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Promo Image: Jack’s Journal: Fred Bear

Jack’s Journal: Fred Bear

In the small village of Fredrick, the local snowmobile shop is quiet on a fall morning, so it was a good day to talk bow hunting.

I know what you’re thinking, “At a snowmobile shop?”

Yep, that’s the story. Pete is a big collector of Fred Bear memorabilia. Some may ask, who’s Fred Bear?

“He pretty much changed the archery industry. Back in the days he started, there was no place to buy mass produced bows and arrows. People had to make them,” explains Pete Kocefas.

Fred Bear changed that in 1947 when he opened his factory in Grayling, at one point being the biggest employer with 350. 

He was all about building up the sport of bow hunting, and filming some of his big game hunts to prove a bow’s effectiveness was a big part of it. 

But with all his celebrity, he was still a Grayling boy and was always around town. A young Pete would see him, but never approached him.

“I use to see him around town all the time. I might have said hi to him, but never sat down and talked to him, or shook hands. I’d see him every day downtown getting out of his yellow Cougar,” says Pete.

The plant and museum eventually was moved to Florida, when the company was sold. It was after that, that Pete decided to collect: Fred Bears bibs from his Alaskan hunt, hundreds of bow’s and personal items, the archery in a box for local schools.

“I thought I’d start collecting Fred Bear stuff,” explains Pete. “I’ve had a fantastic time. I’ve met a lot of cool people over the years.”

So does this mean that the back of his back room is now the unofficial museum where folks can come and see all things Fred Bear?

“Yes, but call me first,” says Pete.

Fred Bear is an icon for outdoorsman nationwide, here in the heart of Michigan he will always be Grayling’s favorite son.