Bear Encounter Review

Bear Encounter

Average user rating

out of 13 user reviews
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  from $150
Cabelas logo
  from $299.99


  • Excellent value
  • Simple to adjust draw length
  • Light weight
  • Smooth draw


  • Only available in Realtree APG
  • Hand shock
  • Only 310 fps IBO


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Editors' review

The 2012 Bear Encounter is a perfect for the entry level archer. You get loads of value for your dollar with its ease of use, performance, and comfort. The engineers at Bear have been making strides in recent years especially in the top end of the archery world which is now showing in the lower end of their line up with the Encounter for example. The Encounter is a new release for 2012 and is loaded with features for its price. The company really emphasizes how they listen to customers' in terms of possible improvements and developments. Although the majority of advertising and attention toward Bear is on the new Anarchy, the rest of their line is still overlooked by many. This bow is smooth, light, quiet, and easy to shoot.


The only color available on the Encounter is Realtree APG with no other options. It has a semi-gloss finish, however, it doesn't glare and seems durable. Since the bow has been released there have been no seen reports of any cracking or chipping. The one color that is available on this bow does have a good look to it.


The Riser on the Encounter measures 30.5" axel to axel. It is easy to maneuver with it being short and weighs in at a very light 3.7 lbs. The machined aluminum riser is straight and neutral with uniform cut outs. It only has one string suppressor and it is integrated lacking the dual offset string suppressors that are on many of Bear's bows now. The stabilizer bushing is stainless steal.The Bear Flared Quad Limbs are held in place by the Zero Tolerance Limb Pockets. They fit into these pockets that connect them to the riser and can still allow them to move and pivot freely. Vibration is minimized with this system. The Encounter has a 7 3/4" brace height. It shoots well for a short bow. It is forgiving although not as much as some of the longer ATA bows that aren't as easy to get around with while hunting. There is some kick on the shot.


The Encounter sports a thin two panel style grip. These side panels are simple and are found on many of the bows in Bear's line up. The geometry creates very little torque on the hand. If you are hunting in colder weather, however, it provides little for hand warmth. It has a well balanced feel.

String Suppressors

This bow lacks the dual string suppressors that many of Bear's bows have. However, the single integrated string suppressor is still effective. It has a rubber vibration dampening boot at the string receiving end. This suppressor does great and reducing vibration.

Eccentric System

The cam on the Bear Encounter is not certain, and has a draw length adjustment of 27" to 32" covering a large range of sizes with .5" increments. It is available in 50, 60, and 70lb. draw weights with an 80% let off. The E2-Cam rotates on dual stainless steal ball bearings and provides a smooth draw. There are no additional modules needed or the use of a bow press to change the draw length which is extremely handy. There are dual sealed ball-bearings in the idler wheel. This is a single cam bow with an IBO speed of 310 fps. With the bow set up at 70lbs. at a 28" draw length it shot 295 fps. Although it is not a real fast bow it would still work great for hunting almost any game.

Draw Cycle/Shoot Ability

The entire draw on this bow is smooth with a little more weight at the end. It feels fairly balanced and is easy to hold at full draw with the 80% let off. Although there is noticeable recoil at the shot the valley gives you room to work if you let up a bit too much. It has a hard back wall that isn't hard to hold. The Encounter is quiet with minimal vibration, however, a stabilizer would still increase its balance. Vibration is limited with the string suppressor and the slide type cable guard does its job well. Roller guard systems are smoother, but are usually only available on higher end bows.

Silencing Package

This bow is pleasantly quiet and more so than most in its price range. Sound and vibration are nearly deadened with the string suppressor. There are no additional gadgets on the string to silent the shot and aren't needed. Without them they won't decrease the string speed either. Also assisting to silence the bow are the limb pockets.


BowBear EncounterBear Legion
Version 20132013
PictureBear EncounterBear Legion
Brace Height7.75 "7 "
AtA Length30.5 "30.5 "
Draw Length27 " - 32 "26 " - 31 "
Draw Weight40 lbs - 70 lbs40 lbs - 70 lbs
IBO Speed310 fps318 fps
Weight3.7 lbs4.0 lbs
Let-Off80% 80%
Where to buy
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The Bear Encounter is one notch below the Bear Legion in their line up. The largest difference between these two bows is the riser. The Encounter is a neutral machined aluminum riser with a single string suppressor and the Legion has a thicker, slightly heavier, riser with the Dual Arc Offset String Suppressors. The Encounter has a .75" longer brace height, however it is 8fps slower. Their ATAs are the same, but the Encounter is lighter by .3lbs weighing only 3.7lbs. The majority of the other features between these two bows are almost identical. The Legion costs $100 more and has a little better look with some additional speed.

Perfect Usage

This bow is excellent for hunting or recreational shooting. It would be perfect for any entry level hunter and would even suit most seasoned hunters. The occasional 3D shooter would also find this bow satisfying. The Encounter is light weight, comfortable, and smooth with a lot of adjustment to appease a large range of archers.


When people think of value this bow should be toward the top of the list. The only thing cheap on the Encounter is its price. It is a great addition to Bear's line up that fills another price range perfectly. This bow will do everything and more that is essential for hunting. It is also available in a ready to hunt package (RTH) that comes equipped with Trophy Ridge components, a string loop, and a peep sight. The Bear/Trophy Ridge customer service department is as good as it gets as far as supporting their products and being eager to help.


If you are a hunter on a budget or at the entry level stage of archery this bow is ideal for you. With it being new to Bear's line up it is probably their most practical bow available. The engineering from Bear, including their single cam technology, is still increasing over the past few years which is evident on the entire line. The entire bow is light and comfortable making it an even better value. The recoil isn't significant enough to make it difficult to shoot. The Encounter would please many shooters with its range of draw weights and ease to adjust. For the price you can't go wrong with a MSRP of just $299. The RTH package is only $399.

User Reviews

  • 13 reviews
  • ( out of 13 reviews for all versions)
Great bow for 300$:)

Version: 2012 Bear Encounter


Pros: Sharp and forgiving,also love the look and feel of it,very light...

Cons: Cam is leaving some markings on the strings which has been addressed on new bows covering that part of string with plastic..

Full review:

Have this bow for over a year now and for my size (32 draw) it is a perfect match for the price i paid...I am occasional shooter but never the less I do like quality products and in my opinion Encounter is one of it.When Dialed in this bow has very little movement in your wrist and it's very forgiving....

I wanted a bang up bow for hunting for a bang up price... I got it! Awesome bow!!!

Version: 2012 Bear Encounter


Pros: I was looking for the best quality bow for the price. I shot three others including the bear encounter and decided on the bear for price, comfort and shoot ability.

Cons: Price... It would have been awesome to have the bow RTH for $100 plus less. Who wouldn't want that?!

Full review:

Just getting back into Bow Hunting, amazing rig for the price.

Version: 2013 Bear Encounter


Pros: Shootablility, lighter weight, very forgiving, smooth draw

Cons: Factory peep

Full review:

I bought this bow simply because the price was right (on sale $299 RTH) and I found it before anyone else did. I shot the Outbreak, Legion, and Diamond Razor Edge. This is by far the best out of all that I shot. It is smooth, easy to adjust and very forgiving. I have been out of bows for the 10+ years and owned this bow for 2 months when I took 3rd in a 3D comp. I couldn't be happier with this bow. Between 20 and 35 yrd shots, drop off is minimal. The I got mine at the bow only price so chaning out accessories isn't a big deal. I would recommend getting the bow only package and then buy your own add-ons. All in all it is well worth the money and I don't think anyone would be unhappy with it.

Great value for a long draw bow.

Version: 2013 Bear Encounter


Pros: One heck of a bow for the price: smooth draw, solid back wall, quiet release.

Cons: Short axle to axle length.

Full review:

Having a 32" draw length, there aren't many options for me, as far as bows go. Overall, the encounter is a slid choice for long draw length archers, but the best part is the price. This is not a cheap bow by any means. The quality is on par with more expensive models, and the fit/finish is not far behind. Bear did not cut any corners at all. This bow may not have the latest features or fastest IBO speed, but Its still a solid contender. I wouldn't hesitate to hunt with it any day of the season. The only thing I don't like is the short axle to axle length, but I wouldn't even call that a con. If you're looking for a good bow that won't break the bank, or if value is more important to you than flat out speed, this is the bow you're looking for.

Great bow for the price

Version: 2013 Bear Encounter


Pros: Lightweight, quiet release, like the short axle to axle length

Cons: Replace the peep and upgrade to a smaller diameter it will increase your accuracy

Full review:

Overall very well worth the money will get the job done, I'm shooting a 28 inch draw but still drives arrows pretty fast little to no drop off up to 35 yards. I'm shooting 250 grain arrows with 100 broad heads I have the bow dialed down to 62 pounds, if your pulling full draw weight of 70 ya might want to upgrade to 350's for safety reasons good bow very pleased with this product after years of lay off from bow hunting.

Perfect for the price!

Version: 2012 Bear Encounter


Pros: Performance way above the price, fits my long draw.

Cons: Really dont have any cons, works perfect for my needs.

Full review:

Got back into bow hunting and shooting back in 2012, picked up the Bear Encounter RTH in lefty, very accurate, fast and quiet. Ive knocked down a few deer, many woodchucks and hold my own shooting target or 3D. Ive had zero issues with the bow, paper tuned it after two years of shooting and it was still perfect. For the money it cant be beat, im sure it will hang with other high dollar bows.

It out shot the more expensive bows for me. Can't find a better deal for the price!

Version: 2013 Bear Encounter


Pros: This bow is a pleasure to shoot. I love the short axle to axle and it fits me well because I'm a smaller guy. It draws very smooth and has a solid back wall. You can't get a better bow in it's price range.

Cons: I've had no problems with this bow and just love it! If your just a total speed freak then it may not be for you but I'm thinking I could put an arrow in your ass faster then you can run! It's rated at 310 FPS at a 30 draw.

Full review:

I grew up with Fred Bear and Jennings bows back in the day and they were the leaders in bows back then. I haven't bought a new bow in over 25 years and Bear is still producing quality bows. The ENCOUNTER is a lot of bang for the buck and out shot many more expensive bows that I tried and you can not find a better bow for it's price. This bow is very well constructed, easy to handle, easy to adjust and a pleasure to shoot. I've owned this bow for a few months and shoot 36 arrows every day with no issues with this bow and just love it! So if your bow doesn't have to be a Hoyt or a Martin and your thinking with your head and not your ego you should shoot the Encounter because it is a really great bow and I still can't believe I could buy it for $299.00 RTH. This bow is an outstanding value.

really quite and accuret .

Version: 2013 Bear Encounter


Pros: Really smoth draw fallow threw just as Smith quite fast...

Cons: I have not had any problems

Full review:

I love this bow my others bear. I would recommend this bow to any new buyers I dropped three deer two seasons never heard seen it coming trust me I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true I have had three bear bow each one gets better I shot squials rabbits turkey coyotes never had any problems really good for turnaments and short compact really light wait. I put shock absorbers on string and limb savers. On limbs. 8 inch stable lizers. Lighted sights.

Perfection for the price!!

Version: 2013 Bear Encounter


Pros: Long draw capabilities.shoots better than most mid level bows! Smooth draw. 80% let off

Cons: Short ata

Full review:

Mine shoots 475 grain arrow at 295fps. Bought this bow because of price but kept the bow cause of its shooting abilities. Did not think I would like the skinny grip but it does provide a torque free grip if your hand is on it right

Light-weight and powerful!

Version: 2013 Bear Encounter


Pros: Everything. Cost, light-weight, Short Axle to axle (30.5"), quiet, durable, looks sexy.

Cons: Hmm... What don't I like about my bow? Nothing. No cons that I can think of.

Full review:

I was gifted the Bear Encounter Christmas of 2014. My sister bought it for me, it was a bare bow. I put on a Tru-Glow Micro Brite 5 pin sight, a Ripcord Code Red drop away rest and I was set. I have been shooting this bow for over a year now, on the same factory string, which is still in great condition. I wax it every other time I shoot it. I have nothing but praise for this bow, I have taken it rabbit, squirrel, and deer hunting. I have a 30.5" or 31" draw and am pulling about 65 LBS. The draw is smooth, let-off is smooth, and accurate. I do not have a front stabilizer on the bow, I may add one in the future. 10/10, next bow will be a Bear.

Got $300 to spend on a bow? Don't even consider looking any where else.

Version: 2013 Bear Encounter


Pros: Smooth, shoots fast and flat.

Cons: None

Full review:

I'm 72 and going back into bow hunting because my son and granddaughter are in it. I bought a Bear, Encounter with a 53 lb. pull and a nice target for practice. I don't have enough room at home to shoot, but I did line the sights up at 5 yards. I had a chance to take it out in the field and set the target at 25 yards. I put 18 arrows in a 12 in. circle without touching the sights. This bow was remarkable. It shoots fast, flat and quiet. I was told that a 50 lb. bow is more than enough to bring a deer down so that's what I purchased. I'm also using a Tru-Fire quick release and carbon arrows. I also plan to replace the sight with a single bar sight. Just a preference of mine.

Good bow I've had it a month or 2 shoots well

Version: 2013 Bear Encounter


Pros: Accurate, smooth, and really balanced bow

Cons: Grip is slightly slippery and bulky

Full review:

the grip is slippery when it gets sweat on it also easily torqued grip other than these minor issues at one point I was shooting 55 yards and hitting right where I wanted to all day I'm just going to wait it out because I also have a diamond razor edge with amazing accuracy and I'm getting the bowtech carbon knight going to see if it stands up to the legacy it has I've seen 70 yard heart shots on woodchucks....boom

I am in love with this bow. First bow I have ever owned and I got a huge bang for my buck

Version: 2012 Bear Encounter


Pros: Easy to shoot, even for entry level hunter Can't find a better entry level bow for it's price. I'm advanced and I still shoot it

Cons: The only con I have is it came with a bigger peep sight. I got mine changed but it's very forgiving anyways so really its an amazing bow

Full review:

Was easy to shoot and sight in, really took no time at all. I have a 32 inch draw and set it at 70 pounds, smooth shots and placed my arrows right on my target. Even compared to high priced PSE and Hoyt bows, this bow does exactly what those do and at half the price. I love it, Bear sold me with this bow

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