by Bill Wiesner
When I owned Renegade bows, I often traveled to Dennis Patton’s shop near Norway, Michigan, to talk about bow designs. Dennis had been the manufacturing boss at Bear Archery when it was in Grayling, Michigan. The conversation would always switch to Fred Bear. Fred was my bowhunting hero.
One day Dennis said he had something to show me.
He brought out a hard bow case. Inside the case was a set of recurve limbs and three magnesium risers. Back then it was far cheaper to make a riser than a set of laminated limbs. I believe it was a 62-inch bow; Fred had used it with a B-handle riser.
“Fred gave this bow to me several years ago,” Dennis said. “Fred actually hunted with this bow, so it has that extra bit of in-the-field history.”
“Hey, that bow’s left-handed,” were the first words out of my mouth. Of course. Fred shot left-handed. “I shoot left-handed.”
I was drooling.
“I would love to shoot a bear with that bow,” I said. His response nearly stunned me.
“Go for it,” he said and handed the bow to me.
I could not get home fast enough to shoot the bow. The top limb had a slight twist so I would shoot only three or four shots at a time to avoid twisting the limb further.
The next year, in 2001, I went to northern Saskatchewan on a spring bear hunt. I had been to this camp before, but this hunt was going to be special.
When I got there, with my Fred Bear bow carefully in tow, I was pretty wired, thinking about the next day’s hunt with Fred Bear’s bow. Sleep was out of the question, so I laid there in the dark and got even more wired.
The next day finally arrived, and my cameraman and I were soon sitting in our ground blind. Later that afternoon, while I alternated between watching out a blind window for a bear and then looking down at Fred’s bow right there in my hands, a nice bear came into view and began approaching the bait
The bear passed within five feet of the ground blind as it moved to the bait. I shot it at less than 10 feet; double-lunged it good. The bear ran less than 20 yards. I watched it drop from the blind.
Oh man, oh-man-oh man! I celebrated the life of Fred Bear that day and honored him in a way I will always remember. I would love to own that bow, but it is Dennis’s bow. However, it thrills me to this day to think about that hunt and the fact that I shot a bear with Fred Bear’s bow.
This item is from The Bear Hunting Obsession of a Driven Man, by Bill “BearCrazy” Wiesner. It is available from www.targetcommbooks.com. All major credit cards are accepted. The book is paperback, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 162 pages.
Bill “Bearcrazy” Wiesner knew bears and bear hunting. He took 57 black bears. He, his wife, and two sons have taken more than 100, 30 of which qualify for the Pope & Young record book, and seven of which qualify for the Boone & Crockett record book.
The book has ten hunting how-to chapters and 10 memoir chapters.
How-to chapters include black bear natural history; distribution, population & record book entry totals (by state and province); hunting gear (rifle, slug gun, handgun, muzzleloader, bow, crossbow), camo, and other necessary bear hunting items; hunting from ground blinds; hunting styles (D-I-Y, guided, hounds, spot-and-stalk); scouting; baiting and scents; new twists (food plots, calling, decoying); the shot (before, during, after); care of hiding for taxidermy; care of meat (processing, freezing, recipes).
Memoir chapters — all entertaining reading — include strange or unusual incidents, personalities, and bears encountered, plus family involvement during the author’s years of growth as a bear hunter.