Remembering Legendary Bowhunter Dwight Schuh; 1945-2019

Hall of Fame bowhunter Dwight Schuh dies after an 8-year battle with cancer.

Remembering Legendary Bowhunter Dwight Schuh; 1945-2019

Though I never had the chance to meet Dwight Schuh in person, I did have the pleasure of working on a book project with him many years ago. This was before the days of email, so Dwight and I communicated on the phone and through the U.S. Mail. Times have changed a lot since then, but one thing that never changed was the kindness and character of legendary bowhunter Dwight Schuh.

This morning, while scrolling through Facebook, I began to see posts about the passing of Dwight Schuh. While Dwight and I didn’t stay in contact via social media, we certainly had many mutual friends. And I could see that many of my buddies in the bowhunting community were hurting when they heard this sad news.

On Dwight Schuh’s personal Facebook page were written these words: 

“Following a long fight with multiple myeloma, Dwight Schuh peacefully crossed his final finish line this afternoon, February 5, 2019 surrounded by his wife and two daughters and brother's family. Dwight was a bowhunting pioneer, industry icon, fisherman, Ironman, ultrarunner, marathoner, Army veteran, role model, follower of Christ, and beloved dad, husband, grandpa, and brother. He was planning his next adventure to the end. He never conceded, never acquiesced, never quit.”

Tributes such as this one from Bowhunting World Editor-in-Chief Jace Bauserman filled my FB newsfeed:

“The bowhunting community lost a giant yesterday. Dwight Schuh was a pioneer and a legend, and to me, a wonderful friend and mentor. Dwight took a chance on me as young, aspiring outdoor writer and helped mold me along the way. Being able to hunt, run and share time with Dwight and his wonderful wife, Laura, will be memories I will forever cherish! Rest easy my friend!”

Bowhunter/athlete Dwight Schuh crossing an Ironman finish line.
Bowhunter/athlete Dwight Schuh crossing an Ironman finish line.

From outdoor writer/photographer Brian Grossman:

“Sad to hear about the passing of Dwight Schuh, a true bowhunting icon. Years ago, as a young(er) aspiring outdoor writer, I sent Dwight an article for consideration in Bowhunter Magazine. Rather than tossing it in the trash and going about his business like most editors would have done, Dwight took the time to write me back with some words of wisdom to improve my writing skills. I took those words to heart, and I kept that letter and still have it today. More important than Dwight's hunting accolades, though, was the fact that Dwight was a man of God. So there is little doubt that today he is standing with Jesus in heaven. Godspeed Dwight.” 

From my friend Curt Wells, who took over for Dwight as only the third editor of Bowhunter Magazine: 

“It is with profound sadness that I must acknowledge the passing of my mentor, my hero, and my friend, Dwight Schuh. Yesterday, Feb. 5, Dwight completed his final hike to the summit called Heaven. He battled cancer for eight years, succumbing at the age of 73. In the world of bowhunting and outdoor writing, Dwight was “The Man,” and I would not be the man I am today if not for Dwight’s inspiration. I am proud to have shared bowhunting adventures with Dwight, including a moose hunt in Alaska where I took this photo of Dwight hiking ahead of me. He was always ahead of me and always will be. Rest In Peace my friend. I love you.”

And finally from M. R. James, who like Dwight, is also a member of the Bowhunters Hall of Fame:

  “A death in the family: The passing of Dwight Schuh on Tuesday afternoon hit the Bowhunter Magazine family especially hard. A longtime friend, talented writer, and frequent contributor to our publication, Dwight was my first choice to replace me as the magazine’s editor when I stepped down after 35 years of leading Bowhunter since its founding in 1971. Besides me, only Dwight and current Editor Curt Wells have held that key position. In honor of this kind and inspirational Christian family man, who was one of the best bowhunters I've ever known, I'll be sharing some special memories and photos of Dwight in the days ahead. For now, I pass along my heartfelt condolences to wife Laura, daughters Emily and Margie, their families, and Dwight's legions of friends and admirers. RIP, my friend. Your place in archery history is secure.”

The only three editors to lead Bowhunter Magazine: Curt Wells (left), M. R. James (center) and Dwight Schuh. (Facebook photo courtesy of M. R. James.)
The only three editors to lead Bowhunter Magazine: Curt Wells (left), M. R. James (center) and Dwight Schuh. (Facebook photo courtesy of M. R. James.)

More About Dwight Schuh

In gathering information for this article, I visited Dwight’s Facebook page and was pleased to see a biography listed under the “More Info” heading that is as complete and well-written as anything I’ve ever seen online. Now that I think about it, this shouldn’t have surprised me because Dwight strived for excellence in every part of his life. Rest in peace, Dwight.

The text below from Dwight’s Facebook page is well worth your time. And I think you’ll be surprised to learn many interesting facts, including that he didn’t take up bowhunting until a bit later in life. In his own words, this was Dwight Schuh:

About: My mission is to entertain, educate, inspire, and motivate you in big game hunting, writing, and healthy living.

Biography:

I was born in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1945 and moved with my family to Klamath Falls in southern Oregon in 1948, where I grew up, went to school, lived for 40 years — and developed my love for the outdoors. At age 5, my dad, Joe Schuh, started taking me fishing, and I caught my first trout, a 3.5-pound rainbow, while trolling a Ford Fender and worms on Klamath Lake. The mighty tug of that trout at the end of my line hooked me on fishing for life. When I turned 9, my dad took me duck hunting for the first time. Knowing little about teaching, he gave me a .410 single shot, three boxes of shells, hid me beside a haystack in a field, and said, “Don’t shoot until you can see the ducks’ feet.” With that he went off to jump-shoot ducks on nearby ditches. Seventy-four shots later, I scratched down a mallard hen, my first duck. Again I was hooked! The sight of a mallard with cupped wings and the smell of Hoppe’s No. 9 haunted me. Instantly, I lived to hunt ducks.

At age 12, the minimum legal age for hunting big game in Oregon, my dad took me deer hunting for the first time, and when a mule deer buck, jumped by other hunters, nearly ran over us, I emptied all five shots from my dad’s old .32 Remington automatic in about 2 seconds. A couple of my shots connected, and I had my first deer. Although I rifle-killed a couple of more bucks during my high school years, deer hunting did not inflame the same passion in me that duck hunting did. After graduating from high school in Klamath Falls in 1963, I fumbled through a couple of years of college and then, in 1966, received a draft notice from the Department of Defense. I knew that getting drafted guaranteed me 2 years of infantry duty in Vietnam, a bleak prospect, so I joined the U.S. Army for 3 years as a heavy equipment specialist. After basic training and diesel mechanic school, I spent a year in Vietnam and then a glorious year at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, the upland bird hunting capital of the U.S. During the 6-month upland bird season, I burned up many cases of shotgun shells and glutted myself on doves and quail. After my discharge in the summer of 1969, a friend invited me to go bowhunting for mule deer with him at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in eastern Oregon. I knew nothing about bowhunting, did not own a bow, and had little interest. However, I had nothing better to do until college started in the fall, so I borrowed a 56-pound Bear Cub longbow from a friend, bought a dozen Bear cedar shafts tipped with Bear Razorheads, and went bowhunting. Roaming through the sagebrush and aspen, I was clueless and did not come close to killing a deer, but that excursion changed my life forever. Through it I developed a fascination for watching arrows fly through the air, and I saw more bucks — big bucks — on my first day of bowhunting than I’d seen in a dozen years of rifle hunting.

From that first day I was obsessed with bowhunting for big game, and I have now bowhunted seriously for more than 40 years. During my early years, I hunted only for deer and elk in Oregon, but as my interest and bank account grew, I started branching out to hunt for various species in other states — mule deer, elk, and antelope in most of the western states; whitetails across the West, the Deep South, Texas, and the Midwest; black bears in Montana, Idaho, and other states. During this same time, I launched my career as an outdoor writer. I had started reading outdoor magazines in the first grade, and throughout childhood I devoured every word in Outdoor Life, Sports Afield and Field & Stream. Guys like Jack O’Connor, John Jobson, Jason Lucas, Fred Bear, Erwin Bauer and other major writers of that era were my heroes. Coupling my admiration for their writing with my obsession for all things outdoors — fishing of any kind, duck hunting, deer hunting — I decided in high school that I wanted to be an outdoor writer. That sounds admirable enough, but how could an average guy from a little town in southern Oregon make a living hunting and writing? More than one person, including my mother, told me that was the impossible dream, and down in my guts I thought so, too. But I refused to let the dream die, and upon my discharge from the military in 1969, I enrolled at the University of Idaho, where I earned a BA in English in 1971. Not at all incidentally, that same year I married my wife, Laura; bought my first bow, a 52-pound Browning Nomad recurve; and launched my freelance writing career. Thus, I have been married, bowhunting, and writing magazine articles and books for the same length of time, more than 40 years.

I thought that English degree would make me an outdoor writer, and it may have helped as I did get a job writing an outdoor column for the local newspaper and sold a few magazine stories. My first big-time sale, “Confessions of a Bullhead Buff,” appeared in Outdoor Life in March 1974, and I sold a few other stories on waterfowl and bowhunting to Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, and Sports Afield. Still, my career as a writer did little more than fizzle.  In 1978, in desperation I enrolled at the University of Oregon and earned a BA in journalism. From that point, things began to pick up. In 1979, Outdoor Life put me on staff as Western Editor, a position I held for 3 years. In that position I continued to write general outdoors material, but after leaving Outdoor Life, I began writing strictly about bowhunting for big game and freelanced stories on that subject to Bowhunter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunting World, and many others. From 1988-98, I also served as Bows & Arrows Editor for Sports Afield. To summarize, for 25 years, from 1971 through 1996, I made my living as a freelance writer/photographer, during which time I sold hundreds of features, columns, and photographs to numerous magazines.

Dwight Schuh carrying one of the first compound bows on a successful deer hunt.
Dwight Schuh carrying one of the first compound bows on a successful deer hunt.

Then, in 1996, I went from independent contractor to salaried employee when Bowhunter Magazine Founder M.R. James hired me to replace him as Editor, a position I held until my retirement in May 2011. During my 16 years as Editor of Bowhunter, I reviewed 600-800 article submissions per year; selected, bought, and scheduled all stories used in the magazine; and edited every word of every story and column published in the magazine. Along with my editing duties, I wrote more than 50 feature articles, 150 editorials, and a regular back page column called The Wild Side.

In addition to this magazine experience, I have written nine books on archery and backcountry hunting. The first, Modern Outdoor Survival, came out in 1978, followed by Bugling for Elk, Hunting Open-Country Mule Deer, Bowhunter's Encyclopedia, Fundamentals of Bowhunting, All About Elk, The Outdoor Life Deer Hunter’s Encyclopedia, The Complete Bowhunter: Bowhunting Equipment & Skills, Archer’s Bible Presents: The Bowhunter’s Guide, plus The Bottoms, a biography of waterfowl artist David Hagerbaumer. Since 1986, I also have appeared in many videos including Hunting Rocky Mountain Mule Deer, Elk Fever, Buck Fever, and Bowhunter Magazine’s Video Journals. During my time with Bowhunter, I co-hosted Bowhunter TV for 3 years and appeared in numerous segments as the featured hunter. I have also presented dozens of seminars and Power Point programs at sports shows, archery club banquets, and Christian church sportsmen’s gatherings. During the first 25 years of my career, I hunted solely on my own for deer, elk, bears, and other species in my home state of Oregon and neighboring states. My positions as Bows & Arrows columnist for Sports Afield and Editor of Bowhunter opened up new potential for hunting (meaning I had a hunting budget), and I began to explore parts of the world I had only dreamed about until this time. I’ve now hunted across the U.S. and into Mexico for whitetail deer; made many trips to Alaska for moose, caribou, bears, and deer; and hunted across Canada from the Yukon to Newfoundland for moose, caribou, Dall sheep, black and grizzly bears, musk oxen, bison, and other species. In all, I’ve taken 23 species of North American big game and have taken another 10 species in South Africa and Namibia.

Dwight Schuh (right) with another member of the Bowhunters Hall of Fame, Larry D. Jones.
Dwight Schuh (right) with another member of the Bowhunters Hall of Fame, Larry D. Jones.

While I’ve enjoyed roaming far and wide with my bow, my heart has never strayed far from my hunting roots. My greatest passions remain do-it-yourself hunting and the adventure of exploring new and wild places. From my first day of big game hunting until now, I have loved, above all, the adventure of hunting, and that will never change. Even now, in retirement, after a 40-year career in the outdoors, I am constantly dreaming about my next bowhunting trip while applying for tags in multiple states and planning the details of each hunt.

In 1986, Laura and I moved from Oregon to southern Idaho with our two daughters, Emily and Margie, where we have lived ever since. Laura has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and without her loving support, I would never have attained success in the outdoors industry. Emily and her husband, John Berriochoa, and their children, Deiter and Margie Ann, live nearby, and we see them frequently. Our daughter Margie and her husband Morten Hesel live in Singapore.

What do I have to offer? A lifetime of passion for the outdoors, 40 years experience of bowhunting for big game, and 40 years as a successful writer, editor, photographer, and speaker. If the knowledge I’ve gained through this background can be of value to you, you’re in the right place. Welcome!

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