Fred Bear and Jim Henderson in 1943
March 5, 1902|
|Died||April 27, 1988
|Occupation||bow hunter & bowyer
|Known for||Archery and hunting|
Fred Bear (March 5, 1902 – April 27, 1988) was an American bow hunter, bow manufacturer, author, and television host.
He was born in the town of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Although he didn't start bow hunting until he was 29 and did not master the skill for many years, he is widely regarded as a pioneer in the bow-hunting community. Bear was a world traveler, film producer, and the founder of Bear Archery, an outdoor company that still exists.
Bear has been immortalized in the song "Fred Bear" from the album Spirit of the Wild by hard rock musician Ted Nugent, who was Bear's friend. Fred Bear was also a popular contributing author for magazines such as Outdoor Life and Archery Magazine.
Fred Bear Museum
|Fred Bear Museum|
The Fred Bear Museum originated in Grayling, Michigan, in 1967. Eventually the museum's collection represented the largest privately held collection of archery artifacts in the world. Bear sold controlling interest in his company in 1968, but continued on as president. In 1978, following a strike and continuing labor problems, the Bear Archery manufacturing operation was relocated to Gainesville, Florida. At first the museum remained behind in Grayling, but in 1985 it too was moved to Gainesville, where it found a home in the Bear Archery plant between Archer Road and Williston Road, just off of I-75. That museum closed in 2003, and the collections were sold to the Bass Pro Shops chain.
Since then, the Fred Bear Museum has been displayed at the headquarters store of Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri. Exhibits include the story of Fred Bear and bowhunting history, life-size animal mounts, bowhunting artifacts, some of his trophies and memorabilia, and historical bows and arrows used or built by Fred Bear and his company. The exhibit was temporarily closed due to the construction of an aquarium in the same building. It was scheduled to re-open in mid-2011.
Fred Bear was also the first president of Michigan's oldest archery club, Detroit Archers. A small collection of his memorabilia is located in the club house. The most prized piece is that of one of his polar bear skins, shot with an arrow. In 2006, Detroit Archers was broken into and the skin was stolen. The case is still open and no suspects or evidence has been found as to the skin's whereabouts.
- "Fred Bear". Hall of Fame Members. Bowhunters Hall of Fame. 2004. "Category A - Bowhunters showing Excellence in the Field of Bowhunting"
- "Fred Bear". Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Brown, Robert H. (June 25, 2011). "The Fred Bear Museum". Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions.
- Burch, Michael (2006–2011). "Fred Bear Museum". OutdoorSite Library. Bass Pro Shops.