Known affectionately among his friends, and much of the hunting community as Papa Bear, Fred Bear is to this day one of the most influential people to ever grace the sport and lifestyle of hunting. To many people’s surprise, Fred Bear started out hunting with a rifle as a young man. He’s been quoted saying “you can learn more about hunting deer with a bow and arrow in a week than a gun hunter might learn all of his life.” Considering that he is deemed by many to be the godfather of modern bow hunting, he began his bow hunting career relatively late in life at age 29. This should be an encouragement to many who feel like it’s too late in their hunting career to start bow hunting. This guy revolutionized an entire industry, broke six bowhunting world records (barren-ground caribou, Canada moose, stone sheep, Alaskan brown bear, and mountain caribou), and ended up in the Archery Hall of Fame, and was almost 30 when he started bow hunting!
Fred Bear was soft spoken, humble, small in stature, and slight of frame; however, he possessed a dogged determination that made him a larger than life character. Despite all his world travels, accolades, and archery accomplishments, Fred Bear had a kind of common man, “aw shucks” philosophy on life and hunting that heralded simplicity at the center of its genius. He had a way of putting things that got strait to the point with no fussing, and was pretty deep. One of Fred Bear’s famous statements is the 10 COMMANDMENTS OF HUNTING.
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF HUNTING
- Don’t step on anything you can step over.
- Don’t look for deer, look for movement and remember that it’s what they’re looking for, too.
- Always approach from downwind. In the cool of the day, move uphill; in the heat of the day, move downhill.
- The best camouflage pattern is called, “Sit down and be quiet!” Your grandpa hunted deer in a red plaid coat. Think about that for a second.
- Take only the gear to the field that allows you to hunt longer, harder, smarter.
- A rainstorm isn’t a reason to quit the hunt, it’s the reason to stay.
- Camouflage your appearance, your sound and your scent.
- Be sure of your shot. Nothing is more expensive than regret.
- Hunt where the deer actually are, not where you’d imagine them to be.
- Next year’s hunt begins the minute this season’s hunt ends.
There is a great deal of wisdom in these ten simple measures. My grandfather used to tell me, “when you don’t know something, always find the people with the greyest hair, and listen to them.” The wisdom of Fred Bear, and hunters like him (famous or not-so-famous), is derived from years of irreplaceable experience and knowledge from the greyest among us. Thanks Papa Bear.