This Art Young hunting film inspired one of America’s most legendary archers. Not surprisingly it can still provide the same spark today.
Art Young is a legendary figure in the history of archery. There has been much written about him and the most famous archery organization even adopted his name as theirs. He was an avid archer, adventure bowhunter, and helped to spread enthusiasm for the sport in its darkest hour. It would be hard to overstate Art Young’s contributions to the sport of archery.
One of Young’s most lasting treasures is a hunting film he shot in 1922 and 1923 titled, Alaskan Adventure. In the film, Young not only shows off his prowess with his archery gear, but introduces the viewers to the wonder of nature as well. Actually, if one had to wager the proportions of the movie dedicated to hunting and nature, it would be around 10% showcasing Young’s hunting abilities, and 90% highlighting nature and other outdoor activities. From dogsledding to volcanoes, and spawning salmon to building a boat of moose hide, this video may be the pinnacle of what a hunting film can be.
You can imagine that in the world of the 1920’s, Alaskan Adventures would have been quite eye opening to the folks who viewed it. During those days, people simply didn’t have access to the media we are so accustomed to today. Visions of spawning salmon, lumbering Kodiak bears, and broad vistas of the Alaskan bush would certainly not have been common place. Young may well have given viewers their first real taste of somewhere as exotic as Alaska. In fact the film was life changing for a young Detroit auto advertiser. The man we know as Papa Bear first picked up a bow and arrow after watching Art Young’s bowhunting adventures.
If you want to watch the hunting film that inspired Fred Bear, you can watch the video here. If you don’t have time to watch the entire half hour video, there is a “cheat sheet” below to guide you to a few high points.
2:15 – Footage of sheep hunt begins.
5:50 – Trout “Fishing”
8:28 – Alaskan moose hunt footage begins.
12:17 – Dogsledding footage.
15:50 – Watch a frozen river melt before your eyes.
19:00 – Expedition meets a group of Inuit. The tribe displays their kayaking and bird netting skills.
22:50 – Footage of Mount Katmai, a large smoking volcano.
27:07: Arrival at Kodiak with footage of salmon spawn and bear hunt.
After watching this hunting footage you can certainly see what inspired Bear. Young was the consummate outdoorsman, not just in his hunting ability, but in the full panorama of outdoor skills. He made boats, made his own moose call, drove a dog team, and jumped at every chance to try something new. One scene in particular that features Young’s love of nature is the trout fishing scene. Splashing around in that Alaskan stream, catching trout by hand, Young was like a little boy splashing around. You can easily see it wasn’t a performance, he just loved the outdoors.
Hopefully you have the time to watch the entire movie. It sure is a dandy. Watching on Youtube today, you still can get the raw sense of adventure that Fred Bear likely felt in the 1920’s. The amazing thing is it really hasn’t changed. Even at a time with fancy hunting films saturating every orifice of the internet, we can still be inspired by the simplicity of a soundless, black and white, hunting adventure. Hope you enjoy.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article about the hunting film that inspired Fred Bear. If you like the content, I’d encourage you to follow the blog by clicking the Follow button near the bottom of this page. You may also enjoy this article about one of Art Young’s hunting buddies; Chief Compton: The Forgotten Father of Archery.
Follow the author through his Facebook page.