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20th Annual Spring Thaw
Primitive Shoot





Self-bows are made from a single piece or 2 pieces of wood spliced together at the handle. Natural backings such as sinew and rawhide are allowed. 


Arrows from natural materials such as wood or river cane are the only types of arrows allowed.


Arrows used in competitions must be self-nock. EXCEPTIONS in equipment will be made for children who can shoot any form of stickbow and arrows




$20.00 per person


Primitive camping all weekend! Camping is free and no reservation is necessary. Please note that our clubhouse kitchen will not be open for this event.


Noon- Check in and registration

6:30pm- Primitive fire starting seminar for anyone who is interested. This would give students one day to prepare for one log fire contest.



10:00 am.  Knife and hawk throw: there are knife and hawks that can be used by people that don’t have their own. Event is scored and winner receives a plaque and prize. Winner will receive plaque and prize. Any participant of shoot member or non member can compete.

12 noon  The Woods Walk is open to all participants of the Spring Thaw Primitive Shoot, both members and non-members of Hawkeye Bowmen.  Depending upon the turnout, there may be the need for a qualifying round to get into the final woods walk or if the turnout is only 5 or 6, then everyone will be in the final woods walk.


Qualification will consist of shooting multiple 3-D animal targets for score. The archers with the highest scores will be led through the woods to compete against each other in various mountain man related challenges. The location for this year's Woods Walk should be accessible to all and will require only short distances of walking.


This year the focus will be on primitive bow shooting skills. Start practicing your short/long distance shots, shooting from various positions, as well as speed shooting.


Equipment:   A primitive self-bow being defined for this Woods Walk being a bow made from a single piece of wood. Extra material such as horn nocks on the ends, or built-up handles will be accepted. Also accepted will be a bow spliced together in the handle from two pieces of wood. No laminated traditional bows. Arrows for this Woods Walk being defined as self nock with no plastic nocks. Arrow shaft made from a natural material such as wood, river cane or bamboo. Manufactured wood shafts are acceptable. Field points only. You should bring with you at least 6 or 7 arrows.

In addition to the required self-bow and self-nock arrows, participants are encouraged to wear period-correct clothing and bring what they might need during a mid-1700 to mid-1800 day trek, e.g., possibles bag, knife, fire kit, tomahawk, their knowledge of the woods, etc. 


Each year the Woods Walk follows a different theme that is announced at the start of the event; themes in the past included “Bear Attack”, “Gold Prospecting”, “Ship Wrecked”, and “Stalked by Natives”, to name a few. 

There is a very nice award for this year's winner

2 PM One log fire contest

Each contestant picks out a log from wood pile. That one log must be split and used for entire fire start to finish. In that fire you need to boil about 2 cups of water. First to bring water to a boil wins. You will need a metal cup to boil water in, a flint and steel kit or other primitive method ( fire piston, bow drill etc. ) your own charred cloth and birds nest, and an axe or other item to split your log down. There will be people there to help answer questions and give advice. Plaque and prize awarded. Any participant of shoot can compete member or non member.

4:00Pm Boss gobbler- OPEN TO ONLY HAWKEYE MEMBERS may compete as long as the bow is a self-bow, non-laminated and self-nocked arrows. Winner from previous year runs the shoot. Each participant shoots at specific target. Hit it and you advance. Miss and you are out. Contestants usually move back and shoot again until there is only one shooter left. Winner receives a beautiful box turkey call and diary along with bragging rights to best primitive shooter. This is a traveling call and must be brought back the next year along with diary of what you did with the call either hunting or just calling in and photographing turkeys.

Potluck Dinner - 6 p.m.



Each person takes 2 practice shots and then takes 2 shots for score at an 80 yard target. Closest to center wins. Plaque and prize. Any participant of shoot can compete members and non members.


Best camp This is open only to campers and is judged by Rob for best camp. Plaque and prize awarded.

Spectators are welcome to come out to view all of the events. 

For more details on events, contact Rob Marcotte at (607) 590-0835

Winners of the 2024 Spring Thaw Events

Hawk and Knife Throw - Dino Zack

Woods Walk - Jim Newhouse (after a double round of shoot off with John Wiehe!)

1 Log Fire - Dino Zack

Boss Gobbler - Jim Newhouse

Camp of the Year - the Wimmer Family

Clout Shoot - Dino Zack

Many thanks to Brian Schlifke for his advice, organization and historical knowledge which greatly contributed to the success of our 20th Annual Primitive Shoot!!

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