. I am 5'10" and the top of my head came to below his shoulder. He was a man's man.

He was also genuinelly one of the nicest guys you could ever want to meet. The kind that you just can't picture getting mad, about anything.

CHARLIE, you are a luckey man for your experiences, and we are all luckey to have you to pass on the stories. As someone said before, you "SHOULD" write a book. Even a novel. Real life experiences like yours are what great fictions are based on.
Posted by cjones (Member # 310) on :
What a great thread. Charlie, You should consider writing a book with your hunting stories. I bet you could sell a couple thousand copies just to the members here. At the very least, i hope you'll be telling some of these stories in TX.

It would be great if we could talk that lil Ferret fellar into writing a book too. Lord knows i have mentioned it to him a bunch but i can't get him to do it. I would love to have a copy of both of em.
Posted by herb haines (Member # 235) on :
Charlie -- thank you for sharing .like my hand near the arrow also .gee i had hair once also [Big Grin] [Wink] ----- herb
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
Guys... thanks for all the praise... as usual I'm a little flustered by it. Need to go out and buy a larger hat now! [Big Grin]

I've got one more "tidbit"... ok, maybe two, but I "have to" leave town in a couple of minutes on another hunting trip. I'll be back Friday late.

Ken... I'll drop a note to ya. I've got an old and dear friend that would drop his teeth if I could put him in that Alaskan... and he'd use it too!

Stay out of trouble and have a good time... can you do both at the same time? [Confused] [thumbsup]
Posted by rabbitman (Member # 997) on :
Great read Charlie. Thanks for sharing. [thumbsup]
Posted by Woodduck (Member # 50) on :
Charlie, my Alaskan blew up! It was the first generation one, too. They came out with another riser later...had a quiver full of broadheads, scattered, top limb hit me on the head, knocked my hat over my eyes. I thought for a second, I couldn't see. Got my eyes out from under the brim, looked at my arms/body for broadhead damage. I was ok but the magnesium riser couldn't be fixed. It made me sick. Bow season was the next week...
It was a good 'finger' shootin'compound. I should of told Fred about it. He came to a shoot in Grifton, NC and I met him but too awestruck to open my mouth about the Alaskan...Fred did tell me to "Pick a spot!"
Posted by Goose (Member # 2884) on :
Just too cool!
Another thanks for sharing this with us.
Posted by alaskabowhunter (Member # 7576) on :
Wow, made my day, Thanks!
Posted by HACKSAW (Member # 3211) on :
I always thought from the pictures I saw his rest was low.
I have modified a few of my bows using my dremel tool with great results that has improved my shooting a lot. I have always believed that bows and guns have to fit you right. I have never been afraid to rework a bow handle to fit my hand,or a rest to bring it closer to my line of sight.
Posted by Olebow (Member # 6440) on :
Thank you Charlie! I love that little something
in the hat band thing.... For what it represents,
and for who made it famous.

We all do that in my hunting camp. Been doing it
for years. Either some little feather we find,
or a little sprig of Douglas Fir, or my favorite-
a stalk of wild mint. Tradition now. Little
things mean so much for many of us old tradgangers
who savor the lore of the past.
Posted by 8elk (Member # 4717) on :
Thanks for sharing ! Tell us how your hunting went !
Posted by Hunt Stealth (Member # 7828) on :
Thats an awsome experience, loved the story and the photo's. All shooting stars in the sky are great to watch until they just disappear.
Posted by Tedd (Member # 1692) on :
So is everyone crawling up on the rest tonight and trying to shoot off the nuckle?

My Morrisons are cut pretty close, but not as much as Fred's
Posted by Mark Fedrizzi (Member # 1199) on :
............Thank you for sharing this with us..

THIS IS VERY,VERY [thumbsup]
Posted by Killdeer (Member # 437) on :
I think a book of stuff like that, and a bunch of hunting stories, would be very instrumental in my education and growth as a bowhunter. Furthermore, it would be a swell present for a bowhunting buddy next Christmas. And if that weren't enough, it would be the highlight of my coffee table.
No, that was a lie. I don't have a coffee table.

But reading a book like that would be FUN, and help me get stoked for the next hunting season. [bigsmyl]

Killdeer~nudge, nudge..
Posted by Dano (Member # 748) on :
Geeze Charlie, had I known you were that famous I woulda had a better brand of beer in camp at MOjam, NOT!! [Big Grin] I love to hear stories of Fred, Thanks buddy.
Posted by Littlefeather (Member # 982) on :
Dano, Charlie wouldn't have recognized it as beer if it hadn't been cheap. LOL!

I've been after Charlie every time we are together to write the book. I think he need just a bit more prodding. I'd even hold the paper if he'd start writing the damn thing. CK
Posted by Van/TX (Member # 312) on :
Man that's cool Charlie [Big Grin] Thanks [wavey] [wavey] ....Van
Posted by joe skipp (Member # 1095) on :
Charlie...sitting here at work reading this. What a super story...I envy you fella. [thumbsup] [thumbsup]
Posted by Terry Green (Member # 3) on :
Great read always.

Thanks for sharing your words and the pics.
Posted by Iron Bull (Member # 7360) on :
YEP ! It's a BLESSING to personaly Know and Hunt with Charles "T" and to be able to gleen what we do from him [Not Worthy] [Not Worthy] [Not Worthy] [thumbsup] [thumbsup]
Posted by SteveMcD (Member # 3795) on :
Wow! Charlie... Thanks for sharing!!! That is some piece of archery history there! Thank you!

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