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    Museum of Bowhunting

In the rolling hills and farmland of southeastern Minnesota, just minutes off of Interstate 90, lies the singular, crowning testimony to North America's rich bowhunting heritage--a place to learn about bowhunting's history, a place to appreciate bowhunting's "rediscovery," a place to understand bowhunting's place in wildlife conservation and in our culture.

Pope & Young Club/St. Charles Museum of Bowhunting
273 Mill Creek Road
Chatfield, MN 55923
(507) 867-4144

Pope & Young Club Museum Hours
Monday through Friday: 8:00AM to 4:30PM
Saturday: 10:00AM to 5:00PM

Admission is FREE (Donations welcome)
Groups Welcome!

Walk in the Footsteps of the Pioneer Bowhunters

In 1911 near Mt. Lassen in northern California, an Indian was captured.  It was determined that he is from a thought-to-be extinct tribe, the Yahi, and has never had contact with the “civilized” world.  He was called Ishi, which simply means “man” in the Yahi language.  Ishi is considered to be the last truly primitive Indian in North America. Anthropologists brought Ishi to the University of California to study him.

Dr. Saxton Pope arrived at the University as a surgeon and medical instructor in 1912.  He was assigned as Ishi’s physician.  Despite obvious and cumbersome language barriers, Pope and Ishi developed a friendship and Pope took an immense interest in the Yahi culture and how Ishi made bows and arrows and his hunting methods.

In 1915 Arthur Young meets Will “Chief” Compton at a Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco and begins to learn about archery.  Young was a tremendous athlete - he played water polo, was a champion competition swimmer and an exceptional competitive shooter with both rifle and pistol. Compton introduced Young to Ishi and Pope, and, in the time that followed, the four made several trips into North California hunting - with Ishi and Compton as the teachers and Pope and Young as the eager students.


After Ishi’s passing in 1916, Young and Pope continued to share a common…and growing… passion for archery.  They made their own hunting tackle—aggressively experimenting and refining their equipment.  They, too, experimented and refined their hunting abilities - chasing deer, black bear, cougar and small game in northern California. 
Art Young made journeys to Alaska in 1922-23 to hunt brown bear, the giant moose and Dall’s sheep, during which he made a motion picture film of this trip (the first of its kind) entitled Alaskan Adventures. This movie, in DVD format, is available in the P&Y Store. Buy it TODAY!

The exploits of Saxton Pope and Arthur Young began to spark a new, and larger, generation of potential field archers.  Through Pope’s writing and Young’s lecturing, they shared with the nation a passion for this long-forgotten, romantic and challenging form of hunting.  They were the pioneers of modern bowhunting.




At one of Art Young’s lectures in Detroit, Michigan, a young automobile worker became enthralled with the idea of hunting with the bow and arrow.  That young man was Fred Bear. Young Fred Bear immediately began making archery equipment and, by 1933, had founded Bear Products Company. Fred introduced mass production to archery equipment, making and inventing countless adaptations of bowhunting equipment. His films, books, articles and television appearances captured the imagination of millions. He is arguably the most well-known and visible bowhunter of the 20th Century.
In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s more and more people were taking to the bow and arrow.  But it was an uphill struggle for acceptance.  The “stick and string” was looked down upon by most of the hunting community as just a “toy.”  Game agencies, nationally, were skeptical and not convinced that the bow was an effective and efficient hunting tool.

In 1948 Glenn St. Charles, an archer, bowyer and archery shop owner from Seattle, Washington, became Vice-President of the NFAA.  Through the ‘50s, the NFAA strived to gain archery seasons around the country. St. Charles was appointed the chairman of a newly-formed NFAA Hunting Activities Committee in 1956.  The committee tackled the need to better the image of bowhunters and bowhunting and to prove the effectiveness of the bow and arrow as a hunting weapon.

St. Charles settled on a records system to recognize animals taken with the bow and arrow.  A program was established using, with permission, the Boone & Crockett Club’s scoring system.  The new program was announced in the February 1958 issue of Archery Magazine, to immediate and widespread appeal.  Then, in June of 1958, the first Awards Program was held in Grayling, Michigan, during which the first official World’s Records were named.

Two hectic years of refining the program followed.  During that time, a second Awards Program was held in Grayling, Michigan, in June of 1960.  At this meeting, attended by 35 bowhunters, the decision was made that an organization, separate from the NFAA, should be formed.  It would be called the Pope and Young Club, in honor of pioneer bowhunters Saxton Pope and Arthur Young.


The Pope and Young Club officially came into being on January 27, 1961, with Glenn St. Charles as the Chairman, and later as the first President.

With the underlying purpose of bettering the image of bowhunting and proving the effectiveness of the bow and arrow, the Club would record North American big game animals taken with a bow, and be dedicated to good conservation practices, quality hunting and fair chase. Immediately, conservation departments from throughout the country requested the records information to utilize in potential establishment of bowhunting seasons.




 

Records | Bowhunter/Conservationist | Fair Chase | Heritage | Youth

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"The Pope and Young Club is on the forefront of the movement to support bowhunters in their pursuits. As our brand strives to protect habitat, provide access to hunters and educate the public on hunting ethics and stewardship, we couldn't think of a better partner than the Pope and Young Club."
Ben O'Brien, YETIŽ Hunting Marketing Manager
"FeraDyne Outdoors is very excited about our partnership with the Pope and Young Club. We are extremely proud to support such a great organization, personally and as a company. We want to help protect and support the sport of bowhunting, and the ethical pursuit of the animals which we all love."
Jon Syverson, V.P. of Sales & Marketing for FeraDyne Outdoors
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The Pope and Young Club | PO Box 548, Chatfield, MN 55923