William John Compton was born September 28, 1863 in Flint, Michigan. At age seven, his family moved to Norfolk, Nebraska, where the young Will lived among the Sioux Indians. From the Sioux he learned the ways of making bows and arrows, and of hunting with these weapons. He also gained much wisdom and learned humility, traits that would influence his pattern of life for many years to come.
In September of 1877, at the age of 14, Will shot his first deer. He had stalked the bedded deer as it lay on a slight ridge below a rise the young bowhunter had crept up to. At ten yards, the deer stood up and Will slowly brought his bow to full draw, released, and caught the young buck square in its heart. The deer stared at Will for a few seconds and made three short hops before falling over stone dead. Later that same year he took another deer with his bow. In the next few years Will would take up to 20 deer, four antelope, two elk and a bison, all within a 100 mile radius of his home, and all before his 20th birthday.
Will Compton spent many years living and working in Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming and Oregon. His interest in archery grew each year and would soon become the most important force in his life. While working in Montana he became aware of the bowyer F.S. Barnes who lived in Forest Grove, Oregon. In 1894 he moved to Forest Grove and went to work for Barnes. From Barnes he learned how to make the English style of longbow, and how and where to harvest yew wood.
Dec. 15, 1911 – Sept. 19, 2010
"Early on, bowhunting to most of us simply meant a "walk in the woods", in search of a game animal. " - Glenn St. Charles, Bows on the Little Delta, 1997
On September 19, 2010, archery and bowhunting in particular suffered a terrible loss. Glenn St. Charles, one of the last "classic archery" bowhunting legends passed from this world into his next great adventure. Glenn was confident and outspoken, especially when it came to bowhunting. He liked to keep things simple, pure, and fair. He worked for many decades promoting the ideals of what bowhunting could, and should be. He set an example to all of us, to roll up our sleeves and get involved. Glenn, always the gentlemen, tirelessly worked to improve the sport he so loved. He thought of the future, it weighed on him. He worried that people were getting too lazy, that they were too quick to take advantage of all the latest "whiz-bang anythings" rather than learning how to make their own equipment and earn their bowhunting success by the sweat of their brows and the skills learned by spending time in the great outdoors.
Those of us who knew him, respected him greatly, it was easy, he earned it. Glenn was a wealth of bow building and bowhunting knowledge, unassuming and kind. He was especially gracious to those who stopped by his archery shop, Northwest Archery in Seattle, WA, for a chance to share a few moments with him. Many the lucky 'tourist' stopping by, have their own Glenn St. Charles story.
Volume 1, Issue 1
Welcome to the first Compton Traditional Bowhunters newsletter. The CTB has been well received even though we have gone through a very long and trying time getting this organization started. A frequent question that I have had asked is “Why another bowhunting organization; it will just split our ranks.” The “splitting of the ranks” came in 1968 with the invention of machinery to replace the age-old longbow and recurve bow. Those of us who had been in bowshooting and bowhunting before the advent of these machines had to use our prowess and knowledge of animals and their habitat and the understanding of our beautiful primitive equipment to be successful in the hunting field whether we killed game or just enjoyed the hunt. We made a lot of our equipment – arrows, quivers, armguards and bows. We sharpened our broadheads and learned to track animals, follow blood trails and understand the value of our predator/prey relationship in the woods. Many of the hunters who switched to the machines were members of this group of “the old-days” philosophy and continue to be fine hunters. But the machinery ushered in the “high-tech” equipment into our bow seasons. Many hunters came into the archery fields with the thinking that each new added piece of equipment would make it easier for them to be successful and that is precisely what has happened. We have a new breed, high-tech bowhunter who doesn’t have to learn how to stalk because he can take shots up to 100 yards. He does not have to learn how to sharpen his own broadheads as they come pre-sharpened. He does not have to learn how to follow a blood trail because he can use a string-tracker and sprays to make the blood show up better. He does not make any equipment because of the proliferation of high-tech gear. He does not learn anything about nature, the woods and the predator/prey relationship because he does not take time from his high-speed lifestyle to learn. We have bred the non-hunter participant in our seasons.