Throwback 1985 Fred Bear Interview About His Love for Hunting Gives Us Chills

by Halle Ames

Fred Bear was an American hunter, author, tv host, and started Bear Archery, one of the world’s largest archery companies. In an interview from 1985, three years before Fred Bear’s death, he talked to Mike Avery about his history bow hunting.

Fred Bear was 86-year-old when he sat down with outdoor broadcaster Mike Avery. Known as the father of modern-day archery, he humbly says that he isn’t the best bowhunter to ever live.

“Well, it’s really not true. The world’s greatest bowhunter is a fellow by the name Ed Bilderback, who lives in Alaska. He’s a better shot than I am, and he’s a better hunter. He lived and grew up in the woods. I always went hunting, but I didn’t spend all my time in the woods.”

Bear, who holds five world records for his extravagant international hunts, says that one animal stands out for being the smartest of them all.

“The deer is the sharpest of all animals. It’s the smartest of all animals, in 200 of them.”

The Start of Fred Bear’s Bow Hunting Career

Fred Bear also says that he didn’t start his hunting career with a bow and arrow, but with a gun. In addition, Bear didn’t get started with a bow until he was 29 years old.

“See, I began early, in 1933 and the bowhunters then you can count on your fingers and toes in Michigan, but I grew as a gun hunter. My dad was a hunter, and I shot a deer in 1933 up in the Upper Peninsula. It dressed 285 pounds– biggest deer I ever saw. Yeah, it was so easy, opening morning I walked up to withdraw, and there he was looking at me, and I looked at him, and I shot him, went down, that’s when the work began. So I thought this would be a little bit better, and it’s a good supporting way. It gets pretty hungry doing it some time, but it works out alright.”

However, he said that gun hunting was too easy, and that was the reason he switched. There is more skill involved in hunting with a bow.

“You can learn more about hunting deer with a bow and arrow in a week than a gun hunter might learn all his life. It’s a lot easier when you see a deer with a gun. You can usually shoot it. When you see a deer with a bow faced with a job of getting closer … that takes a lot of doing.”

Fred Bear was inducted as an inaugural member into the Archery Hall of Fame in 1973.