Happy Birthday Fred Bear: Everything to Know About the Hunting Icon

by Keeli Parkey
Denver Post via Getty Images

The story of legendary hunter Fred Bear is a story of a man who fell in love with the outdoors and made it his career. It’s a story of innovation and hard work and dedication. And, thanks to Bear’s creativity and skill, the way people bow hunt was forever changed.

Today (March 5) is Fred Bear’s birthday. According to BowHunter.com, the “Father of Bowhunting” was born on this day in 1902. Today is a day to celebrate the man who changed the sport in ways that are still unmatched. His skills and contributions to the sport will probably never be matched.

According to BowHunting.net, Fred Bear was born in Pennsylvania. On the day he was born, a blizzard blew into town and covered his family’s farmhouse property in snow. Fred was the second child born to his father, Harry Bear. Harry reportedly took Fred deer hunting for the first time during 1913. They hunted close to their property. It was during the following year that Fred bagged his first whitetail deer. Also, he used a rifle for that kill.

It was during 1927 that Fred Bear saw a film that would change his life. That film was “Alaskan Adventures” and it motivated the young man to begin using bows and arrows to hunt. According to BowHunting.net, 1929 marked the first time he ever went bowhunting.

Even though he became a hunting legend, Fred Bear did not start his professional career as a hunter. And, what he started out doing might just surprise you. So, what was the job? According to BowHunting.net, when Bear was 21 years old he went to work for the Packard Motor Car Company. He was a pattern maker and move from his hometown to Detroit, Michigan, for the job.

While Working in Auto Industry, Fred Bear Continued to Hunt, Created His Own Equipment

Fred Bear continued to bow hunt while he was working in the auto industry. BowHunter.com reports that in his spare time, Bear discovered how he could make his own equipment. This included bows, arrows, and strings. It wasn’t long before Bear made his side hustle into his main focus. It was then that he opened Bear Archery.

Bear created some of the most popular equipment used in the bowhunting world. The inventions he patented included the modern shooting glove, fiberglass bow backings, and bow quiver, as well as the Razorhead broadhead.

The website also reports that the Take-Down traditional bow is probably Fred Bear’s most significant creation. What makes it special is that he needed 20 years to perfect it. He reportedly started to work on it during 1947 and released it in 1967.

Bear Wins Awards for Hunting Skills

Fred Bear also continued to demonstrate that he was one of the best hunters around. He won the target archery championship in Michigan in 1934, 1937, and 1939. He also helped the state begin its first bowhunting season during 1937. Because of this, other states also began similar seasons, according to BowHunter.com.

The website also reports that Fred Bear was the first Michigan bowhunter filmed as he bagged a whitetail deer. The video of him doing so was used in his original hunting film. Thanks to that film, he became famous.

As the years went on, Bear’s popularity grew. But, he kept getting outside and did what he loved most. His efforts paid off – to the tune of six world records for archery, BowHunter.com reported. Also, during the 1960s, he bagged a Bengal Tiger in India, an elephant in Africa, a male lion in Africa, and a Polar Bear.

Fred Bear’s legendary hunting career came to an end with his death on April 27, 1988.