It all started in late 1952, when a group of bow hunters from south of the famed Horicon Marsh in the county of Dodge, decided to form what now has become one of the finer archery clubs in the State. Bow hunting at the time was just in its infancy. The first bow only hunt on the Horicon Wildlife Refuge was still four years away. Not a compound to be found, much less a laminated recurve. The wood long bow and wood arrows were equipment of the times.
The newly formed Horicon Marsh Bowmen initially leased land in the kettles just on the out skirts of the City of Horicon. Using the rolling terrain to their advantage, hand painted card board targets were placed along the hill sides without the aid of bales and if it was bales, the least expensive straw was obtained. A salvaged chicken coup served as the club house and refreshment center.
Following a few years of preparation the HMB hosted their first major archery shoot. This was a State, Wisconsin Instinctive Bowmens shoot. This was 1957 when the club decided it was time to incorporate.
During these early years the club held indoor shoots in the winter. First in the Horicon City Park Pavilion, then on to the Dance hall in Kekoskee, then back to Horicon’s City Hall, following to Mayville’s High School gym.
After several unsuccessful attempts to extend their land lease the club moved east to more leased land midway between Horicon and Mayville just off state highway 28.
Once again came the challenge of developing of a new range and expanded facilities. The search began for an expansion to the initial club house. Results- location of another free-bee, the Clark Berry picking shack.
With a great deal of cleaning and remodeling this dandy became a gathering place for many an archer to share stories and enjoy a refreshment or two. In early 1967 concern was mounting for the lack of woods to lease. Coupled together with the desire for a clubhouse with indoor facilities, indoor shooting and the comfort of a fireplace, a search for land to buy was launched.
In October of 1967 once again the move was on. Forty acres of land was purchased at a cost of $5,000.00. Members pooled their monies through interest free loans in lots of $25.00 each. Friends of the Horicon Marsh Bowmen also offered their support by participating in these loans.
This time it’s on to highway V just south of Mayville and only 2 miles from the original site east of Horicon. The moving of the buildings began on the foggiest day of the year. To say the least, moving a 20 foot wide building down a road on a foggy morning was not a good choice. But, we’re here!
Once again it’s back to setting up new ranges. This time it’s a 28 target big game round and 14 target small game round. This does not come easy! Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. But with Gus’s 52 Chevy, a stone boat, and a lot of muscles an archery range became a reality.
With the development of a new Archery range in the community came many new memberships. Soon the old chicken coop and berry picking shanty became to small and the thoughts of indoor plumbing lead to talk of a building. Due to a lack of funds an addition was made to the berry picking shanty with lumber from a barn the members tore down prior to the move. (that’s another whole story)
In 1971 a new 24’ by 45’ clubhouse (with plumbing) was constructed. Numerous White Elephant Sales and Fruit Sales were held to pay for the new facilities. Indoor winter leagues were still held at the school gym in Mayville.
In 1973 the mortgage on the land was satisfied and burned. This led to construction of an indoor shooting range. And finally the dream- a fireplace.
With all the dreams and wants in place it was time to sit back and enjoy.
Not so, It’s onto other things-
Sharing , maintaining, and promoting the sport of archery.
In keeping with their Constitution Article II, Purpose –
“To Foster, direct, and perpetuate the practice of archery in accordance with the high spirit and honorable tradition of the most ancient sport.”
*The club provides the instructors and facilities to assist various organizations in the training of young archers.
* Sponsors the archery portion of the DNR Hunter Safety Training.
*Sponsors the International Bow Hunter
*Promotes youth Archery by sponsoring an Archery Allie at the Mayville Audubon days festival.
*Provides free archery instructions for the public.
*Promotes the Wisconsin Bowhunters Assoc. by sponsoring an annual fund raiser.(HMB is a101% Club in the WBH)
*All facilities at the HMB are open to its membership for their use at any time. An annual family membership for Mom, Dad and all the kids is $90.00 per year. This includes all shooting fees for practice and indoor and outdoor leagues. All bow hunters must be members of WBH. The Club is maintained in its entirety by the membership through work hours.
The Horicon Marsh Bowmen Inc. celebrated their 50th Anniversary on April 20, 2002. A formal celebration was held to include, a “Reliving Fifty Years of Memories” social followed by a dinner and dance. Invitations had been sent to all 500 of the past and present members.
A new Bow Shelter was dedicated at the April 20th celebration.
The Bow Shelter
Dedicated to the members of
The Horicon Marsh Bowmen
who gave of their
time and talents
to provide and maintain this
Over the past fifty years.
In celebration of fifty years of Archery
April 20, 2002
Horicon Marsh Bowmen Inc.