October 06, 2011
By Jon E. Silks
Bear Archery seeks to serve a wide range of archers with a versatile bow line. They have bows that cover many different price points, offer a variety of features and run the gamut of performance specs. In all instances, the company is focused on giving its customers great value. A prime example is the new, feature-packed Mauler, which comes with an affordable price tag.
The 2011 Mauler features the Bear Single E-Cam System, past parallel Max Pre-Load Quad Limbs, Bear Logo Slim Grip, Zero Tolerance limb pockets, Dual Arc Offset String Suppressors and Contra-Band strings and cables.
The draw-force curve for the Mauler should grab your attention. Of the adult hunting bows on the market, this is probably one of the most laid-back, relaxed and rounded draw cycles you will find. Don't get me wrong -- this rig is not set in granny gear either. Bear advertises a top speed upwards of 328fps. The mechanism behind this performance is Bear's E-Cam, which is a single-cam configuration.
A set of easily switched modules offers a wide range of draw-length adjustments from 26-31 inches without the need for a bowpress. Smaller, half-inch changes can be made by putting the bow in a press and selecting alternate posts on the cam body. Detailed instructions are found in the product manual. The cam is equipped with an adjustable draw stop that must be moved to correlate with the selected module. Both are clearly marked to ensure accuracy. Letoff is set to 80 percent with the draw stop. The large diameter cam and idler wheel both ride on special bearings for less friction and a more efficient output. A precisely placed Tungsten Carbide perimeter weight located on the cam is designed to create a smooth, fast and shock-free shot. Bear dark green anodizes the 7075 aluminum cam and idler wheel.
For a bowhunter, stealth can be affected in many ways. From the time we take that first step into the field until we return again, we are keenly aware of anything that takes away from the element of surprise. Bear's Mauler is an effective partner in our quest for stealth thanks to its compact 31€‰1„4-inch axle-to-axle length and a depth of well under 11 inches from front to back. A set of quad limbs that measure a mere nine inches long play a big part in the Mauler's generous maneuverability. No more spooking game by hitting your limbs and cams on branches, treestand rails, etc.
Stealth also takes form in silence. A quiet bow is one of the most sought after attributes for any bowhunter. The Max Pre-Load split limb sets are designed to move equally in opposite directions at the shot to cancel out unwanted vibration and noise-causing energy. Limbs interface with the riser through the Zero Tolerance Pivoting Limb Cups, which harness the limbs both vertically and horizontally. Further noise reduction is the focus of Bear's unique Dual Arc Offset String Suppressors. These curved fixtures are mounted near the ends of the riser and use an offset, soft, rubber fixture to cushion the string when released. The result is less string oscillation, which in turn equals less noise.
GETTING A GRIP ON COMFORT
The Bear Logo Slim Grip is designed for comfort in material, shape and positioning. First, the synthetic material, which consists of two layers of different colors to highlight the cutout Bear Logo, will provide warmth on cold days in the field. A narrow throat and neutral wrist position are also designed to comfortably cradle the shooter's hand. Another factor in comfort is the overall low mass weight of the Mauler -- only 3.9 pounds.
My first impression of this bow had everything to do with its compact profile -- I liked the size. My second impression had everything to do with the price tag -- again, I liked the size!
The Mauler generates a small kick and very little vibration at the shot. The draw cycle is notably smooth, and the noise is lower than average. The grip is narrow, comfortable and covers most of the handle with an insulating synthetic (warmer than metal).
In my opinion, the Bear Mauler is an excellent value for today's bowhunters.