Josh and I loaded up our gear and headed to Michigan. We made the 220 mile trip to attend the Compton Traditional archery shoot. I had heard about this event in the past and since I am getting back into the traditional side of archery, we decided to attend. We strapped the Tipi poles to the roof of the van and we were on our way.
After going through 4 states and 1 time zone we made to the Compton grounds. This years event was expecting 800 shooters and 400 campers. We were going to be setting up in an area with other primitive campers in a great shady spot about 30 feet from a trout pond.
We had some great neighbors who were staying in a wigwam.
Not only were these two guys great neighbors in camp. We got a lot of great tips from them on how to shot. They were very experienced.
Our camp site was nice and close to all the activities. While we set up camp, The Compton folks were getting ready our supper. Chili and hotdogs and chips.
While they were preparing to feed us, there was also a chili cook off going on. Some of the Compton Board members were entered into the competition. The guy in the green shirt is Dale Karch, head of Three Rivers Archery. (nice guy) Their group camped right along side our primitive area.
Then it was time to get in line and enjoy supper. (thats Dale again serving chili)
After supper we tried to walk on of the 4 3D archery courses that were set up for this event but found it a bit too dark due to all the leaves on the trees. We shot a few targets and then walked back to camp.
My son has only shown a small amount of interest in archery but wanted to come along on this trip. I don't have a proper bow for him since he won't quit growing so he used my old Ben Pearson recurve. The first bow I ever hunted with over 30 years ago. Josh has only shot about 100 arrows in his whole life so I knew he was going to get a little frustrated with his skill set but he kept on like a real trooper. We spent a lot of time looking for lost arrows and talking about form.
We got back to camp in time to sit in on a seminar being done by Roger Rothhaar who is one of the living legends of bowhunting.
After the seminar, we enjoyed a little live music and then it was time to head back to the tipi. This was our view for the night.
Josh and I talked for quite a while about archery and bowhunting and form and practice. When he quit responding, (fell asleep) I turned in as well.
this was the early morning view at 6:30 a.m. Things start early at Compton.
The club provides a big breakfast for the campers. For a few dollars we fueled up for a day of shooting. After breakfast we hit the vendor area. If it had anything to do with traditional archery, it was for sale at Compton.
Bows from every maker on the planet.
As well as every accessory.
They had flint knappers and bowyers showing folks how to make your own gear.
I bought an Osage Orange stave that was seasoned for 2 years. I hope to turn this into a project bow. If I cut it off at the yellow line, it will be 72 inches long.
Next we hit the display of Boradheads put on by the American Broadhead Collectors Club. It filled an entire building and had every broadhead every made over the last 80 years. This was a neat historical trip. It was entertaining to see what has been sold over the years as the "Next Great" broadhead. Many only sold for a year and fizzled out. Other designs like the Bear Razorhead are still going strong. The collectors catalog and document every head ever made. It was very impressive. What I am showing here in less than 1/20th of the total collection on display.
Then it was time to hit the blue course. Josh and I walked up on most targets so he would have a better chance at hitting them. We then met up with some guys who were also from WI and they gave both Josh and I some great tips which improved Josh's shooting on the spot. It was in the 90's so we sought out some shade and had a drink but Josh could not be stopped. He asked if he could go to the practice range and shoot some more. I told him I would stay back at camp and cool off and would meet him at the range. He shot for over an hour out in the heat.
After a while, It was coming together for him.
During the morning rounds on two of the 3D courses, Josh had lost 3 arrows and while we talked about that on the practice range, A fellow mentioned that all arrows found on the ranges are returned to the cub house. All we needed to do was go check the barrels.
It seems Josh was not the only one to loose an arrow.
with his quiver refilled, we sat in the shade and watched others shooting clay pigeons at 15 yards. We saw some very good shooters. The record is 37 in a row. We were asked if we wanted to try but we knew better.
At 5 pm there was a blanket trade at the main pavilion. If you had something you wished to sell or trade, You only needed to claim a small spot and put it on display. I had a few items that I was pedaling and one of them was the saw blade material that I used for making fillet knives and my homemade broadheads.
I had a fillet knife and the four broadheads that I had made for this years hunt on display as examples of how the blades could be used. Many many folks wanted the know about the homemade broadheads and asked if they were for sale, I thanked them and said these were for display purposes only. One woman was very persistent and said that her husband was one of the members of the boradhead collectors club and that she wanted the head to give as a gift for Fathers day. I sold her one of the four heads.
A short while later, 3 gentlemen from the broadhead collectors club came to me and said that because I had sold one of my heads that it was now in demand and they would not stand for the other club member have a one of a kind head in his collection that they did not possess. After much talking, I ended up selling the remaining three heads to those gentlemen. They asked me what the head was called so it could be entered in the records of the club.
Josh and I looked at each other and were at a loss. One man asked my last name and how much the head weighed and in the end, the head would be entered into the records as the "Kulas 165" Josh was tickled pink and now I have no broadeads for this years hunt (until I make more)
During the entire day of shooting and sight seeing, There were cooks, preparing the evenings meal of roasted hog and chicken. The smells were fantastic.
When the blanket trading was done, we enjoyed one hell of a great meal.
Refueled, we headed back to the blue course. Josh wanted to see if all the practice helped. This time we did not walk up on a single target and Josh was much improved. I could see in his face that he was enjoying himself. We both were "Ham shooters" on this shot.
Josh did better that I on the alligator.
While retrieving my arrow from the gator I lost something.
As it got dark, Josh and I headed to the aerial novelty shoot.
They had a device that would throw a foam disk into the air and for a dollar, you got six chances to hit it. The fellow launching the disks sat behind a thick plastic wall.
Josh took to this right off. He was normally the first to get his arrow into the air while the others were still drawing.
He was hitting them very well.
When we came back to camp, The "Campfire talk" was just beginning. We sat and listened to some the real greats of Traditional bowhunting take questions from the crowd. The panel was Roger Rothhaar, Dale Karch, Ken Beck, Marve Clyncke, Dave Doran, T.J. Conrads and G. Fred Asbell. It was a great time.
In the morning, we met up with G. Fred Asbell and Marv Clyncke. Josh did not know exactly who he was meeting.
Then it was time to pack up and head back to Wisconsin. We talked the whole way about making Josh his one recurve as a project. We bought some lamentations for the limbs from one of the vendors and that will be our winter project.
A new bowhunter was born this weekend and an old bowhunter felt like a kid again. We will be at Compton again.