For years of great service and dedication to the sport of archery, The Maryland Bowhunting Hall of Fame is proud to present Jerry Wenzel as another of it's 2008 inductees.
In many cases, it is the general interest in hunting that leads one to bowhunting to enjoy more time in the field. In the case of Jerry Wenzel, it was the sport of archery that led to bowhunting.
Jerry started shooting archery in my his teen years. In the early 1950s, his father was given a bow and since he wasn’t interested in using it, he gave it to Jerry. It was a 50 pound longbow which is still in Jerry's possession.
At the time, what Jerry knew about archery was only what was seen in Cowboy and Indian movies. Luckily, the local sporting goods store had some archery equipment on display and the proprietors knew archery. They got him set up with the correct arrows, accessories and a couple of helpful books. Shooting the bow and arrow was great fun, and he learned to shoot well from the books with a great deal of practice. Since no one in Jerry's immediate family hunted, bowhunting would wait until later in life, but the backyard practice continued.
Archery was put aside for a few years due to a tour with the U. S. Army, and college. After college Jerry married his lovely wife Mary and moved to Maryland to start work with Westinghouse. Mary took up archery as a sport that they could do together.
When some good friends at work learned that Jerry was an archer and interested in hunting, they invited him to go with them. Again, it was a knowledgeable person at a sports store who gave good advice on hunting arrows and broadheads that helped him get properly outfitted with a good hunting bow and arrows.
The first year of hunting was 1968 and most of the time afield was on the Maryland Eastern Shore. After that, Jerry hunted whenever he was in Maryland on the watersheds, Western Maryland, as well as the Eastern Shore. Work took Jerry and his family out of Maryland and overseas for several years where it was not feasible to hunt, but bowhunting was resumed when they returned home to the US.
About 1985, the long term travel for work was changed to short term allowing Jerry to bowhunt every year since. At about that same time, Jerry's youngest son Scott became interested in archery competition. Jerry, Mary and Scott all started competing a lot more. That led to becoming involved with the Maryland Archery Association (MAA), the National Field Archery Association and Maryland archery clubs as well as the Maryland Bowhunter Society (MBS).
One thing Jerry learned about the major archery associations in the United States is that they all owe their existence to bowhunting. Many people think of the two national organizations - the National Archery Association (NAA) and the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) - as strictly paper target archery organizations. However, both were founded through the efforts of bow hunters. The NFAA was an early proponent of bowhunter education and founded the organization that became the National Bowhunting Education Foundation (NBEF) which now oversees bowhunter education in the U. S. using the International Bowhunter Education Program (IBEP).
As Jerry became more involved with organized archery, he took on some leadership roles in local archery clubs and the Maryland Archery Association. One role was that of instructor. For him, archery instruction is an avocation. To do a better job at that, Jerry became certified as an archery instructor and bowhunting education instructor.
For several years after that, he led the Mayberry Archers bowhunting education team in conducting at least one bowhunting education course each year. He also worked to introduced archery at camps by certifying camp archery instructors throughout Maryland and teaching archery at a couple of camps.
One of those camps - Camp Sunrise - is a special camp for kids with cancer. It is set up to provide a camping experience where cancer patients don’t stand out from other kids and can just enjoy camping. In Jerry's words, "to teach archery to those kids is a great experience." But, Camp Sunrise is an expensive camp. As the MAA Charity Shoot chairman, Jerry helped that shoot make money to help support the camp. The MBS (Maryland Bowhunting Society) also joined in to help support the camp's fund raising effort. Since that time the MAA Charity Shoot has raised thousands of dollars every year for Camp Sunrise.
In 2005, Jerry and his wife moved to rural Virginia, were they can enjoy the woods and life just outside their door. Mrs. Wenzel has also become an archery coach and joins Jerry in their teachings. Today, he and Mary continue their instruction to beginning archers and certifying other instructors. They compete in archery tournaments and work to promote archery and bowhunting.
Over the years, Jerry Wenzel has diligently tried to improve his archery instruction skills by taking many courses and in collaboration with other instructors. He has reached the level of NFAA Master Coach, Pro Level and NAA Level 3 Instructor. A list of some of the main archery/bowhunting milestones are:
NFAA Certified Instructor: 1997
Maryland Hunter Education Instructor: 1997
Maryland Bowhunter Education Instructor: 1997
NFAA Advanced Certified Instructor: 1999
NFAA Master Coach: 2000
NAA Level 3 Instructor: 2003
Mayberry Archers President: 1996 - 1998
MAA Charity Shoot Chairman: 1999 - 2000
MAA President: 2000 - 2003
NFAA Indoor National Senior Bowhunter Freestyle Limited first place - 1993.
Several Senior age group MD State Tournament wins in the late 1990s - 2005.
MAA Triple Crown winner for FITA Master age group, Compound, Fingers, 2002.
MAA Bowman of the Year - 2005.Virginia Senior or Master age group Championships in 2006 and 2007.
National Senior Games age group placements:
3RD Place 55-60 age group: 1995
2ND Place 65-69 age group: 2003
National Champ 65-69 age group: 20053RD Place 65-69 age group: 2007