Gary Hintz, owner of Bucks & Bulls Archery in Stevens Point, demonstrates how to shoot with a bow at his business. / Nathan Vine/Stevens Point Journal Media
Gary Hintz says that while archery is a year-round activity for him, last year it became his business as well.
Hintz, 52, has been shooting a bow for about 30 years, both as a hunter and as a competitive archer.
He’s traveled to Canada, Wyoming, Minnesota and Illinois to hunt a variety of animals, and he’s planning trips to Florida and Alaska next year. Competitively, he’s won numerous state championships, a gold medal in the Badger State Games, and posted top-six finishes in both national and international competitions.
In July 2012, Hintz bought Bucks & Bulls Archery and moved it from Plover to 3272 Church St. in Stevens Point, where he sells archery products and offers lessons to customers.
How did you get interested in archery?
Hintz said he started deer hunting with a bow and arrow when he was about 12 years old, going out with his father and cousin.
Once involved with hunting, Hintz said he developed an interest in competitive archery, and at 16 started shooting with the Blackhawk Archery Club at the former Starlite Ballroom on the north side of Stevens Point.
“Nobody else in the family was really into competition, it was just something I ran with,” Hintz said.
What equipment is needed to get started?
Hintz says newcomers to archery can purchase a starter package that includes a bow and other items like a quiver, which is a container to hold arrows, for about $260. He pointed out that bows have to be adjusted to the individual, which can take about 30 minutes. Hintz says his business offers that service free with the purchase of a bow.
Arrows are another expense, costing from $30 to $150 for packages of six to a dozen. Hintz said arrows also can be customized, costing about $20 per dozen.
What types of skills or training are required to get started?
Hintz said that while individuals getting started don’t really need to have much in the way of training or skills, it is important to work with a knowledgeable instructor.
“It’s not just standing in one place and pulling back on a string,” said Hintz, who is an advanced certified archery instructor. “There is skill to being able to handle a bow, and having someone to be able to walk you through it will make a big difference.”
Are there local clubs or groups you can join?
Hintz said the primary local group is the Blackhawk Archery Club, which has a clubhouse at 7820 Highway Z in Custer. The club charges about $30 for an annual membership. He added that his business also offers shooting for $5 a session, and he coaches young archers who compete in state and national competitions.
Why would you encourage others to give archery a try?
Hintz said archery is a sport that anyone can join. He said there are competitive events nearly every weekend throughout the year, and that people also can hunt year-round, for example, turkeys in the springs, deer in the fall, coyote in winter and fish during the summer.
“You don’t have to be the greatest athlete to do this. It’s an opportunity to participate in a fun activity, and get outdoors and enjoy nature,” Hintz said.
Nathan Vine can be reached at 715-345-2252. Find him on Twitter as @SPJNathanVine.