Kremmling’s Archery in the Wild invites customers into an ancient sport
Humans have been practicing archery for millennia. Its history as an essential hunting tool has evolved into a popular sport enjoyed by over 20 million Americans each year. Archery requires patience, tactical strength and skill, earning its place as one of the first Olympic sports, added in 1900.
Boyd and Carol Wild call their new shop Archery in the Wild and have brought this ancient sport to Kremmling. Shoppers can find the store on a windy, scenic road, secluded among pine trees. Stepping inside, expect to browse a wide selection of bows and arrows, as well as receive personalized personal service from the Wilds.
The husband and wife team are both experts in the field of archery. They enthusiastically share their knowledge with everyone who walks into their shop, whether long-time hunters or kids ready for the range.
“We’ve had our own business for 20 years,” Carol said. The Wilds have owned a popular shop and archery range in Longmont since 2002, but dreamed of moving their business to the High Country. They finally pulled it off in February, arranging their soft opening last week. They are planning a grand opening BBQ once the snow clears.
Archery in the Wild is open by appointment Monday through Saturday. As the store is outside the town of Kremmling in Old Park, the owners ask customers to call before arriving. Inside, avid bow hunters and beginners will find everything from compound hunting bows to compound target bows to traditional bows, as well as bowstrings from brands like Bowtech, Elite, Prime and Hoyt. Arrow brands available include Gold Tip, Easton and Victory. Complete your kit with sights, arrow rests, quivers, elk-scented decoys and more.
“We also specialize in custom strings,” Carol said, pointing out that customers who buy factory-made bowstrings from a big box store won’t get the customization or high-quality hardware they expect. can find at Archery in the Wild. Rope making is a craft that Boyd has perfected over the years. Boyd tailors the string to each customer’s specific bow, depending on the number of strands they need, the type of material or the colors they want to use. It pre-stretches all of its strings, which means they’ll hit a straight shot every time. Factory made strings are not pre-stretched which reduces consistency and requires continuous adjustment.
“It’s a lot of fun doing twine,” Boyd said. He explained that custom bowstrings give customers more confidence because they know it was made to their exact bow specifications. The choice of certain colors can also be important for people, giving their bow a particular style. “Girls will choose bright (colors), like teal and purple! It’s really cool to do,” Boyd said. “You become so attached to your bow and you want this baby to be perfect.”
Perfection is important for a deeper reason than looks or style. Bows and arrows, for all their appeal, are also weapons.
“We owe it to the animals that this bow is perfect. If I know when I’m backing up I can’t humanely get that animal out, then I won’t even shoot,” Boyd said. “When you hunt, you have to have confidence in the material of your bow.”
The Wilds also make custom arrows. Some customers prefer traditional bows with feather fletches, while others prefer modern arrows with plastic fletches. The empennages are more than colorful; they are integral to the stabilization and rotation of the boom. Feathered or vaned tails have their own advantages, depending on what the archer is using them for. For example, feather fletches look better than plastic vanes and stabilize the arrow better, but are less durable and can be damaged more easily by brush or rain.
Boyd added that feathers have been used for thousands of years. The first humans started hunting with arrows around 20,000 BC.
“All they needed was a stick and string, and to make an arrow,” Boyd said.
Archery allowed humans to survive and advance; those who enjoy hunting today follow an ancient tradition.
In addition to their target shooting experience, the Wilds are also hunters. They have the head of an impressive store-mounted buffalo, which Carol shot with a bow on a ranch near Spinney Mountain Reservoir.
“It was really close to free roaming; we couldn’t even see the fence,” Boyd said. “We asked (the outfitter) if we could get 30 yards, and he said there was no way we could get that close. He couldn’t believe Carol shot him at 31.
Bow hunting requires closer proximity to the animal than gun hunting, and the hunter must use stealth to be successful. Boyd uses meat from all of his catch – the 1,200 pound buffalo they shot earned them 450 pounds of meat.
“For us, it’s not about the kill, it’s about the journey and the cool experiences you have there,” Boyd said of the hunt.
The Wilds enjoy being part of nature and experiencing wildlife in ways otherwise inaccessible. Their love of the “wild” country is part of the reason they chose Kremmling as their home.
They are much happier with the slower pace and mountainous landscape of Kremmling. They take advantage of everything the high country has to offer – beautiful scenery and friendly people, as well as plenty of fishing and hunting opportunities. Plus, they have a history in Grand County.
“Our daughter first moved to Kremmling, so we started going out. We said to ourselves: ‘What a beautiful country it is here!’ said Boyd. Kremmling reminds him of what Longmont looked like as a child, before he got too busy. “Here, people greet you and greet you. Everyone is really nice.