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BOW REVIEW: Bear Archery’s Alaskan 2022
Bear Archery is a unique bow company. Most notable is that legendary Fred Bear founded Bear Archery back in 1933. Bear Archery offers traditional bows and modern compound bows, as well as crossbows. With the Bear Alaskan compound bow Bear Archery proves they haven’t forgotten bowhunting’s often overlooked joys: simplicity and affordability. Yes, Bear Archery has loaded high-end compounds, but it also offers affordable bows with just enough technology. Enter the Bear Alaskan.
Today’s hunting media overcomplicates bowhunting and has created price barriers to entry for outsiders looking to get started. Many can’t afford the latest super expensive high-end bow. There’s nothing wrong with having technical equipment, but the inability to own it doesn’t solely dictate the success or failure of our bowhunts.
The Hunting Public and its hit YouTube channel proves my point. They hunt with bows from Bear Archery that most folks on budgets can afford. They show the hunting community that bowhunting is affordable, and that value-priced equipment does the job. The message is clear, because they are as successful with budget bows as they were with high-end bows.
FIELD TESTING THE BEAR ALASKAN
Field Testing the new Bear Alaskan was refreshing because it’s not flashy or loaded with features too many to name. Any bowhunter who is a budget bow buyer or just looking to simplify and minimize, will get satisfaction with the Bear Alaskan in a heartbeat and carry it confidently. Here’s why.
Test Bow SpecsAxle to Axle Length: 32 inches Brace Height: 6.25 inches Draw Length: 28 inches Draw Weight: 66.4 pounds Let-off: 80% Bow-only Weight: 3.9 pounds Accessorized Total Weight: 5.3 pounds Velocity: 266 fps (with 468-grain Easton 6.5mm Acu-Carbon 340 arrow) Kinetic Energy: 73.52 foot-pounds Finish: Olive MSRP: $529.99 WEBSITE: www.beararchery.com
I feel that the bow grip can make or break the way a bow performs, especially in fast-paced hunting situations where you need to draw, aim and shoot quickly. Coming from a guy who’s held and shot scores of different bows over the last 20-some years, the Bear Alaskan has an extremely comfortable grip that was easy and comfortable to grip and shoot with.
The Alaskan’s modern yet uncomplicated styling exemplifies what bowhunters seeking simplicity expect in a new bow. It’s available in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, Throwback Black, and Olive. My test bow came in Olive, and I immediately appreciated the tactical flavor.
I specifically set up the Bear Alaskan as a typical budget bow buyer would. I bolted on a Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit V Max rest and single-pin HHA slider sight. An HHA Tetra stabilizer was the final touch before I walked outside into the sweltering 90-degree temps with to begin testing the Alaskan.
Overdelivering on Expectations
I temper my expectations any time I shoot an affordable bow. I usually expect to dig deep to find a lot of good things to say, but that simply wasn’t the case with the ear Alaskan. First, its smoothness while drawing is outstanding. The impressive smoothness is the product of new non-radical DHC Hybrid Cam, which lets off 80 percent and adjusts from 25.5-31 inches.
The Alaskan retails for half or even less than half of what typical high-end bows do. From 20-50 yards, I had no trouble settling my pin, hovering it on the kill zone on my 3-D targets and executing precise shots. For the price, and considering that most who’ll buy the Alaskan aren’t 70-yard shooters, I believe this bow delivers plenty of stability and accuracy.
As for accuracy, I got dialed at 20 yards within minutes. Every time I shoot the Alaskan at 20-30 yards, I can hit a 12-ring as long as I do my part. At 40 yards, my groups were 2 inches (diameter) and smaller. Let me add that I took the time to send some fixed-blade broadheads from 40 yards to see if the Alaskan’s broadhead accuracy mirrored its field-point accuracy. It does.
With zero tinkering, both a Helix 100 and Muzzy One hit right with my field points. I’ve had numerous bows over $1,000 that required extensive tinkering to get true fixed-blade flight, so the Bear Alaskan gets high honors from me in that department.
I spent time walking and shooting targets from odd and random distances. Whether it was 17 yards or 37, I found it easy to put arrows where I wanted them.
Whether you’re a meat hunter or you’ll be chasing a 200-inch buck this season, the Bear Alaskan will absolutely do the job for you in the accuracy department. It’s extremely deadly.
And talk about quiet and vibration-free. I expect some of each from a value bow, but the Alaskan is quieter than some high-end bows I’ve tested. No kidding. I felt no hand shock at all. I’m telling you, this bow leaves very little to be desired.
I prefer a dead-solid back wall, and while the Alaskan has draw stops, the back wall was just a little bit softer than I’m used to. I took care to focus on the amount of pressure I imparted on the wall and experienced excellent consistency. The difference didn’t affect my performance, and I know bowhunters who aren’t technical like me won’t even notice any difference.
If you like how I have reviewed the Alaskan but you’re a technology nut, then I would suggest looking at Bear Archery’s high-end Refine EKO or Redemption EKO, which are still more affordable at $999 than most competing flagship compound bows. These are loaded with more technologies, if you’re looking to push the envelope even further.
That said, if you’re tired of bowhunting being needlessly complicated, or you just don’t have $1,000 to spend on a new compound bow, the Bear Alaskan is for you. It’s a no-nonsense bowhunter’s bow through and through.
Whether you’re bowhunting Whitetails, or taking aim at a once-in-a-lifetime Yukon moose as he swaggers toward an opening 35 yards away; if you do your part, the Alaskan will deliver an accurate arrow. No doubt about it. And what more can you ask of a $529.99 bow?
The Bear Alaskan was set up using a Last Chance Archery EZ Green Bow Press and EZ Green Bow Vise, and draw weight was calculated using Last Chance Archery’s Digital Bow Scale. A Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph measured the 468-grain Easton 6.5mm Acu-Carbon 340 arrow’s velocity.
By Darron McDougal