Bear Whitetail Hunter: My Piece of History

The Bear Whitetail Hunter was a common bow in it’s day, and is now a relic I’m happy to own.

I’m not much of a collector. Sure, I collected football and basketball cards as a kid and still hold onto a few unique coins every now and then. Overall though, I don’t like to accumulate a lot of stuff. Recently though I’ve been building quite a bow collection. The first few were for utility and for hunting. More recently though I’ve been donated a few bows and now have some classic wall hangers. One of my new additions is the Bear Whitetail Hunter.

Not knowing much about this bow I sat down and decided to do a little research. The Web proved to be a bit stubborn coughing up information on this bow. After reading through the forums I was able to glean a little information. I also went ahead and got in touch with the folks at Bear Archery, and their prompt customer service got back to me within 12 hours. Though they didn’t have much on the bow, they were kind enough to e-mail the original owner’s manual. After doing my homework, I learned quite a bit about this bow designed by the legend himself; Fred Bear.

The Whitetail Hunter was a bow designed by Fred Bear as compound bows were starting to make serious noise in the archery scene. By the 1970’s Bear had earned a tremendous reputation from his quality traditional bows. It’s no wonder that when he released his first compound, the WH, people were quick to jump on board.

By the sounds of things, the WH was an extremely popular bow in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. On the forums lots of seasoned archers claim to have taken at least a few deer with them. Heck, some of them still shoot the same bow. No one brags about the performance of the bow, but that’s compared to modern equipment.

Hanging bow

The Bear Whitetail Hunter

Although compared to our equipment the Whitetail Hunter is nothing special, it was pretty advanced for its time. It had the ability to adjust bow the draw length and draw weight with the help of a bowpress. In fact at 28″ it had the ability to range from 35 to 60 pounds according to the owner’s manual. It has an ATA of 45″ and boasted of a 50% letoff. Though it seems a bit archaic today, the amount of creativity it took to get the product out would have been an accomplishment during its heyday.

As mentioned, some folks still hunt with their tried and trusted Bear Whitetail Hunter. For me, it will be a classic keepsake that stays on the wall. It draws fine and I’m sure it would shoot an arrow, but I’m just fine looking at it. Although most of my bows bear the Bear emblem (pun intended), this one is a bit extra special as I know it was designed by Mr. Bear himself. Sure it may have a few dings, dents, and chipped paint, but to me it only adds to the character. I may not be much of a collector, but this one just seems worth holding onto.

Anything I missed on this post about this classic bow?  Let me know in the comments below.


Thanks for taking the time to read this article about the classic Bear Whitetail Hunter. 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 the hunting video that inspired Fred Bear to take up archery; the famous Art Young hunting film.

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