Bear and cub dating

We have some of the most liberal hunting seasons here in the U. None of us could ever thank enough the early pioneers of the sport that through their tireless efforts put bowhunting on the calendar for all of us to enjoy. Maintaining strong support and membership in these organizations is one very good way to keep a solid hold on the good old days. Have you ever seen as many bow makers as those listed throughout the pages of Traditional Bowhunter?

All are ready to make a bow to your every wish and desire. Getting all the necessary information on new equipment is just a matter of a few phone calls and letters while pawing over several of the latest catalogs. No doubt many of the best bows ever made are being made right now. A quick way to gather information is to go to one of the larger traditional shoots that are becoming common all across the country. There are always dealers there with tables full of new and used bows and equipment which can be inspected, and in some cases, given a try out on some targets.

When was it made? Is it safe to shoot? What kind of string is best? There are no current books on the market that can help identify even the age of most old bows.

Many of the local tackle shops came into business after most of these older bows were out of production. There is many a time when poor information is the rule here. Most of the bows made after the early s are still very usable, but there are no guarantees that come with any of them.

Some common sense precautions are necessary in the purchase and intended use of any old bow. By far the most popular and commonly found bow will be a Bear Archery recurve or longbow.

I was 13 at the time and I thought it was the most beautiful bow I would ever see. Serial numbers started over from scratch each month during the 50s and 60s and every model had its own two letter code. The first letter was the year, second letter the month. With only a few factory records available for these years, I have only the bows left as pieces of the puzzle.

I have spent many enjoyable days with many of the Grayling employees and even they are not sure of the serial ranges. They never dreamed that people would be collecting all these bows! There are tens of thousands of these great bows out there to be found and many more that their owners would like to know more about. Using the coin medallion to date these bows has been used by many knowledgeable collectors for years.

Instant identity for every model Bear bow. The Bear catalog introduces the coin medallion as symbolic of high quality, precision performance and lasting beauty, a "symbol of the finest. If only the auto manufacturers had some coin medallions! OOPS, a slip of the pen. Although the coin is a major ID tool it is sometimes confusing. In both copper, nickel and brass were used in the higher and lower grades of bows. The bow varnish on top turns varying shades of yellow altering the color of the coins.

In , aluminum was used and in a pewter like metal was used; this coin oxidized badly turning the finish black. Most of this finish chips off leaving a very dull gray metal underneath. By only brass and aluminum in a new stamping was used see photo. They did not always change with a model change, but when used with other features, are still heavily used in bow dating.

I use several other procedures to identify the Bear Grayling bows that I have made into a list. I have rewritten and expanded this list that I have used for many years. Taking 30 years worth of Bear bows would take a book, but for now this list will ID most Bear models almost to the year. I am open to any and all new ideas from other collectors. I still continue research of the Kodiak model, both right and left hand serial numbers.

Any SASE will receive a reply. Good luck and good "bow hunting" during the Good Old Days! The basic information I use to identify the bows of Bear Archery Co. The early Grayling bows of were static recurves called the Deerslayer, Bush Bow and Hunter, plus three longbows called the Field, Rover and Ranger. The bear logo and model names were applied with stick on decals. The first "Bear" named bow was the Grizzly in The Kodiak and Polar appear in The Ranger continues but all previous model names are dropped.

The Cub replaces the Ranger in late The Grizzly, Kodiak and Polar longbow all have an aluminum limb lamination from to These bows should not be used! Every model Bear bow made from to mid have the Canadian patent for the working recurve design on the lower limb.

This is a patent date only, not the year of the bow! The Kodiak Special was the first bow model to drop the leather grip. Then the Kodiak in and the Grizzly lost it in This makes these years very difficult to identify by serial numbers. From to the first single digit is the year of the bow Example: The sec ond letter was the model designation.

The first year for the "coin" medallion flush with bow surface was It was copper metal that year, was aluminum, pewter.

These all have a "Flat Bear" logo. In a brass coin with a new stamping of a "Rounded Bear" logo appears. Also in a "Rounded Bear" coin in aluminum begins in the lower class bows like the Polar and Cub. This same aluminum coin reappears in the Grizzly model in to Also in and a few nickel silver coin medallions appear in top model bows. These are scattered and are identical in appearance to the aluminum. As with "all years" these coins all overlap, so precise dating could be difficult.

Late started what was called the "Button Medallion". It was positioned high up in the handle and was raised above the surface of the bow. It came in both gold and chrome covered plastic. These replaced all coin medallions and continued into Florida production.

Only the catalogs ran from January 1st to December 31st. Bow model changes ran from September to September and many times came about at any time of year. Two different versions of a model were made at the same time until orders for existing models were satisfied.

The famous wood handle takedown bow started production in August , but did not appear in the company catalog until Although discontinued in , a few "A" and "B" wood risers were assembled between to Most of these will have white serial numbers in place of gold, and also will have black plastic bear logos on the sockets instead of brown.

Also, many of the company catalogs show a model using the same picture of this model for two or more years, yet materials and glass colors may have changed each year. Handle riser wood from to was mostly Michigan maple with some walnut. In appears H. This is formica, a paper and resin laminate not ebony wood.

By all model Bear bows are made of futurewood. A colored polymer plastic impregnated maple some models as early as The last year for the Grayling, Michigan bows was when the entire plant was moved to the current Florida location. Below is my chart of the yearly production of the popular Grayling made bows. Check the Model of the bow. Below is a yearly production chart for the most popular Bear Bows.


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