Fred Bear wasn’t able to kill a trophy polar bear on two earlier attempts. His recurve, drawing a poundage in the mid-60’s, required a short shot distance to send an aluminum arrow into a bear’s vitals. The previous bears had charged when he got close enough to shoot, forcing his guides to fire their rifles—and forcing Bear to return to Michigan empty-handed.
Contrary to the film’s narrator, the most important part of Bear’s third hunt isn’t the stalk, but the preparations he made to survive long enough to make the stalk. Bear and his companions built an igloo of sorts on the pack ice with modern innards—pop-up tents with plywood/caribou skin floors to trap what little heat was available in the sub-zero wilderness. Hard-packed snow was cut into blocks, then stacked like bricks along the outside of the tents to guard against the chilling winds.
After the camp was set up, Bear practiced with his recurve for the crucial shot to come. He shot—and hit—thrown disks, helping him build muscle memory for the quick shooting he’d need later.
Much later. It took Bear twenty-five days to find and kill his polar bear. He wore white clothing to blend into the bleak landscape and sunglasses to battle the sun’s glare. When he finally walked up to the fallen animal, it was clear in Bear’s expression that the difficult conditions were all worth it.
Video by ClassicBowHunts via YouTube
Cover Image: Thinkstock