One of my very first bows was a Bear recurve bow. At the time I was young, pretty new to archery, and yet I was already aware of Fred Bear and the amazing company he built. These days it seems like they’ve been lost in the shuffle a bit, but why?
Bear compound bows are well made quality bows at affordable prices. Bear is a well known and established brand with over 85 years of experience. While Bear is not always on the cutting edge of technology they have tried and true methods that have proven effective and reliable over decades.
With so many manufacturer’s out there it can be hard to know what’s good and what isn’t. Many companies are cutting edge with the newest technology and high price tags. Bear remains true to their roots providing good solid archery equipment at affordable prices.
Here’s Why Bear Bows ARE Good
The year was 1933 and a devoted outdoorsman by the name of Fred Bear started an archery company with the intent to make archery accessible to everyone.
Hoyt was formed only 2 years prior to Bear and these two brands are considered to be the earliest archery companies in the United States.
Making Archery Accessible
Bear Archery has accomplished what it first set out to do, and arguably they’ve been the most successful at doing just that. They’ve been manufacturing and promoting quality archery products at reasonable prices for nearly 90 years now.
While they weren’t one of the first companies to produce compound bows, Bear had some early success in the 1970’s with a model called Whitetail Hunter. Since then the company has enjoyed continued success with various other models of compound bows.
What’s so great about these successful models you might ask? They hit the bullseye of value (see what I did there?). That is to say, they provided a perfect storm of cost, quality, and marketing.
Proven Quality you can count on
If you sniff around enough archery forums and groups of bow hunters and archers you’ll find plenty of people who have owned a bear compound bow. Most often they have good things to say about the equipment and the company, along with some fond memories.
A well taken care of Bear compound bow will last a lifetime if you want it to.
In fact, Bear believes so much in that statement themselves that they offer a limited lifetime warranty on all of their compound bows. This is not a blanket warranty that means you can get free parts for life but it is a solid warranty against defects. Check out their site for more on Bear’s Warranty.
My Personal Look into Bear Compound Bows
A while back I took a break from archery for a few years, I had a lot going on and not a lot of time to shoot. At that time I sold my Hoyt that I absolutely loved. A choice I’d later regret, but nevertheless it was gone.
Fast forward a few years and I was shopping for a reasonably priced bow to start shooting again. Bear was on my radar, in fact they were in my crosshairs. I had a couple models picked out that really appealed to me.
The ONLY reason I didn’t pull the trigger on a Bear Compound is because I had a used Parker fall into my lap at a price I couldn’t pass up. I do however still have a Bear Recurve bow that’s at least 40 years old and shoots great.
Why are Bear compound bows under-appreciated?
I actually don’t think there’s necessarily a lack of love for Bear’s bows, it’s just not a brand that has a lot of buzz around it. They’re sort of a prisoner of their own device in that way.
They’ve somewhat quietly built a quality product at an affordable price that’s accessible to beginners and seasoned archers alike. They’re not really making waves, they’re being consistent and that’s not a bad thing.
The Power and Illusion of Marketing
By now you’re getting sick of hearing me say that Bear makes quality products at affordable prices. However, one way it appears they do this is by letting the brand speak for itself, at least in part.
Attend any professional archery event and you’re unlikely to see anyone shooting a Bear. It’s not because they can’t compete, it’s because companies like PSE, Hoyt, Bowtech, and others spend TONS of money putting their bows in the hands of top archers and making sure everyone knows it.
That’s nothing against those companies, marketing is a key business component. Bear just does it a bit differently. They put their bows in the hands of beginners and veterans alike by keeping the costs down and selling the product through multiple channels.
You won’t find Hoyt or Bowtech or other such “elite” brands in Walmart or Bass Pro Shop or on Amazon. We can speculate as to why, but probably it’s all about marketing and the image they want to provide.
The fact that Bear sells many of their products, especially those aimed at budget minded folks, in chain stores and online is more proof that they want this sport to be accessible to all. They also sell in plenty of pro shops as well, right next to Hoyt, PSE, and the lot of em.
Cutting Edge Technology
You may think I’m a Bear Archery fanboy at this point, but the fact is I don’t even own one at the moment. I am a fan of the company, I’ll give you that. But I’m also a fan of Hoyt and the now defunct Parker bows.
That being said, I feel that one reason Bear doesn’t get as much buzz as they should is that people feel they’re using old technology. There may be some truth here but not nearly to the extent some naysayers would like to suggest.
Some manufacturers spend thousands, maybe millions on research and development to find the latest and greatest new tech to eek out 1 more FPS from their bowline. They’re often successful, and the cost of that is partially reflected in the price of their products.
Bear is no slouch to research and development, they have plenty of their own patents on file for new products and manufacturing processes through the years.
However, in the interest of affordability and reliability the company builds modern bows with modern tech without pushing the limits. They aren’t lagging behind in the modern archery world as some seem to suggest, but they don’t often pave the way either.
I would never say to someone they should avoid Bear compound bows. Quite the opposite, I think they provide some great products aimed at beginners and people on a budget. But don’t sleep on their higher end product either, they make some great shooting bows at various price points.
I’ve shot many different brands and owned quite a few different brands as well. I loved my Hoyt, I love my Parker, but I’ve never been disappointed at picking up a Bear compound bow and shooting it either.