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Straight Talk - Interviews
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 were born.

 I was born in Seattle in the Madrona District on Dec. 15, 1911.

 

FA/DM: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 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 hunting?

 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 Arrow?

 In 1924 we moved from Spokane to a residence at Laurel Beach near Fauntleroy, a suburb of Seattle. 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 young man?

 
In the late 1920’s scouting got my attention. Our scout troop was
headquartered at nearby Fauntleroy Community Church and Recreational Center. 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 in south Seattle. 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 after shutting
down our manufacturing plant to show him the “Thunderbird”. So I attended the NFAA Tournament in Two Rivers Wisconsin. 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 Michigan. 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 future ones..

 

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 state of Washington.

 

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 Japan. Imet him at the University of Washington where he was taking care of the Archery equipment. I spent a lot of time listening to stories he would tell.

 

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 Ohio. 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 Alaska and 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 goats on Michel Peak — 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 before sundown.

 
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 experienced.

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 the big
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 looked.

 
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 day.

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 admire most?

 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 things done.

 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 audience?

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.

 

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