AtA Length / Weight
|Bear Archery Encounter|
See Today's Price on Cabelas
|50, 60, 70 lbs.||27" - 32"||7.75"|
How To Choose Arrows
|310 FPS||80%||30.5" / 3.7 lbs.|
- Fantastic value for beginner adults
- Suitble for very tall archers (up to 32″ draw length)
- Very compact design, perfect for hunting
- Enough kinetic energy to take down any game (given the right bow settings)
- Comes with a stabilizer and wrist sling
- Draw cycle is perfect for beginners
- Mediocre quality of included sight (plastic)
- Allen keys for adjusting sight not included
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The Bear Archery Encounter At a Glance
Welcome to our Bear Archery Encounter review. This compound bow was, in my mind, designed for beginner archers who are savvy enough to look for the best bang for their buck. It’s really a perfect introductory package that will work well regardless of your goals (hunting/target practice), and regardless of your size and draw length. Highly recommended.
Package Contents & Accessories
The RTH (Ready-To-Hunt) Encounter package includes the following items:
- Bow (riser, limbs, cam system, cables, string, string stopper)
- Trophy Ridge 3-pin sight
- Bow stabilizer
- Wrist sling
- Peep sight
- String D-loop
- Whisker biscuit
- Trophy Ridge 4-arrow quiver
- Printed user’s manual
- Warranty card
I found the arrow quiver tends to loosen up slightly after shooting 10 arrows or so, and this can cause an increase in vibration. So if you’re hunting from a tree stand or blind, I recommend taking the quiver off. The 3-pin sight included is quite cheap and made of plastic; while it will be enough for a beginner, you’ll likely want to replace it for something more durable a few months down the line.
The Bear Archery Encounter Eccentric System (cams)
This compound bow comes with the Bear E2-Cam, which is a single cam eccentric system. Single (or solo) cam systems come with an idler wheel at the top and a power cam on the bottom. Since there is only one cam, there is no synchronization involved, which makes the Bear Encounter low-maintenance and easy to tune for a beginner. The downside is that arrow nock travel can be very slightly unstable, resulting in mildly decreased accuracy – though it’s not something you’ll notice unless you are a competitive tournament archer.
The cam rotates around a dual ball bearing (stainless steel). Draw length can be adjusted from 27″ to 32″ in half inch increments by simply turning the cam module – there is no need for a bow press or additional external modules. The Encounter is one of the few bows in this price range where a 32″ draw length can be set, making it an excellent choice for taller archers. The included cable guard produces no friction that I could notice, and its action was overall very smooth.
Advertised IBO speeds for the Bear Archery are 310 FPS. IBO stands for International Bowhunting Organization, and their speed testing standards assume the following settings:
- 350 grain arrows
- 70 lbs. draw weight
- 30″ draw length
If your settings vary from the above, your FPS will be different. A draw length of less than 30″ and/or a draw weight lighter than 70 lbs., FPS will suffer. To better understand what FPS to expect depending on your Encounter’s settings, read our article on determining REAL bow speed.
Kinetic Energy (KE) Of The Encounter Compound Bow
The kinetic energy of any bow, be it the Bear Encounter or otherwise, is determined by the bow’s settings and arrow weight. I’ve calculated the kinetic energy based on some of the most popular settings people use with the Encounter:
- 70 lbs. / 30″ draw length / 350 grain arrow (IBO settings): 71-73 ft-lbs of KE
- 70 lbs. / 30″ draw length / 425 grain arrow: 73-75 ft-lbs of KE
- 60 lbs. / 28″ draw length / 425 grain arrow: 53-55 ft-lbs of KE
- 50 lbs. / 28″ draw length / 425 grain arrow: 44-46 ft-lbs of KE
Important: the above Kinetic Energy values are arrows impacting a target at point-blank range. Kinetic Energy deteriorates the more distance your projectile covers. As a rule of thumb, subtract around 1.6 ft-lbs of KE for every 10 yards of distance covered by the arrow before it impacts the target.
Also, for every extra inch of draw length in the examples above, you can add an additional ~4.5 ft-lbs of KE (a rough estimate). I used 425 grain arrows in most of my examples as these are what I usually hunt with. If you use 400 or 450 grain arrows though, KE will vary by just 2-3% (the heavier the arrow, the higher the KE).
The Bow’s Draw Cycle
Here are the highlights of what I noticed as far as the Bear Encounter’s draw cycle goes:
- The draw is very smooth and non-aggressive, with a bit of a hump before the valley that’s easy to get used to. Great for beginners.
- The back wall is very solid and you can easily hold the draw against it.
- Very well-balanced in the hand, and does not sway from side to side while drawing or releasing. Very accurate overall.
- The valley is wide and forgiving of form mistakes for a beginner archer
Everything about the Encounter’s draw cycle makes it ideal for those new to compound bows.
Noise Levels And Vibration
For the price tag, the Bear Archery encounter is very quiet and without any noticeable vibrations or hand-shock. This can be largely attributed to the following design features:
The included string stopper prevents the string from vibrating excessively once the arrow clears the bow. This stopper has a rubber boot (the place where the string comes in contact with the stopper), and while the more expensive Bear Archery compound bows usually include two string stoppers, the one on the Encounter definitely gets the job done. For the money paid, you really can’t ask for more.
Zero-Tolerance Limb Pockets which keep the limbs fixed to the riser significantly help absorb residual energy upon string release. This is one of my favorite features on all Bear compounds.
As mentioned earlier, the arrow quiver included tends to loosen up a bit after shooting a few arrows. While the quiver definitely won’t fall off, the looseness will tend to make the bow louder than it really is, so I recommend detaching the quiver when a quiet performance is of high importance (hunting).
Overall, for such a small, light-weight, and cheap compound bow, I think the encounter is one of the most quiet and vibration-free products you can get. I didn’t even install any string silencers or limb dampeners.
Using The Bear Archery Encounter For Hunting
Despite the Encounter being rated as delivering “only” 310 FPS IBO speeds, it’s a brilliant hunting tool for beginners and more advanced archers. With some of the expensive bows on the market boasting speeds of 340 or 350 FPS, you might be inclined to believe that 310 FPS is way too low. How good a bow is for hunting purposes however is determined by how much Kinetic Energy (KE) an arrow launched from it can deliver – the higher the KE, the more deeply the arrow will penetrate game animals. Refer to Easton’s field chart below:
|Kinetic Energy:||You Can Hunt:|
|< 25 ft-lbs||Small Game (groundhog, rabbit, wild turkey)|
|25-41 ft-lbs||Medium Game (Antelope, Whitetail deer)|
|42-65 ft-lbs||Large Game (black bear, wild boar, elk)|
|> 65 ft-lbs||Largest Game (Grizzly bear, Cape buffalo, Musk Ox, African elephant)|
Now refer back to our “Kinetic Energy of the Encounter” section found earlier in this review. As you can see, with the proper settings this bow is more than capable of taking down the largest game in the world. Even using one of the lowest possible settings (50 lbs. weight and 28″ draw length) you’ll be able to take down deer, and a moderate setting (60 lbs. weight and 28″ draw) will deliver enough KE to take down elk, wild boar and black bear – assuming you use arrows that are 400 grain or heavier. Remember though that your aim is just as important as the kinetic energy of your arrow. If you miss the vital organs, all bets are off.
The Bear Encounter is also great for hunting due to its compact size. At a very light 3.7 lbs. weight and a short Axle-to-Axle length of 30.5″, this bow is surprisingly easy to maneuver in a blind or tree stand – something that’s very important on any hunting trip.
Limbs, Riser & Grip
The straight machined aluminum riser with a stainless-steel stabilizer bushing is exceptionally durable, immune to shifts in weather conditions, and very light-weight. Limbs are the Bear proprietary Flare Quad parallel split limbs, which look awesome and by their feel I’m guessing will last a lifetime even under severe load (70 lbs. / 31″ draw length). Overall I can say I was surprise by the durability and appearance of the Encounter, as I expected it to be somewhat flimsy given the price tag – but was pleasantly surprised.
The bow grip is fairly thin, with very little (if any) torque involved. Unfortunately there is no thermal padding to keep the bow hand warm in cold weather, which is one of the very few issues I have with the encounter. The shape of the grip is ergonomic and helps prevent blisters from appearing in the palm. Very stable platform overall.
Value For The Money
The value delivered by the Bear Archery Encounter is second to none as far as adult beginner archers are concerned. It’s really difficult to get a better bang for your buck.
Bear Archery Encounter Compound Bow Review – Summary
Thanks for reading our Bear Archery Encounter review. This is an awesome and well-designed compact bow that can be used for hunting (main use), target practice and 3D shooting. The draw cycle and brace height are forgiving of beginner archer’s form mistakes, making it perfect for those new to the world of archery. Very straight arrow-nock travel and lack of vibration / side-to-side swaying of the bow make it really accurate. Add the fact its so quiet and cheap, and we’ve got a winner. See Cabela's current price and customer reviews on the Bear Archery Encounter if you have a second.