What would the American bowhunter do without the dedication and archery masters found in the little mom and pop archery shops across the nation?
And if I may dare to claim to know a little something about little neighborhood archery shops, allow me to share with you that which I believe qualifies as the most dynamic of little archery shop experiences known to mankind.
Way, way back in my youth on our annual October family jaunts into the northern woodlands of Michigan for the archery deer opener each fall, we would often pull into a little off-yellow cinderblock garage-size building on the outskirts of Grayling. Unbeknownst to young Ted, the tall, lanky, friendly gentleman that showed us around his little shop was none other than his majesty, that bowhunting legend sir Fred Bear!
You realize don’t you that such an experience would be on par with an automotive fan stopping by for a chat with Henry Ford. Or a very fortunate guitar player swinging by a small music store and discussing the finer points of killer guitar licks with Chuck Berry!
Archery was a rather eclectic sport in those days, bowhunting even more so. But this wonderful man was busy gluing thin sheets of wood and glass together on a crude, makeshift wooden jig, creating the laminating process that would become an industry standard for the most beautiful works of modern recurve bow making in the world.
I would gaze gaga at all the archery and bowhunting paraphernalia, magnificent mounted big-game heads, assorted handmade leather goods, arrays of beautiful fletched arrows and photos from exotic hunts around the globe, and intently listen to this great man share his unique bowhunting adventures with us.
Within a few years when I came to the realization that I was in the presence of the one and only, I truly felt privileged and humbled.
Believe me when I tell you how I count my lucky stars! To eventually be welcomed into Fred’s inner bowhunting gang was a gift from God that still tickles my spirit to this day.
Many more of my earliest and fondest memories going back to those early 1950s on the outskirts of Detroit began at Millers Feed Store on Grand River Avenue in Redford township.
Though this was as urban as urban can be, Millers was a good old-fashioned farm and ranch store that sold all sorts of rural goods and supplies, including a wall of stunning Bear bows and an assortment of the most beautiful cedar arrows the world has ever known.
I was too young to appreciate all that it took to run an archery shop in those re-pioneering days of modern bowhunting, but as an early addict of the mystical flight of the arrow, Millers was my most favorite place to be in the world other than exploring the woods and swamps of Skunk Hollow along the winding Rouge River animal kingdom right there in my neighborhood.
As I grew up and learned more and more about the working functions of my bows and arrows, I came to realize how important an archery pro-shop is.
Once the compound bow took off, understanding the complicated engineering of this new pully and wheel contraption became increasingly critical for proper bow tuning and accurate arrow flight.
Hanging around an army of gungho bowhunters and shop owners taught me pretty quick how to make various adjustments that would keep me in the game, but I almost always opted to have the professionals set up my bows for optimal performance and the confidence that goes with it.
Good, knowledgeable master bow mechanics can make all the difference in our archery efficiency and effectiveness.
My buddy George Britton operates his Brittons Archery and Sporting Goods in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and makes things perfect for the experienced or novice archer/bowhunter.
Bruce Cull is the president of the National Field Archery Association and runs his Dakota Archery and Sports in Yankton, South Dakota. Bruce and his partner Scott Asse masterfully set up bows every day of the year.
Bryan Schupbach of Schupbach’s Sporting Goods in Jackson, Michigan, and his team are the go-to guys that people travel 100s and 100s of miles to have their equipment set up and fine-tuned.
Joe Mussachio and his Cinnamon Creek Archery in Fort Worth, Texas, are bow-masters and have earned a killer reputation to set you up perfectly.
Fred Lutger has owned his famous Freddy Bear Sports in Tinley Park, Illinois, forever, and is basically the archery guru in that part of the state.
Larry Pollock in Chillicothe, Illinois, lives archery and bowhunting at his Wolf Hollow store and is the best of the best.
Fred and Darlene Christen are respected as family among the Osseo, Wisconsin, bowhunting community at their F&D Archery.
Frank Addington has been at it for more than 60 years at his Addington Archery in West Virginia and is looked up to as a legend of the sport.
The guys at Nocked and Loaded in Lampasas, Texas, sure know their stuff and have kicked bowhunting into high gear in that part of the Lone Star State.
Longtime master bowhunter Allen at The Outhouse in Waco, Texas, has a steady stream of gungho archers and bowhunters that rely on his expertise throughout the year.
World renowned master bowhunter Bob Fromme runs his longtime Performance Archery in the San Diego, California, region.
There are many great pro-shops here, there and everywhere, and I have always pushed hard to have archers and bowhunters support and frequent their local and regional family run archery shops as the place to get the best advice and service.
Take your business to the pros, as they are the best of the best and will always steer you right. Get to know them, and I know you will make good friends and probably get some really good tips on the best bowhunting opportunities in your home region.
Fit, feel, form and tuning will make all the difference in the world to properly and thoroughly enjoy and perfect our sport. After all, bowhunting is the greatest sport in the world, so we may as well get the best guidance and service from the best in the world too.
With more than 40 million albums sold, rock legend Ted Nugent is equally well known as the nation’s most outspoken proponent of our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, conducting thousands of pro-gun, pro-freedom, pro-American interviews in major media worldwide. Nugent is a New York Times best-selling author whose works include Ted, White & Blue —The Nugent Manifesto; God, Guns & Rock ‘n’ Roll and Kill It & Grill It.This year, his award-winning Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild TV show celebrates its 500th episode! For all things Nuge, visit www.tednugent.com