Skip to main content

The Legacy of a Bear Whitetail

The Legacy of a Bear Whitetail

No one in the room could have guessed how that Bear Whitetail would shape our lives.

"Don't breath a word to your dad, or else," she said.

The tone in her voice left little doubt she meant every word. If either my brother or I as much as hinted about her purchase, we'd never hear the end of how we had spoiled her surprise.

As we traveled home from the sporting goods store, I felt an overwhelming sense of anticipation. There, tucked securely in the back seat of our family's AMC Rambler, was the Christmas gift mom had worked so hard to acquire.


A long brown box stretched from the floorboard to the top of the back seat. I was proud of my mom and excited for my dad, but little did I know the contents of that box would impact generations to come.


Christmas always came early around our place. Just after sunrise the old farmhouse would be filled with the sound of running feet and excited voices — this Christmas was no exception.

After dad had a cup of coffee and ate his pecan sandies, I was allowed to make a phone call to my grandparents. Although they only lived a few miles away, it was our family tradition to never open a gift until grandpa and grandma arrived. As a youngster it seemed like eternity before I saw my grandparent's Mercury coming down the country road.

Bear Whitetail For Christmas

When it came time to distribute the gifts, mom always played Santa.


She'd remember who was to receive which gift by placing a hidden mark on the top of each package.

This Christmas there was one box that didn't need a secret code. Although we were excited about our own gifts, we couldn't wait for dad to open the long rectangular box mom had hidden behind the Christmas tree.

"What's this!" my father exclaimed.


As mom handed him the long, brown box a smile broke out on his usually somber face. "Patty, did you€¦?"

It was dad's way of saying he suspected what was in the box, yet he wanted mom to know he appreciated the thought.

I quickly caught on that dad had already guessed what mom had bought him.

Today bowhunting is etched deep within our lifestyle. My son's successes, and my dad's smiles, can be directly attributed to that Bear Whitetail. Photo: R. Hynes

Borrowing grandpa's penknife, dad finished cutting the last piece of packing tape and carefully drew the shiny brown riser from its factory packaging. I stared in amazement at my father's new bow.

There it was, a brand new Bear Whitetail.

This was the very bow dad had been telling us he wanted, and the exact bow I had watched mom buy in the sporting goods store.

No one in that room could have guessed how that bow would shape our lives. Within a couple years, I went on my first bowhunt. Two years later, my brother went on his. Twenty-three years later, I took my own son to an archery shop so he could pick out his first "real" bow.

Today bowhunting is etched deep within our lifestyle. The recipient of the Bear Whitetail, known as 'Papa' to my three boys, makes sure his grandsons have a place to hunt on his farm each fall. Every deer my boys harvest is followed by a phone call to Papa just to give him a rundown of the successful hunt.

My son's successes, and my dad's smiles, can be directly attributed to that Bear Whitetail.

It's hard to imagine that one man's desire to bowhunt, one Christmas gift, and one Bear Whitetail could have such an impact on three generations.

I'm not sure what happened to the Bear Whitetail. I often wonder where it ended up. What I do know is that Bear Whitetail left a legacy — a legacy that's only just begun.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tree Saddle Hunting: Best Platforms & Ring of Steps

Tree Saddle Hunting: Best Platforms & Ring of Steps

We all need a spot to place our feet in life … and even more so when in the saddle. The two options are a platform or ring-of-steps. For longer hunts, platforms are more comfortable and most familiar. Ring-of-steps are lighter and easier to pack for shorter-duration hunts and long hikes.

Canyon Ranch Bowhunt

Canyon Ranch Bowhunt

Bowhunter Equipment Editor Tony Peterson sees plenty of action while hunting whitetails and hogs in Texas.

Better Bow Accuracy: Release Arm Alignment

Better Bow Accuracy: Release Arm Alignment

On this edition of "Dead On," pro archer Randy Ulmer shows you how to properly align your release arm for better accuracy and bowhunting practice.

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Bowhunter contributor Matt Palmquist witnesses a hen trying to destroy one of his decoys while hunting turkeys in Kansas.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when choosing heavy vs. light arrows for bowhunting.How to Choose the Best Hunting Arrow - Heavy vs. Light How-To

How to Choose the Best Hunting Arrow - Heavy vs. Light

Curt Wells

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when...

As a bowhunter, you need complete faith in your physical ability to hike in to your hunting ground, stalk your prey, pull your bow stealthily and pack out your animal. That means it's essential to train for your hunt.10 Workout Routines Every Bowhunter Should Master How-To

10 Workout Routines Every Bowhunter Should Master

Adam Holt

As a bowhunter, you need complete faith in your physical ability to hike in to your hunting...

Go farther, hunt deeper, and trek lighter while enjoying all-day comfort.Tree Saddle Hunting — Demo Climb With Aider How-To

Tree Saddle Hunting — Demo Climb With Aider

Mike Carney - June 07, 2019

Go farther, hunt deeper, and trek lighter while enjoying all-day comfort.

 Cooking venison in camp is the best way to celebrate success.Fresh Meat: Cooking Venison in Camp Recipes

Fresh Meat: Cooking Venison in Camp

David Draper

Cooking venison in camp is the best way to celebrate success.

See More Trending Articles

More Industry

Ulmer hits another major milestone with latest September harvest.Randy Ulmer Surpasses 5,000 Inches of Muley Mass Industry

Randy Ulmer Surpasses 5,000 Inches of Muley Mass

Staff reports

Ulmer hits another major milestone with latest September harvest.

A new hunter-harvested world-record bighorn was arrowed by Clayton Miller in South Dakota.South Dakota Bighorn Ram Confirmed as New Hunter-Harvested World Record Industry

South Dakota Bighorn Ram Confirmed as New Hunter-Harvested World Record

Lynn Burkhead - February 04, 2019

A new hunter-harvested world-record bighorn was arrowed by Clayton Miller in South Dakota.

Spring bear hunts canceled in Washington, while Alaska halts all non-resident bear hunting.COVID-19 Stops Washington Bear Season, Alters Alaska Industry

COVID-19 Stops Washington Bear Season, Alters Alaska

Lynn Burkhead

Spring bear hunts canceled in Washington, while Alaska halts all non-resident bear hunting.

The bowhunting and whitetail hunting communities were saddened over the Memorial Day holidayBowhunting Legend, World Record Holder Mel Johnson Dies at 84 Industry

Bowhunting Legend, World Record Holder Mel Johnson Dies at 84

Lynn Burkhead - May 29, 2018

The bowhunting and whitetail hunting communities were saddened over the Memorial Day holiday

See More Industry

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Bowhunter App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now