Straight Talk - Glenn St. Charles By Frank Addington, Jr. with a special thank you to Diane Miller
Jul 17, 2008 - 9:28:05 AM
FA/DM: Give me a little background on where and when you
I was born in
in the Madrona District on Dec. 15, 1911.
FA/DM: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew
I really never thought much about it, until I was in high
school. I was always looking for agates, perhaps I wanted to be
an geologist, it was just a fun thing to do, In my senior year I took a
chemistry class, just to put in my time, but I found out it was quite
interesting and I thought at that time I might like to be a chemical engineer.
FA/DM: Tell us a little about your childhood and the role
it played in your love of the outdoors.
In the early 1920’s on summer vacations, I spent a lot of
time in the woods with my Dad, who was a timber cruiser. It was so much fun to
go back in the deep woods and set up a camp. Dad and his chainman would measure
the trees, I would go with him and do the dishes and make sour dough batter and
pancakes on the back of the stove. I would also catch fish and shoot grouse for
the cook to serve to the men. We slept in tents and learned a lot about many
different kinds of wildlife including Elk, Bear, Deer, and many others.
FA/DM: When did you realize a love for the outdoors and
When I was with my Dad in the forest the gophers were
eating the roots of thetrees so the company furnished me with the bullets to
deter the gophers. At that time I realized I enjoyed hunting.
Glenn honing his skills at the range.
FA/DM: What was your first experience with the Bow and
In 1924 we moved from
Spokane to a residence at Laurel Beach near
Fauntleroy, a suburb of
A bunch of neighborhood boys and me would walk along the 1 1/2 foot thick
cement seawall, peering into the 5 foot depth of clear blue-green water for anything
that might move. We thought the easiest way to catch some of the different creatures
we saw might be with a bow and arrow, but we would have to figure out how to
make one. We decided to make bows out of hazelnut branches, and string them with
meat wrapping twine. We thought we could use willow shoots plucked from the edge
of a nearby creek to fashion the arrows.. We made the points from sharpened headless
nails. We put these together and they were the tools of the day and made for an
exciting pastime. Little did I know at that time that this would be the first
of a long life of pleasure with a bow and arrow.
FA/DM: Did you continue to be intrigued with archery as a
In the late 1920’s scouting got my attention. Our scout
headquartered at nearby
RecreationalCenter. It was complete with all the basic woodworking tools. From
the Boy Scout manual I learned about the yew wood tree and how it made good
archery bows. So from a tree near my home I made my first bow. I couldn’t wait
for the wood to season; my bow was crude, but once again served its purpose. It
was at that time I found a spoke shave and a rasp that fit my needs and after
shaving here and there, I fashioned a bow that I found myself shooting with
every spare moment I could find.
Glenn from his book, "Billets to Bows"
FA/DM: When did you realize you wanted archery to be your
career and how did you get into the archery business?
From a young lad I always knew I loved archery and
enjoyed working with
wood and making bows but it wasn’t until after the war
that I really got serious about it. During World War 2 I worked for Coates
Electric Company manufacturing submarine parts for the Navy, but the late
1940’s found me leaving Coates Electric and opening an archery shop and store
It was my first attempt at making a living at archery. At that time I made my
first contact with Bear Archery, and after several conversations with Fred and
the other powers to be I became a Bear Dealer. In 1952 I designed by trial and
error, a recurve bow called the “Thunderbird”. I set up a small plant near our
place of business to build these bows. After making about 400 bows, I decided
to shut down the plant. I didn’t think I wanted to cope with the trials and tribulations
of the manufacturing business, plus dealing with the hazards of Fiberglas dust
became a factor with everyone in the business in those days.
Glenn flanked by Fred Bear and Dick Mauch.
FA/DM: You mentioned Bear Archery and Fred, tell us a
little bit about your friendship with Fred and how it all began?
Having spoken to Fred as a Bear Dealer, I decided in 1953
down our manufacturing plant to show him the
“Thunderbird”. So I attended the NFAA Tournament in
He did not seem to be to impressed, but one year later he introduced his first
laminated working recurve bow called the Kodiak II. While meeting with Fred in
Two Rivers we discussed many things, but our conversations seemed to go back to
the northwest and his quest for game other than the local whitetails and bear
he found in
He recognized that in the state of Washington, I was in the middle of some
great hunting and with a little more nosing around in the far north, I could
get to where there was much more and his question to me was would I include
him. So a life long friendship began. From 1948 and into the 1960’s we operated
not only as a Bear dealer, but also as a distributor and later, a West Coast
Warehouse. In the years that passed Fred and I spent many nights setting across
the fire in the great northwest reminiscing about past hunts and planning
FA/DM: What was your very first animal taken with a bow?
A mule deer in the year 1943 in Mad River Reserve in the
FA/DM: Did you grow up in a hunting family?
No not really,
FA/DM: Who was your mentor?
Kore Duryea, a recipient of the Maurice Thompson Award
who was born in
Imet him at the
Washington where he
was taking care of the Archery equipment. I spent a lot of time listening to stories he
Brooks Range Sheep country 1957 as Glenn heads for the top.
FA/DM: You are one of today’s most recognized names in
the sport of Bow hunting. How was it you became the driving force to create the
Pope & Young Club.
Someone had to do it, and I had the reputation of getting
things done. Karl
Palmatier, the president of the NFAA at that time asked
me if I would help straighten out a problem that existed for the Bowhunters, He
mentioned that the Bowhunters were in a lot of trouble and asked what I thought
could be done to help fix the problem. There were incidents like those that
happened at the Ravenna Arsenal in
The man in charge of the arsenal arranged archery hunts to cull some of the
deer population but the people that could not get permits waited outside the
fence of the arsenal and shot deer as they tried to get through the fence. This made archery hunting look
bad, as some of these displays were picked by the media and the films were seen
around the world.
Too many people were trying to put bowhunting down by staging
things that never happen. Someone had to take charge and prove different and
Karl thought I was the man for the job. So he appointed me as chairman of the
Big game committee for the National Field Archers. The committee that he
appointed was made up of the directors of the NFAA . I couldn’t seem to get any
cooperation or help. They were just interested in being on the committee, so
I asked Karl if I could appoint my own committee. He agreed and so after relieving
the first committee of their duties and appointing a new one we started to see
some activity. My new committee consisted of “died in the wool” local
bowhunters, Rosaline Remick, Bilo Brown, Jesse Russ, Bud Peck and Mal
Melonoski. We decided to form an association like the Boone & Crocket Club that would
pertain to archery. We adopted their rules and regulations on Feb. 28th 1958.
Immediately the program took off. This group later became the first committee
of the Pope & Young Club.
True legends and the inspiration for Glenn, (l) Art Young, Will Compton and Saxton Pope with his first deer, circa 1918.
FA/DM: Why did you name the organization after Saxon Pope
and Art Young?
They were the ones who sparked the idea of bow hunting
throughout the whole world.
Glenn, 1940 -
"The days when hunters looked like people, acted like people and smelled like people".
FA/DM: For those few people who don’t already know,
explain exactly what the mission of the Pope & Young Club is?
It is plain and simple, to prove that the bow was a
viable hunting weapon.
Pope and Young meeting, Grayling, MI June 29, 1960. Standing left, Carl Hulbert, Tobias Flato, Max Flato, Bob Lee, Russ Wright,Vic Beresford, Howard Gillelan, Bill Neve, Don Schram, Ed Marker, Bob Tapley, Bruce Bourquin, John Downey, Paul Clanin, Wayne Trimm and Bill Sparks. Seated, Chuck Kroll, Bobby Triplett, bill Wright, D.F. Vraspir, Glenn St. Charles, Martin Hanson, Fred Bear, Roy Hoff, Floyd Hauk and Larry Whiffen. Kneeling, J. Tipton Jones, W.T. Berry, Winston Burnham, Crawford Booth, Con Vraspir, Bill Stump and Bob Munger.
FA/DM: No one succeeds in this world alone, so who would
you thank for the well respected growth and success that has made the Pope and
Young Club what it is today?
First I thank
Washington State Game Department for their encouragement and
so many who believed in what we were doing at the time.
Also those that trusted in my ideas, John Yount from the NFAA and his secretary
Audrey Hein to mention a few. And of course my wife Margaret was behind me all
the way, as well as all my children, my family was my inspiration.
An archery book every true bowhunter should own.
FA/DM:While Pope & Young has been a life long
dedication for you Glenn, what did you do in your professional life.
Throughout the years I have done so many things, but my
passion was making
bows. I owned and operated Northwest Archery Company from
the early 1940’s until 2003. We manufactured Micky Finn Broadheads, several
different types of glass arrows, and bows, we also had a lot to do with the rules
and regulations of hunting in the state of
Washington. I spent a lot of time hunting in
other places which enabled me to write my book “Bows on the Little Delta. I have also written Billets to Bows, which is also
available on DVD.
FA/DM: What do you believe was the toughest or most
scariest time in your life?
Probably getting my family and myself through the 1929
stock market crash was the toughest. The scariest was on a hunting trip to
Alaska, I thought for
sure I had bought the farm. I was sitting on a rock in the middle of nowhere, it
was almost dark and the lake was beginning to freeze, and there we sat waiting
for our guide to pick us up.
At some time or another hunters who do a lot of hunting
find themselves in a
predicament they will remember forever — something that
really makes your whole past flash by in a matter of minutes because your
future at the moment doesn’t look too bright. For me, it happened this way . .
On this particular day, Nate and 1 were to bow hunt for
MichelPeak — one of the taller granite lumps
on the northwest perimeter of the park. The plan was for Wes to fly the pontoon
plane in as close as possible to the base by landing on one of the many small
lakes near the foot of it. Wes sorted through a few, trying to find one deep enough
to land on. His gauge for safe landing and takeoff was how high the reed grass
stood up in the water. If it bent over, it was too shallow; straight up —- it
was OK. The one he picked was fairly round and looked to be about six or seven
acres. He landed and put us ashore on the peak side. The lake, not big enough
for a straight-of-way takeoff, dictated that he go around and around to get up
enough speed. That was standard procedure in these small ponds. We watched Wes
disappear over the trees on the way back to the lodge. He was to pick us up an hour or so
Glenn gets his 'big one'.
FA/DM: What were you hunting at the time?
Goats? The goats were there on the mountain, all right,
but we couldn’t get to them. We tried every trick in the book to get above for
a better overlook — no way. They kept out of reach of my arrows in their climb
to the top and then went over the other side. It was too late to go on. We ate
lunch about one o’clock and started down. The sun went over the coastal mountains about the time we reached the
bottom. Immediately, it started getting quite cold. We made a small fire and
waited for Wes. He was late and shadows were lengthening rapidly. We were
attracted to a tinkling sound as the water lapped the shore, ice! The edge of
the lake was starting to freeze. There was the drone of an approaching
aircraft. Soon Wes, with the floats suddenly appeared over the trees. He dipped
toward the lake, landed, and we hastily got aboard, noting to him the icing on
the shoreline. Wes revved up the engine and proceeded to go around and around
the lake for a takeoff. No matter how much steam he got up, the plane would not
lift off that pond! We now noticed that the spray off the back of the pontoons appeared
to be freezing. Our main problem was, however, that the floats were, as usual,
half full of water and were riding very low and heavy. This was perhaps a moot problem.
Was there time to pump them out?!
A quick decision made by Wes. One of us would have to get
off to lighten the load. Nate elected to do just that. Wes would take me to the
big lake a half mile away, drop me off and come back for Nate. Wes tossed Nate
a box of crackers and suggested he build a fire just in case. Away Wes and I went,
around and around until finally we made it, barely missing the surrounding
trees! We glided in to the big lake and taxied, not to shore, but to a big rock
right in the middle of that lake!! There 1 was deposited and before I realized
what was really happening, Wes took off to get Nate.
While I watched that lunatic disappear over the trees, it
occurred to me that he just might have “sold me the farm!”
A survey of my 20-foot absolutely bare boulder produced
nothing but a very bleak outlook — not a very pleasant place to spend the last
hours of one’s life! It was at least a good bow shot to the nearest shore. Even
if I did make it, how would I fare with no clothes and no matches in the
freezing cold. Swimming in that icy water was unthinkable! My only hope was in
the drama occurring back at the small lake.
The top of that pond would be starting to freeze over and
the chances of Wes getting off with Nate were lessening by the minute. Would
they now have to abandon the takeoff with Nate? Would Wes, alone, be able to
get the plane off at all? It was very possible they would be forced to give up
and spend the night there. Could 1 last out the night? This chain of thoughts
passing through my mind was broken only by the distant roar of that plane
revving up and down and flapping like a wounded duck around that little pond.
This went on for about ten minutes, perhaps the longest ten minutes I have ever
Then there was a complete shutdown. My imagination ran
rampant. What was going on over there? All was quiet! At a time like this, a
whole life can pass before you.
Could they be taking out a seat? Were they pumping out
the pontoons. Boy, oh boy, my options on the rock were certainly limited —
drown in the lake trying to reach shore or possibly freeze to death on the
rock. I had matches. However, there wasn’t a sliver of wood on this boulder.
Five minutes — ten minutes went by. I thought I heard a motor cough - then
again - and again.
Now the motor was going full bore. He was trying once
again — by the off and on again fades in sound from him circling the pond, he was
frantically making a run for
it. Then a tremendous roar as he poured the gas on for
takeoff. He made it! In seconds, I could see the plane in the fading twilight
barely clear the trees and head my way. Without experiencing this, you can’t
know the feeling!
As a pontoon slid beside the rock, I quickly got aboard.
Nate was not with him! We took off the long way down the lake and circled back
over the pond to see if Nate was all right. A small fire and a figure hovering
over it. Nate waved. He had crackers, cheese, some dried apples and a 30-06.
All of this would give him some comfort during the long night. In the morning
he would have to walk his way about a half mile to the big lake along the rock-strewn
base of the cliffs that the goats called home. It was an untried route.
Wes was pipeless — first time! He described the scene I had
strained my ears for earlier. He had tried to get off the pond with Nate. It
was no go. The water was just too heavy with the freeze. He unloaded Nate once
again and to be sure he could get off at all, the two of them wrestled the caps
off of the floats, grabbed the pump and took time to pump some water out of
them. It worked —just barely! The next morning I went with Wes to check out the
scene and hopefully pick up Nate at the big lake. As we approached the end of
lake and my rock haven, Wes noted it and shook his head
apparently in disbelief, while I conjectured as to how that rock MIGHT have
Nate was there, all right, on the big lake shore hovering
over another small fire and seemed none the worse for wear. However, he was
very happy to get aboard and go back to the lodge for the hot meal awaiting
him. We circled the little pond that almost did us in. A thin sheet of ice
covered about half of it.
Such a harrowing ordeal all of us will long remember.
I’ll always wonder just how close I was to “buying the farm!”
Little Delta Bowhunters 1959
(l), Fred Bear, Dick Bolding, Bob Kelly, Russ Wright and Glenn.
FA/DM: Describe your best “feel” good moment?
On the personal side, Of course my wedding day and the
birth of my children were very special moments in my life.In recent times at the
Pope and Young Banquet in 2007 someone said “We wouldn’t be here today if Glenn
St. Charles had not done for bow hunting what he did.
Glenn with Frank Addington Jr.
FA/DM: What was your most incredible hunt?
On another of my Alaskan trips I was hunting with Bud
Grey, CEO of Whirlpool
Corp. We were hunting some white Dall sheep in Little
Delta, We noticed a big blond Grisly and I wanted to take photos. I was only
about 20 yards away. The bear was so interested in eating blueberries that he
could care less about us, just the berries. So I took my photographs while Bud
stood patiently by. He didn’t get his sheep then, but was successful the next
Five true giants in the archery industry;(l) Chuck Saunders, Earl Hoyt, Glenn St. Charles, Al Henderson and Frank Scott.
FA/DM: Who were some of those in our sport that you
Kore Duryea, Bert Wallis, Lloyd Beebe, Karl Palmatier,
and Fred Bear to mention a few.
FA/DM: With your life in bow hunting, what do you feel is
your most important contribution to the sport?
Just helping out when things needed to be none, maybe
being in the right place at the right time.
An interview by Dave Staples, President Archery Hall of Fame and Glenn.
FA/DM: You’ve let a pretty public life, but what little
secret could you share that most people don’t know?
Something I might like to share with your readers that
might surprise them would be throughout my entire lifetime it seems that women
have been the biggest influence on how I accomplished things and how I got
It began with my mother, then my first wife Majorie, who
because of taking an archery course in college at The University of Wyoming
renewed my interest in archery.
My second wife and partner Margaret worked with me in our
archery business and stood beside me for over 50 years, Margaret was the
driving force and I would not have accomplished a lot of things had it not been
for her. Another women was Rosiline Remick, Margaret’s sister. She was our
secretary at the Archery Shop and helped record a lot of Pope and Young
beginnings. There was also Audrey Heins, she was another influence on my life during
my days in the NFAA. Next came Holly Jensen, our assistant, both personally and
professionally, she helped with editing and proof reading for the production of
my book “Bows on the Little Delta”. Lastly Diane Miller came along. We became
acquainted through the
One of the women who inspired Glenn, Archery Hall of Fame Diane Miller.
Archery Hall of Fame. As Executive Director of the Hall
she came to Seattle a couple of years ago to present me with the Karl E.
Palmatier Award of Merit. It happened to be on my birthday and knowing I was a
hunter she brought me this little moose statue with a bobbing head. I thought
that was kinda special and it still sets on my window today. Diane, I call her
“Moose” has helped me with this interview, and during this time has made me
realize God still has a plan for me. I know now more than ever, that “It’s not
over until it is over”.
Now as I look back over my life from beginning to end it
seems like women have been the driving force. They have played such a big part
in my life.
The St. Charles family, 1987
Standing (l), William Hughes MD, daughter Adrienne, Rochelle Hughes with son Alex, Roger Hammond, Suzanne holding Sophia Hughes, Jay, Margaret, Glenn, Linda. Kneeling, Jay's wife Karen with son Robin, Marge and Joe with daughter Erin.
FA/DM: What are you doing now and do you have anything on
the burner that would interest today’s bowhunters?
At this time I am still active. I love doing all that I
can to promote the sport of archery and bow hunting. I enjoy talking to many of
my friends I have made thought out the years. A lot of my old buddies are now
gone, but I continue to meet new people, some of whom give me reasons to stay
around a lot longer.
The immortal Papa Bear looking over the 'River of No Return', the Salmon river, Idaho, 1961
FA/DM: Before I ask my final question Glenn, I want to
publicly thank you for all you have done for the sport of Bowhunting. If not
for pioneers and dreamers such as you the sport would not be where it is today.
So, to end our interview, what advice or words would you like to share with our
Live life to the fullest, the walk in the woods is a
short one, leave things better than you found them, If you are a hunter be
proud of being a HUNTER not a KILLER. If you can make even the smallest
difference, it is all worth the walk.