The 2018 Bear Species is taking the industry by storm for an entry level, adult hunting bow. This single cam rig will make a great first hunting bow with some favorable specifications including a 31-inch axel-to-axel measurement, 80% let-off, 23-30-inches of draw length adjustment, and a characteristically smooth single cam draw cycle. For $399, the Species comes fully loaded with everything shooters need to get them started. Granted, some shooters may want to upgrade the accessories, and 320 feet per second is far from fast for 2018 standards, but for everything the Species has to offer, those cons are getting pretty nitpicky. For adult archers wanting to get started in the world of archery, the Bear Species is very tough to beat.
The Bear Species mixes in three finish options for shooters to choose from. Each of the three finishes are applied to the riser only and has solid black limbs with a simple Bear logo and the "Species" name displayed. The Species name is written in bright orange font to match the strings and cables, which gives the bow a bit of flash and more of a custom bow look. For riser finishes, Bear decided to offer three camo patterns, which include Realtree Edge, Kryptek Highlander, and Truetimber Kanati. For a budget friendly bow, it is really cool to see camo patterns not commonly offered on compound bows. This helps give the Species more of a high-end look and feel, and really off sets it from other budget friendly bows. As with any other Bear finish, this one is well done, has no blemishes, and is sure to last as long as the bow does.
Part of the draw for the Species is that it comes fully loaded with the accessories shooters need to get started in the bow-hunting world. These accessories are straight from the factory, and included in the $399 price tag. Depending on the shooter, some may choose to upgrade these accessories, but they are a nice starting point to get new shooters going right away without having to do a ton of research or make a bunch of decisions. The Ready to Hunt package includes a Trophy Ridge 4-pin sight, a Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit rest, a Trophy Ridge 5-arrow quiver, a peep sight, and a nock loop.RiserThe riser on the Species is clearly part of the Bear lineage, but it does have some differences when compared to the flagship Kuma model. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the single string stop on the Species versus the dual string stop systems on some of the higher end Legend Series bows. This string stop system is located on the bottom of the riser, and works in conjunction with the front mounting stabilizer bushing to get vibration away from the shooters hand caused after the arrow is released. Engineers trimmed enough of the riser away to get the bare bow weight of the Species right at the 4-pound mark, which is a good weight for a compact 31-inch axel-to-axel bow. The brace height is 6 3/4- inches, and leans towards forgiveness while still offering acceptable speeds for a single cam rig. The cable containment system is a traditional rod and slide design, and does not feature the most advanced technology Bear has to offer in the HingeGuard. However, with a single cam, the torque on the riser is not as substantial as the torque placed on the riser from a hybrid cam system, so the tried and true cable slide will get the job done well.
The grip is pretty comfortable for an entry-level bow and has a similar shape and feel to previous Bear flagship models. The grip on the Species is built right in to the riser, and has some design side plates with the Bear name attached to both sides. These side plates do not have much of a function in terms of shape or feel, but the Bear name braded on the side gives the bow a little more of a high-end finish. The grip has rounded edges for comfort where it meets the shooters hand, and has a flat back, which is perfect for placing in the proper location for repeatability and accuracy purposes. Entry level shooters should have no problem at all getting comfortable with this part of the bow, and will benefit from the repeatability it has to offer.
Bear offers the Species with two limb configurations to meet the 25-pound draw weight range available. Shooters can opt for the lighter of the two limb options with 45-60-pounds, or the heavier version with 55-70-pounds. The split limb design uses Bear's Enduafiber technology, which has a unique shape to more equally distribute the load throughout the limb. This should help add longevity to the limbs, and keep the flexing consistent shot after shot helping out with accuracy as well. The limbs are held to the riser with the Bear Lock Down Pocket System. This system uses a limb boot, half round clamp, lock down washer, and tangs to provide what Bear claims is the most accurate riser to pocket limb to limb alignment in the industry. Bear is serious in creating one of the best adult entry-level bows on the market with the incorporation of all of this technology.
The Species has a basic single cam design capable of shooting speeds up to 320 feet per second. For anyone researching speeds, this number is not very impressive. However, the smooth drawing, easy to manage draw force curve may be more important for shooters just getting started in the archery world, and for that reason, the slower single cam speeds become a little more acceptable. The single cam also has 7-inches of adjustment ranging from 23-30-inches with a rotating module. Draw lengths can be changed without needing any special tools or a bow press, to allow shooters to fine tune their own rigs a bit. The Species cam has a high 80% let-off, which is really easy to get used to as well. Another benefit of single cam technology, not necessarily felt by shooters is the ease of tuning. The single cam has a working wheel and a standard wheel on the top making it less likely to get out of tune. It also requires no syncing between the top and bottom wheels, so once it is set, there should be very little maintenance as the system is shot.
Single cam bows are known for them smooth draw cycles, and the Species does not break that stereotype at all. This bow is super smooth from start to finish, and has a solid back wall. With 80% let-off, the Species is effortless to hold on target, and this will come in handy for first timers in the woods wearing extra clothes and heart racing. Not having to fight the cam system is priceless during the moment of truth for anyone, but especially new hunters who have not experienced everything that happens during the small window of opportunity when trying to harvest a game animal. After the shot, the Species stays on target. The bow is quiet and has no felt hand shock after accessories have been installed. In regards to accuracy, the 31-inch axel to axel measurement may be a little short for some shooters at the top end of the draw length range. The string angle is comfortable for a compact bow, and the maneuverability will be great in the tree stand or ground blind. However, shooters at the 30-inch draw length measurement may want to try out a longer axel to axel bow to see which one is more comfortable shooting. Overall, the Species performs as expected for a 320 feet per second single cam bow with 80% let-off.
The Species is an entry level, adult hunting bow. For those just getting started in the sport, it can be intimidating to see prices over $1000 just for a bow. The Species comes fully rigged for only $399, which allows shooters to get a great shooting bow, and have some money left over to purchase clothing, stands, calls, broadheads, etc. For those just starting out, or for anyone wanting a good back up bow in case something happens to their other rig, the Species bow is hard to beat.
Bear has always produced bows for every single shooter on the spectrum of hunting bows. The 2018 Species is designed to be an entry-level bow for adults wanting to give hunting a try, and it does not disappoint. For only $399, shooters get a great bow, backed by an outstanding name to help them get started in a sport where personal preferences force an endless number of options. Bear takes out all the guesswork, by giving shooters a fully rigged out bow with some pretty great shootability characteristics. Are the accessories the best offered on the market? Probably not, but it allows shooters to get started and get comfortable just shooting a bow, and upgrades can easily be made later on. Bear knew what they were doing in offering an entry-level bow in a single cam offering due to the smooth draw cycle and ease of shooting. However, the 320 feet per second speed rating is not too thrilling. For someone just getting started in the world of bow hunting, it would be tough to find a better package deal for $399.