2012 Maryland Bowhunting Hall of Fame inductee: Bill Hassenmayer
A love for archery is something that burns inside. It comes from the heart and soul. An archer is enamored by the sight of the arcing arrow, the feel of the longbow in their hand, and the sense of self while in the woods absorbing nature’s beauty and bounty.
The smell of wood as it is scraped free of bark and material, giving birth to a newly crafted self bow brings ones imagination to the days of Robin Hood. True dedication is the education and wherewithal to educate the young and the unknowing in order to bring the craft forward. Dedication to archery is knowledge, will, and determination. A lifetime of dedication to archery outlining the characteristics of what you just read… priceless and is possessed by very few people in this world today.
Bill Hassenmayer is one of those few. Born May 7, 1935, his destiny with archery history would not be one to be forgotten. Bill was no stranger to archery or bowhunting. Back in the 1960’s he did shoot some “Stickbow” but like most, he was bitten by the compound bug. Bill took a number of deer, bear and small game, but found that weapon that lacked the challenge he was looking for.
Bill left his home state of New York in the fall of 1988. He sold his house, most of his personal belongings and closed his business. He hooked his camper to his pickup and went looking for a better hunting ground. He arrived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in November of ’88 with the intention of staying just a short time and maybe do some bowhunting. He was at that time, a regular member of the PBS. In short order he found the “Bow Shack”, a local archery shop in Salisbury, Md.
He began frequenting the shop practically every night. In fact, not long after he showed up, the owner, Butch Malone asked a local bowhunter: “do you know that old guy who is hanging around here every night? Do you think he is a pervert“? Little did anyone know! There he met and became friends with a number of traditional archers and began bow hunting with them. He decided he liked the area and the people, so he decided to stay.
In the fall of 1991 he and some other traditional archers were hunting on Assateague Island. There, he ran into some fellow traditional archers from the Western shore of Maryland. Over lunch they all decided that a Maryland traditional club should be started. The Traditional Bowhunters of Maryland (TBM) was born that day and Bill played a key role in its birth.
Over the next several months Bill and the others developed the club…..the bylaws, the logo, a newsletter and all the other things that went into starting the club. Around the same time, Bill was experimenting with making self bows. Soon that was all he shot and soon became quite an accomplished bowyer. He began to offer workshops at his home for anyone who expressed an interest….at no charge. He even supplied the Osage orange wood. Over the past two decades, He has taught numerous people how to make and shoot the self bow.
As the TBM grew, Bill stayed involved, and continues his involvement to this day. He will rarely miss an event or a shoot. He also still continues to teach bow making. For the last 8 years he and some other archers have been archery ambassadors for the state of Maryland by journeying to the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota to teach Native American children to make and shoot bows and arrows.
Bill is a life member of the Traditional Bowhunters of Maryland, Life member of the NRA and life member of the PBS (Professional Bowhunters Society). Besides deer, bear, and small game, Bill has taken Chesapeake Bay stingray, shark and other critters with his self-bows. A local bowhunter who once hunted with Bill, shared this little tidbit. ” during the rut in his second season hunting on a lease, Bill had an old warrior of a buck come in to his set. He called me that night and told me about how the buck was all droopy, sagging belly, little rack, and twisted up with old age. He said he couldn't bring himself to shoot him because it reminded him to much of himself!
Bill on the right with Hall of fame inductee Rob Davis:
Tough as nails with true grit and determination pretty much sums it up. Several years ago Bill suffered a stroke which left him with diminished use of his left arm and eye. In speaking with Bill the other day he told me he cut his right thumb on a table saw while cutting wood in his kitchen. Now that is dedication and perseverance.
For the year 2012, The Maryland Bowhunting Hall of Fame is proud to induct Bill Hassenmayer for his lifelong selfless support, dedication and promotion of archery and bowhunting in the state of Maryland. Congratulations Bill