Bear Wild Review
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Editors' reviewBear has always been a company focused on high quality bows and great value in their hunting lineup, and the Wild is no exception to that rule. The Wild comes as a bare bow for the low price of $399, or fully rigged out with the Bear Ready to Hunt (RTH) package for only $499. Shooters are able to spend $1000 or more on a bare bow in the 2016 market, and is it reassuring to find a bow with some significant value that is at an affordable price point. When compared to other Bear models, the Wild is quite a bit slower than those at the higher price points, coming in with an IBO rating of only 310 feet per second. That is with a brace height of over 7-inches, and 80% let-off, but it is still slow compared to the industry expectations for 2016. The single cam system has 7-inches of draw length adjustment, which can all be made by simply rotating the module on the bottom cam to the proper draw length. It also has a nice axel-to-axel measurement of 32 1/4-inches allowing shooters to have a stable platform combined with a fairly compact overall length.
Ready To Hunt (RTH) PackageThe Bear Wild is an amazing value, especially when considering the factory installed Ready to Hunt package. The RTH accessory set up will come with everything shooters need to be successful in the woods with the exception of broad heads, arrows, and a release. As always, Bear Archery is outfitting their bows with Trophy Ridge accessories. The accessories will not have some of the micro adjustment some higher end accessories have, but for $100, it is a great started kit. Without micro adjustment, it will just take a little longer to get everything dialed in just the way a shooter wants it. The package will come with a whisker biscuit rest, a 3-pin sight, a stabilizer and sling, a five-arrow quiver, a peep sight, and a D-loop.
FinishA lot of times, the more budget friendly models only feature one finish option and shooters are forced to take it or leave it. The Wild is different in that it is available in several options. It is also sold at many of the larger box stores, which means it should not be too difficult to track down a particular finish option a shooter is interested in. For those wanting a simple camo look, Realtree X-tra Green is the pattern of choice, matching the higher end flagship models for Bear Archery. Those wanting a bit different look and feel, have the option to choose between Shadow, Sand, Olive, and Orange. Just like other Bear bows, the finish is dipped on the riser, and actually does a nice job completely covering the surfaces located on the riser and even the designed cutouts.
RiserThe machined aluminum riser featured on the Wild takes on a bit different look compared to the more rigid look of the higher end Bear models. The Wild cutouts are a bit more rounded, and give the look a tamer look than some other Bear bows. To add to the differences, the Wild riser does not feature dual string stop systems. Instead, there is one more traditional looking string stop system on the bottom of the riser. The offset string suppressor has a little bit of adjustment, but most shooters will keep it at the factory setting right out of the box. Somewhat in line with this string stop system is a mounting hole for the stabilizer to help offset some accessory weight to balance the bow or added vibration dampening. The cable slide rod is a bit old school for 2016, but the function and design is tried and true. The traditional cable slide system does not have a roller system, or a moving slide, which is a bit off putting for some shooters. With that said, the traditional cable slide system has been around a while, and will continue to be functionally sound.
GripThe Bear Wild grip is pretty simplistic, and comes as an integrated part of the riser design. There is a side plate installed on each side of the riser held to the bow with twos screws on each side. The side plates do not really add much to the fit and feel of the overall design, but it does add some Bear logos and a bit more finished look. The grip has a thinner feel, but does feel great in the shooters hand while at full draw. For those coming from a thicker grip on an older model bow, there may be a little adjustment time, but it does feel great after some practice, and helps with keeping proper and consistent form shot after shot.
LimbsWith all Bear compound models; the Wild also gets a set of split limbs to store the energy from the S7 single cam system as it is drawn. The split limbs are securely fastened to the riser of the bow with a composite limb pocket, which is black on each of the finish options offered. Regardless of which finish pattern customers choose, the limbs will also be black for each model. Bear offers two separate limb choices, the 50-60-pound model, and the 60-70-pound model. Although the bow is pretty quiet as is, shooters can choose to add a set of after market dampeners if desired. However, no limb dampeners come on the bow from the factory.
Eccentric SystemThe Wild is drive by the weighted perimeter S7 single cam system, which produces IBO rated speeds up to 310 feet per second with a 7 1/4 - inch brace height and 80% let-off. Some shooters will be disappointed with the speed produced, but other will love the smooth drawing system, and have nothing negative to say about how smoothly the bow shoots. The cam has a rotating module system, which allows for quick and easy half-inch draw length adjustments without the need for a bow press. The cam system can accommodate shooters from 24 all the way out to 31-inches. Between the major cam systems, each has pros and cons. However, the single cam has historically been the easiest tuning system. The Bear Wild will be pretty straight forward to get set perfectly for the shooter in a relatively short time frame.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe Wild is a really nice shooting bow, and when price is factored in to the equation, it is pretty tough to beat. The S7 single cam draws nicely from start to finish, and the 80% let off is pretty easy to get used to. Some of the markets high performance speed bows have a lower let-off, resulting in more holding weight at the back end. Although some shooters prefer this, the 80% let-off is nice to keep at full draw and will be helpful to shooters in a hunting situation needing to hold just a little longer than planned if the target animal hangs up before entering a shooting lane. The draw cycle starts out pretty easily, and does not reach peak weight too quickly. Shooters have the luxury of pulling into the draw cycle a bit before the increase starts to head towards peak weight. The let-off into the valley and finally the back wall is an easy transition to make, but going from peak weight to only 20% of that weight is a bit of a change shooters will notice. The back wall is a bit spongy, but it does have a traditional single cam feel while pulling into it. There is a little room to creep with the Wild without the bow wanting to do bad things to the shooters shoulders, and letting the bow down is not too much of a hassle either past the initial push of the string forward. The 32 1/4 - inch axel to axel measurement, combined with a 4-pound bare bow does make the Wild a pretty solid holder on target, and the string angle is pretty comfortable for shooters to keep an upright head position maintaining proper form. After the shot, the arrow speeds of 310 feet per second still seem plenty fast, although there is not the same slap of the arrow on target. The 7 1/4- inch brace height is something most shooters will not necessarily feel, but should see the benefit of with increased forgiveness and improved accuracy. Overall, the feel of the Wild is pretty great for the price point. It draws well, holds on target, has a pretty silent release, and shoots with okay performance even though it is a bit on the slow side topping out at only 310 feet per second.
Usage ScenariosThe Wild is no doubt a hunting bow. It could be marketed towards a few different demographics, but those not wanting to break the bank on a new rig should give the Wild a look, it will be a solid performer.
Bear Wild vs. Bear Marshal
|Bow||Bear Wild||Bear Marshal|
|Brace Height||7.25 "||6.75 "|
|AtA Length||32.25 "||31.125 "|
|Draw Length||24 " - 31 "||23 " - 30 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 70 lbs||50 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||310 fps||320 fps|
|Weight||4.0 lbs||4.0 lbs|
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Shooters looking for some budget friendly Bear bows will more than likely have these two on their "Must Try" list. These bows are similar in specifications with the Wild being a bit longer axel-to-axel, and a little slower. Both bows feature the S7 cam system, and the speed is primarily caused by the difference in the brace height between the two models. The Bear Marshal has the dual string stop system as well, but these few minor differences may not be worth the $100 difference in the MSRP for some shooters. Both models are great bows for the market at this level, but the final decision will more than likely be made based on personal preference, not by comparing the specification sheet between the two bows.