I drove up to Clintonville, WI for the open house held at the WBH museum. It's just getting under way but I can tell they they will soon be out of space.
Immediately upon entering I saw a few Broadhed collectors and we began talking. Then I took a tour of the whole place. There is a lot of neat stuff to see, including the donated collection from the estate of the late ABCC Member Keith Huehnerfuss. There is about 3000 heads in that collection. It is very impressive.
There is also a collection of all the broadheads that were made in Wisconsin with info on the heads maker and location in the state.
There was a lot of really great vintage bowhunting and archery gear from waaay back
Lots of vintage stuff behind the glass from the likes of Bear, Case, Pearson, LaHa, Wiffen, etc. and now even some new replica vintage arrows with a flint knapped and a steel trader point head donated by some guy called Ron.
The broadhead collectors traded heads and planned the WI version of the ABCC member get together. It will be held in two weeks in Hixton
If you have not had a chance to check it out and you are in WI. Make the drive to Clintonville and look around.
The opening of the deer season [Wisconsin, 1928] found me at the cabin with rifle and also a 60 pound yew bow and Port Orford Cedar broached arrows footed with lemonwood. The arrows matched in weight and balance like the best of target arrows. Which to use bow or rifle? I would rather kill a deer with a bow but I did want to be sure to take a deer home and the woods were full of rifle hunters. So I started with a rifle. When I got back to the cabin that night, I found the yew bow ‘busted.’ One of the boys wanted to show how he could string it–hadn’t he seen me do it? So belly toward him; foot on the lower limb, he tried and of course snapped the lower limb!
A few days later I am on stand with three others and the Indians are trying to drive the deer through to us, I am only 60 yards from where I missed the mallard duck a short few weeks ago and I think with regret of the ‘busted’ bow at the cabin as I try to dance without moving to keep warm. It’s darn near zero. Is that crackle a deer or is it John, the Indian, coming thru? If it’s John, he will whistle soon but I void the hammer of the ‘trusty 30-30.’ Another crackle and 30 yards from me a magnificent pair of horns push their way slowly over the next knoll. Then could I believe my eyes, there stands and looks at me in full view, head up, the biggest buck I ever saw or want to see! This is too easy, but he’ll look pretty on the west dining room wall. I aim carefully at him, pull the trigger!–and the gun won’t go off. I work the lever madly once, twice, the buck is leaving in 20 foot jumps. Three times I pull the trigger but no bang and he is out of sight! The Trusty (?) 30-30 was frozen.
Oh if I had had the beloved yew and a good broadhead! That was a shot for a bow and the buck would now be mine. Next deer season I know what I carry with me to get my deer and it won’t make a noise and will shoot when I want it to.
These words are Roy Case’s and from an article he wrote for “Ye Sylvan Archer” in May, 1929. I wonder what direction archery history might have taken had Roy’s .30-.30 boomed across the frozen landscape and laid that old buck low. Would his desire to take a deer with bow and arrow have waned? Guess we’ll not know the answer to that question, but we do know that as the 1930 deer season approached, Roy’s desire to hunt deer with his bow was stronger than ever.
Wisconsin held deer season every other year back then. The 1930 regulations stating that game was to be taken only “with a firearm held at the shoulder”. A lesser man would have shrugged, hung his bow on the cabin wall and dusted off his rifle. Not Roy. He wrote the Conservation Department requesting permission to hunt deer with his bow and arrow. The Conservation agreed to Roy’s request, granting written permission and noted that they would change the law for the 1932 season to allow the use of bow and arrow for everyone. They also recommended that Roy carry the letter while hunting in the event he was checked by a Conservation Officer.
Many historians recognize this “written permission” for Roy to use his bow during the 1930 Wisconsin deer season as the “first permit ever granted by a state to specifically hunt deer with a bow”.
Roy began the 1930 season, not in Wisconsin, but in Oregon at an archer’s jamboree, one of 25 archers attracted from four states. This event took place on the Lower Rouge river in Curry county, during the late September deer season. Many notable archers of the day, to include Dr. Dusty Roberts, Erle Stanley Gardner, Kore Duryee, Stanley Spencer, Homer Prouty, John Davis, Earl Ullrich and Grover Gouthier, gathered with Roy to enjoy a hunt and good time “where one could stalk deer in sylvan wilds and possibly loose a shaft or two at one of the fleet roe-buck; where we could gather round the camp fire at night and, as the moonlight filtered through the leaves overhead and the hooting of the owls put us in the proper melancholy mood could tell our wondrous tales of bow and shaft.”
Roy returned home in time for the Wisconsin 10 day December deer season, to Vilas county, where he shared the woods with numerous rifle hunters. He attempted to stay out of sight in order to avoid the inevitable questions about his equipment choices. His hunting partner was not so fortunate. Roy relates:
One day ‘Stoney’ and I were waiting on a ‘narrows’ connecting two little lakes that were part of the summer ‘thoroughfare.’ It was evidently the winter trail as well for 13 riflemen passed through the narrows while waiting for our drivers to come to us. I sneaked out of sight and let ‘em go by, but Stony wasn’t so lucky. One bunch of five spied him and I enjoyed hearing Stony trying to explain that he really wasn’t crazy, deer were sometimes killed with these weapons and he had hopes. ‘Yeah? When you get ‘em with a bow and arrow I’ll use a sling shot,’ was the parting remark. Of course the conversation was a great aid to our drive. After this Stony and I decided it was just as necessary to hide from the hunters as from the deer.
On the first day of the hunt Roy was offered an easy shot at a large buck as it loped by at 14 yards. And, as others still do to this day, he took his eye off his spot and was admiring those wonderful antlers when he released. His arrow clattered against the antlers and the buck was gone in a flash. Two more chances where wasted on a spike as Roy’s arrows rattled harmlessly through the brush at 40 yards. On the sixth day Roy became the first white man to take a deer with a bow in Wisconsin. His account follows:
Stony and I were on parallel runways that day, well beaten trails that connect two thick patches of good sized timber. We had waited but a short time when I heard a crashing from over Stony’s direction. A deer heads over towards me. It is broadside at 15 yards. I held my shot for I see no horns. The deer swings down the runway away from me and then I see the ‘spikes’ hidden before by the big ears. At 20 yards I let fly and hear the never to be mistaken ‘ka’ as steel hits flesh. One jump and the buck is out of sight in the thick woods. Another crashing and a second deer runs through the thick stuff between Stoney and me. Too thick to even try a shot. I impatiently hold my position, there may be more deer coming. Then I hear John whistle.
“I hit one, John’
“Good! Where was he?’ says John.
“By that stump. I haven’t been over there to mess the trail any, but I know I hit!’
“You hit him all right!’ A few steps further and he glances ahead and turns to me with a broad grin. ‘One arrow’s enough.’
“What do you mean?’ I gasp.
“There he is stone dead.”
Roy’s spike buck weighed 112 pounds field dressed and was taken with a 5 foot 1 inch osage bow and a “Kiska” broadhead mounted on a Port Orford shaft footed with lemonwood with a total weight of 450 grains.
Four years later, in 1934, Wisconsin would have the first designated bowhunting season in the United States, setting aside Columbia and Sauk counties for “bowhunters only” for five days. This all came about mainly from the efforts of Roy Case and Aldo Leopold. It is only fitting that the second bow killed deer in Wisconsin was taken by Bill Ostlund from Chicago, Illinois while hunting with Roy on his Vilas County land during the 1934 season. It’s from these humble beginnings and the efforts of early archers like Roy Case that we now enjoy our long and generous archery seasons. In the beginning there was no concerted effort by groups or associations, just individuals with a love of this ancient sport, individuals who asked only for the opportunity to hunt with bow and arrow. It was later that conservation departments recognized the uniqueness of the hunting archer and his primitive weapon and granted early archery seasons and archery only areas.
"...there is value in any experience that exercises those ethical restraints collectively called 'sportsmanship.' Our tools for the pursuit of wildlife improve faster than we do, and sportsmanship is a voluntary limitation in the use of these armaments. It is aimed to augment the role of skill and shrink the role of gadgets in pursuit of wild things." Aldo Leopold
We are donating a bowhunt on our farm in Buffalo Ct. for the 2008 or 2009 for the WBA haritage Fund. to keep the bowhunting museum going. Its for 5 days, witch includes meals and lodging. on our 240 acre Farm in Lower Buffalo Ct. between Fountain City and Arcadia in Cross township, We have taken quite a few P&Y bucks, The only drawback is we are in a earn a buck area, So you have to get your doe, before you shoot a buck. We have taken some l50s and lower bucks, Not a buck beheind everytree but they are here. Its $5.00 per ticket or 3 for $10.00 The drawing is at the WBA bow shoot in Sept. at Neeceda. Stan and Carolyn