The contributions of these five archers influenced the world of archery and bowhunting as we know it today.
Take a look at our short list of the most influential archers and bowhunters in history. These skilled bow and arrow wielders help shape the early stages of bowhunting and archery as a sport and as a passion.
Most of these archers are well known in the bowhunting community, but if we left someone out let us know who and why they should be included in the comments below.
Ben Pearson, 1898-1971
Called the Father of Modern Archery, Ben Pearson was a bowyer and a fletcher. He revolutionized the archery industry by producing bows and archery equipment on a large scale. His company, Ben Pearson Archery, was founded in 1931 and by the company’s 50th anniversary had produced six million bows and 200 million arrows. Producing quality archery equipment on a large scale and at an affordable price allowed Pearson to have a major influence in the world of archery.
Art Young, 1883-1935
Art Young was a gifted athlete and archer. He learned his archery skills from Will Compton who later introduced him to Dr. Saxton Pope. Young used his exceptional abilities with the bow and arrow to quiet skeptics who doubted the efficiency of the archer’s tools. Among other species, Young harvested deer, moose, Dall’s sheep, brown bear, grizzly bear and African lion.
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In addition, Young wrote articles for Sports Afield and he was the first to produce a bowhunting movie, the Alaskan Adventure, in 1923.
Dr. Saxton Pope, 1875-1926
Dr. Saxton Pope was a surgeon, author, archer and hunting companion of Art Young. Pope learned his bow making and archery skills from a member of the Yahi tribe named Ishi. Pope authored many books on the subject of archery, including Hunting with the Bow and Arrow which should be required reading for any archery enthusiast. Published in 1922, it contains material that’s as relevant today as nearly a century ago.
Dr. Saxton Pope and Art Young have been immortalized by the organization that bears their names, The Pope and Young Club, which is dedicated to preserving the heritage of archery.
Fred Bear, 1902-1988
Called the Father of Modern Bowhunting, Fred Bear was an archer, bowhunter and film producer, and may be the most recognized name in archery. Bear was first inspired by a documentary produced by Art Young and soon his passion for archery flourished. An excellent archer, Bear won numerous archery titles during the mid to late 1930s and by 1939, his passion for the sport led to the formation of Bear Archery. Several years later, Fred Bear began to produce films about his bowhunting adventures which allowed the average person to travel with him. Bear’s films, TV appearances and articles in Outdoor Life and Archery Magazine inspired others to pursue archery and bowhunting as well.
Ishi was believed to be the last known survivor of the Yahi tribe of Indians known for their exceptional archery skills. Thought to be extinct, Ishi survived in the remote foothills of California until his discovery in 1911. Word of the discovery ultimately reached Dr. Saxton Pope and a friendship formed between the men. Ishi began to teach Pope the bow making and hunting skills of his people. Soon Pope was accompanying Ishi into the field on hunting trips with bows made in the traditional ways and, eventually, Art Young joined them. The knowledge he passed to the pair was invaluable and it inspired both men, and countless others, to achieve greatness in archery and bowhunting.
Ishi passed in 1916 but not before he willingly shared a lifetime of experience with Dr. Saxton Pope and Art Young. In his honor, the Ishi Award is the most prestigious award of the Pope and Young Club.
Who is your favorite from the list? Who should be added? Leave your thoughts in the comments.