Compound bow use isn’t just about looking cool in the field, but you will when you use Bear Compound Bows! But, it’s also about making memories that you can pass on down from generation to generation. There’s something primal and deep in our human ancestry that keeps us coming back to manual-use tools and weapons. We get so much satisfaction out of archery.
Compound bows have exploded in popularity, and there are many manufacturers out there. Some of the best known ones are Hoyt, Darton Archery, Diamond Archery, and the one we’ll be discussing today: Bear Archery.
Bear Archery Compound Bow Models
Bear Archery was started by Fred Bear, born in raised in Pennsylvania. He was a pioneer in the sport of bow hunting, patenting both a shooting glove and quiver in the 1940’s. He also won numerous target archery competitions.
Bear Archery continues its fine tradition of creating quality compound bows. They currently feature thirteen models, ranging from 345 fps (feet per second) to 290 fps. Depending on the model, they each have a different draw length:
• With a draw weight between 55 and 70 lbs., the draw length range is 25” – 30”
• With a draw weight between 45 and 60 lbs., the draw length range is 27” – 32”
• With a draw weight between 35 and 50 lbs., the draw length range is 23” – 28”
• With a draw weight between 5 and 70 lbs., the draw length range is 12” – 30”
Draw Weight vs. Draw Length
The draw weight and draw length are two different measurements, as you can see. Draw weight is adjusted using bolts that you can turn to either increase or decrease your weight limit. Less weight means the bow is easier to shoot, and more weight increases the difficulty. When you’re adjusting draw weight, you adjust to your own body and what you can physically handle.
Draw length is different. This is the distance between the nock point where the arrow sits on the arrow rest to the throat of your grip on the string, plus an extra 1 ¾”. The longer your draw length, the longer the power stroke of the compound bow, making the arrow speed faster.
Draw length is also determined by your actual physical size, as the archer. One of the things that makes archery so special is that you’re physically interacting with it, so you have to use one that’s within range of your draw length.
Traditional recurve bows and longbows can be drawn back as far as you want to go. Their draw length range is impressive.
However, compound bows – including all those made by Bear Archery – have been mechanically engineered to draw back only as far as the manufacturer has determined, based on their size and draw weight; then the bow stops, and you can’t pull back any further. In addition, these bows are not designed to be pulled half-way. You have to draw them all the way back to that full stop point. Or you won’t be able to shoot.
It’s much easier to experience draw length than it is to explain it. Suffice it to say, when you pull the arrow back, you’ll feel that mechanical stop function; you won’t be able to go any further. Then, it’s just a matter of aiming and shooting.
Finding Your Draw Length
With your Bear Compound Bow, you want to match your actual draw length to the range suggested above, depending on the model. Have a friend or partner help you find your actual length by following the below steps:
• Stand flat against a wall with your arms out and parallel to the floor, the backs of your hands flat against the wall, and your posture straight
• Have a friend measure from the tip of one middle finger all the way to the tip of the other, to get your total arm span length
• Divide that number by 2.5 to get your draw length
It’s better to round down.
Typically, a person 6’0” in height will have about a 29” draw length, so they’ll need to find a bow for that range. Be warned not to try compound bows outside of your draw length, because you will sacrifice accuracy and physical comfort in the process.
Adjusting Draw Length on a Compound Bow – Can it Be Done?
You never want to make the mistake of overdrawing your Bear Compound Bow. It will not only potentially hurt you physically (sore muscles will prevent you from shooting), but it can also damage your bow because it was only designed for a certain small draw length range.
But what if you have grown taller, your arm span is wider, and you still want to use your same compound bow, but need a different draw length? You’d have to purchase new cams that are specifically designed for your new draw length range. Search for your particular Bear model online, or call Bear Archery and talk to them about finding replacement cams.
There are different types of cams on the market: draw length specific cams, adjustable cams, and modular cams. Each have slightly different features.
Once you have your replacement cams, you’ll need to use a bow press to replace them. Put your bow in the press on its side, with the cams and risers facing you. Unstring the bow and remove both the bus cable and the control cable(s).
Using a hexagonal wrench or an Allen wrench, carefully loosen the bolts on the existing cams. Gently lift up the cams off the risers. Place the new cams on the risers according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions and tighten the bolts.
Then you’re ready to restring your bow.
Longer Isn’t Always Better
Bear Archery produces incredible compound bows, so you have an excellent piece of field equipment. A longer draw length isn’t always better. It’s much more important that you work with your bow, use it properly within its draw length range, and that you are physically comfortable shooting it.