Without question, the love of Schafer’s life was his young toddler, Hunter. “A bitter custody battle [for the child] really hurt Paul,” reflected Bob Windauer. “Paul desperately wanted to raise a family of his own, but it never worked out. Paul was very sensitive and perhaps too trusting; his conscience was right where it belonged.”
Like many legends, Paul Schafer’s story could not be told while he lived. Shy, sensitive, and ever humble, he shunned publicity and avoided the limelight. Only a small fraternity of friends knows the bits and pieces which combine to form the tale of his incredible legacy. Perhaps it’s now appropriate to assemble those vignettes as Schafer rests in peace.
All of Paul Schafer’s trophies fell to an arrow driven by a Schafer Silvertip recurve, a bow of his own design and crafting known for its graceful lines, rugged wood laminations, and lightning speed. First made in 1974 and named after a memorable grizzly, the Silvertip is still in production. Bowyer Dave Windauer, who served a four-year apprenticeship with Schafer, assumed the business. Contact: Schafer Silvertip, 357 Roberts Rd., Columbia Falls, MT 59912; (406) 892-0580.
It is unfortunate, but a full and accurate account of Schafer’s bow kills is highly unlikely. His huge Montana mule deer head was stolen, though some heads have surfaced since his death. When Matt Riley retrieved some of Schafer’s personal belongings, he discovered a large box in Schafer’s workshop containing three dust-covered blacktail racks. All were taken while filming a brown bear hunt on Kodiak Island and all are Pope and Young-class.
Heads ranking World Record-class include: Canadian moose, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goat and the largest African Cape buffalo likely taken by a modern bowhunter. State Record-class: A trio of Montana bowhunting records—Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer. Pope and Young-class: A string of species including a half-dozen mountain goats, about a dozen whitetails, several blacktail, elk, grizzly and black bear. Finally, it should be mentioned that Paul Schafer’s Grand Slam of the four species of wild sheep (Dall, bighorn, desert bighorn, Stone) is still considered the best-of-the-best today.