By Mark Kenyon
It seems I’ve read a million bow reviews over the years, and I’m pretty sure I’m sick of them. It’s almost always the same thing, over and over. “Nice, smooth draw.” “Hard back wall.” “Quiet on release.” “300 some FPS – super fast.” Blah, blah, blah.
Yes, there is value to these reviews, and I’ve written some like this myself (and will again today and probably for many years to come). We obviously need to know the specs and first-hand impressions of a bow before we consider purchasing one. But today, in all honesty, just about any of the top brand bows you pick up will be a deer killing machine. Compound bows in 2014 are incredible pieces of engineering, and pretty much any bow you can purchase at a pro-shop will serve you very well in the field. While there are certainly differences in specs or feel for each bow, I’m beginning to believe that our individual choices in the bows we shoot probably relates back to something a little more personal than just draw length, cams and brace height.
I’ve come to believe that, to a degree, these days what bow you shoot has more to do with who you are as a person, than how many FPS a bow can fling an arrow.
That said, this is not your usual bow review and I hope you’ll have patience enough to bare with me on this. In the paragraphs and words to follow, I’d like to share with you not just why I’ve enjoyed hunting with the Bear Archery Motive 7, but also why I’m so proud to do so and what that has to do with who I am. The quote below ought to get us started on the right foot …
“I have always tempered my killing with respect for the game pursued. I see the animal not only as a target, but as a living creature with more freedom than I will ever have. I take that life if I can, with regret as well as joy …” – Fred Bear
The Mandatory Specs and Impressions
With all that said, as this is a bow review, I realize it’s still important to hear a little bit about the nuts and bolts of the bow. So I’ll start there, and share with you briefly a few thoughts on my experiences with the Motive 7.
Let me say this right out the gate, I have thoroughly enjoyed my Motive 7 and have felt supremely confident in it’s abilities every time I’ve taken it afield. I would, with no reservations, recommend this bow as a worthy option to each and every one of you.
At the risk of using the same cliches I mentioned earlier, the Motive 7 can’t be described without using words such as “smooth” and “fast”. What I love most about this bow is that it draws extremely easily and as smooth as butter. I’m not a terribly big or overly strong guy, so it’s important to me that I can easily draw and hold back a bow without needing to be Cameron Hanes. The Motive 7, while still packing plenty of punch, fits this bill. It has a smooth and sweet draw, and I know this helps me in the field. Speaking of speed, with a 340 fps IBO speed rating, I’ve had no trouble flinging an arrow at long distances with a pretty flat trajectory. It’s all the speed I’ll ever really need (and probably more), but most importantly I can get this speed without sacrificing accuracy. In addition to the draw cycle, the 7 inch brace height aids in making this a very forgiving bow, and it comes in a light weight, slick looking package too. Another feature of this bow I love is that the over-molded grip is removable. With the thin riser grip and a 9″ Static Stabilizer I added this past summer, I was more accurate at long distances this year than ever before. Finally, this bow is tough. I put it through the ringer on an elk hunt in Idaho, and then brought it along through rain and shine on over 60 whitetail hunts this past fall in Michigan and Ohio. It handled everything like a champ.
As I mentioned before, I definitely would recommend this bow (as well as many of the Bear bows that I’ve now tried). But, in all honesty, it may not be the right fit for you. I’m not going to bullshit you and throw some crazy marketing propaganda your way, claiming you absolutely need this bow to kill big bucks. The Bear Motive 7 has been a great bow for me, but it might not be the best for you, and heck, it might not always be the right bow for me either. We’re all different, and different bows will suit us all differently. So with that in mind, I’d encourage you to try this bow and others, and find what feels right to you before making a purchase just on my recommendation or any other magazine, online review or TV host endorsement.
That said, when specs, speeds and fit or feel are all finally reviewed, I’ve come to believe that a bow purchase next comes down to what it stands for. While we may not consciously think about this, I think when we’re shopping for a bow, these questions are stirring within us, just under the surface. When you shoot “X” bow, what does it say about you? What does it mean to you? How does it make you feel?
It’s this less tangible “feeling” that, I think, supports my current use of Bear bows the strongest …
Following In the Footsteps of a Legend
To understand why I’m proud to shoot a Bear bow, I ask that you’ll endure with me a very brief history lesson.
Fred Bear, often referred to as “The Father of Modern Archery”, launched Bear Archery Products in 1939, not far from where I was born, in the city of Detroit, Michigan. For the first time, bows and archery equipment were available at a mass scale and from there Fred Bear went on to invent, innovate and create many of the bows and technologies we still use in the archery world today. He didn’t just create the products that bowhunter’s used though, he also inspired bowhunters to use them and use them well. Over the decades following his creation of Bear Archery, Fred Bear became the face of bowhunting through film, speaking engagements and TV appearances, and his values, passions and convictions took hold within thousands of aspiring bowhunters across the country.
This week, as I watched the film “The History of the Bow and Arrow“, which was narrated by Bear, I was struck by how much he reminded me of my Grandpa, and how many years ago, my Grandpa must have been inspired by this man as well. I marveled as Fred spoke with passion about the hunt, and masterfully recounted the tales of how bows were first invented, and then ultimately were modified and popularized by himself and others to follow.
I sat, taking in this history lesson from the old legend himself, and I imagined my own grandfather growing up in Michigan, hearing the tales of Fred Bear, and then following in his footsteps. I imagined him hunting the great forests of the north with a long bow in hand, and wondering to himself if this was how Fred Bear did it. And I remembered, many years later, how my grandpa eventually shared with me the same experiences, virtues and passions he was most likely introduced to by Fred.
Here I sit, decades later, and the impact that Fred Bear has had on me, my fellow hunters and the bowhunting industry as a whole, is still felt daily.
It’s in our ideas of fair chase, it’s in our passion for stick and string, it’s in the materials and methods used to hunt, it’s in our values, and it’s in our culture. While Bear Archery has, of course, changed in many ways since the days of Fred Bear, it seems his legacy still guides much of what the company stands for today. And that’s a powerful thing. His legacy is something that seems forever bound to this bow that I shoot, and I can’t help but feel the “spirit of the woods” and a connection back to Fred Bear, to the history of bowhunting, and even to my grandpa when this bow is in my hand.
Each fall, as I ride back and forth from my hunting properties, Ted Nugent’s immortal words ring loud and clear through the speakers of my truck …
“Because of Fred Bear. I’ll walk down these trails again. Take me back where I belong. Oh, Fred Bear, I’m glad to have you at my side my friend. And I’ll join you in the big hunt before too long”
So why do I take such pride in having a Bear bow at my side?
It’s because each time I pick up this bow, with the bear emblazed upon it, I’m reminded that in some small way, it’s because of Fred Bear that “I’ll walk down these trails again”. In some way, it’s because of Fred Bear that I’ll “go down in that swamp”. And it’s because of Fred Bear, that “we’ll get that buck.”
Even more than speed, riser strength or cam design – this is what inspires me to bring a Bear with me into the woods come fall.
For more information about the Motive 7 or any of the new models from Bear Archery, visit BearArchery.com