Here at Oak Creek Whitetail Ranch, we know a few things about bowhunting and bowhunter safety. Our February blog presents a history of bowhunting and recommended precautions.


Archeologists believe that humans started bowhunting between 10,000 and 9,000 BCE. That’s at least 6,000 years before we even obtained written language. The earliest evidence dates to the late Paleolithic period – when the Egyptian and neighboring Nubian cultures used bows and arrows for hunting and warfare. Native American Indians were America’s original bowhunters.

In 1879, the National Archery Association was founded. It initiated the first U.S.–sponsored tournament in 1879.

The 1920 legendary expedition of Yellowstone National Park by Sexton T. Pope, a surgeon, and medical instructor teamed up with a newspaperman named Arthur Young where their party killed five grizzly bears with bows.

The first official bowhunting season in America occurred in Wisconsin in 1930 when Roy Case, an avid field archer convinced the game warden to grant written permission to hunt deer with a bow. On the last day of the season, Case killed a spike buck that came running through the woods after gun-hunters had driven it from its bed. That day launched a four-year quest in which Case and his friends lobbied the state for a special annual archery season. Their efforts were finally successful in 1934 when Wisconsin held the nation’s first archery season. It only lasted five days and attracted just 40 participants.

In 1933 another bowhunting enthusiast, Fred Bear, founded Bear Products Co. and introduced quality craftsmanship and innovation formerly unknown on the hunting scene.

Another archery connoisseur and shop owner from Seattle, Glenn St. Charles, pioneered the adoption of the first hunting seasons under the jurisdiction of the National Field Archery Association. With bowhunting seasons and a records program formulated by 1958, a separate and more robust organization called the Pope & Young Club — named after the pioneering and influential bowhunters — took shape. On Jan. 21, 1961, St. Charles took the lead as chairman with the responsibility of protecting good conservation practices, enforcing fair chase methods, and recording North American trophy animals to ensure the highest standards in bowhunting.

As of 2022, there were a total of 11.4 million deer hunters in America and 4.63 million (40%) are bowhunters who hunt deer.

Bowhunting Safety Tips

  • Only knock an arrow after you have established that it is safe to shoot.
  • When making ready to shoot a target, be sure you know what is between you and the target and what is behind the target in case you miss.
  • Never shoot into bushes or over a ridge where you have no direct line of sight.
  • Do not shoot an arrow directly up into the air
  • Never drink alcohol when actively hunting.
  • Always have a first aid kit available in your backpack.

The more you know about the behavior of Whitetail Deer and precautions while bowhunting, the better prepared you will be this hunting season. For more information on bowhunting whitetail deer visit our website at