My Story

Back in the early 1980s, I rediscovered the thrill of shooting a bow, and of bowhunting; however, the literature of the day — Archery World, Bowhunter, Bow & Arrow — had little, if any, articles or advertisements for someone like me who shot a traditional bow. In my local club of some 50+ members, only two of us shot a traditional bow, and when we held our annual 3-D shoots, with upwards of some 400+ shooters, only a handful of us shot traditional gear and had to compete with compound shooters; there were no traditional classes in those days. Still, it was fun and over time more and more members would fall in love with the simple traditional bow.

For years, a small group of us would spend Friday evenings in the winter shooting at slides at the local archery range. One of us would bring down a projector and we would load up what few slides we had of game animals and shoot at them as they were projected upon a sheet over the target bales. Soon we were timing the projections, eventually settling on ten seconds where you had to pull an arrow out of your quiver, nock it, and shoot before the image went black … real life hunting situations. We were years ahead of Jay Dart and his DART shooting system. After shooting we’d all go down to the local pub for a beer.

The ranks of traditional bowhunters in my home state of Idaho were growing. We had launched a local traditional club that soon spanned the state. I was asked if I could put out a club newsletter, which would help tie us all together from the far reaches of the state and went to work on designing one. The idea grew from a simple black and white flyer to a 4-color flyer, eventually leading to the idea that if I could do this for an Idaho club, why not do it on a national level? For over a year I mulled the idea around in my head, and one night after our 3-D shoot I told a group of my friends over a beer at the pub that I had a dream to publish a 4-color, national magazine strictly devoted to the traditional bowhunter.

To say it was not received well amongst the group would be vast understatement. Most of the comments were snide remarks about how it wouldn’t sell, that no one cares about longbows and recurves anymore, and other such things. Larry Fischer looked at me, took a sip of his beer, and simply said, “That’s a great dream,” and went back to talking about other things.

I went home feeling dejected, like someone had let the air out of my sails. It snowed heavily that night and in the early morning I was sitting in the living room drinking coffee, looking out at the snow-covered hills when a figure walked by the window and knocked on the front door. It was Larry. He came in, sat down, and nervously looked around, and said, “I couldn’t sleep at all last night, thinking about what you said … the magazine and all. I want to do this with you.” I was floored. We discussed everything from getting writers, magazine columns, photo essays, advertisements … how the hell to actually publish, much less how to distribute a magazine. After several hours I knew we were on to something and decided to set up a meeting with others who we thought could help us.

This was in late November, and by mid-December we had put together our staff. On January 3, 1989, I filed the name Traditional Bowhunter™ and the company (TBM) with the state of Idaho, scheduled our Premiere issue to be released the following August, and then went to work. The rest, as they say, is history.