- Updated: 23 July 2011
The following information has been gleaned from various documents in the office of the Corresponding Secretary, as well as from information recorded by former VBA President, R. C. (Bob) Thompson, and from the writer’s personal records. It is being written for the benefit of the many individuals who are members of the Association who are not aware as to just what has taken place in the past that has brought the Association to where it is today. There are many blank spots in VBA’s history; however, the individuals who could have filled in those blanks are, unfortunately, now deceased. It is hoped that the preserving of this much of the Association’s history will inspire future members to keep the information updated for posterity.
IN THE BEGINNING
1. William Braswell
2. Raymond Braswell
3. Dan Cherry
4. George P. Diacont
5. H. T. Harland
6. Percy L. O’Berry
7. Preston B. Ozmar
8. Wallace E. Ozmar
9. Joseph A. Parker (President)
10. Lilllian Parker (Lady Paramount)
11. Stan C. Sonason
12. John C. Stone (Secretary-Treasurer)
13. Robert C. Thompson (Vice-President)
14. Morris Walker (Field Captain)
OTHER CLUB FACTS
- On October 5, 1947, the first State Championship Field Archery Tournament was held on the range of the Chesapeake Bowmen and resulted in the championship being won by John C. Stone, Lillian Parker, and Bud Smith for the juniors. The total paid membership at the end of 1947 was forty-one.
- The Virginia Field Archery Association was beginning to grow in strength as new clubs were being formed throughout the State. Continued meetings with the Game Commission were bearing fruit and in November, 1949, North River (George Washington National Forest) Game and Wildlife Refuge was opened to bow and arrow hunting. This was a separate area, consisting of roughly 16 square miles, with hunting with gun all around the archery area but not allowed within the area. Technicians and Directors from the National Forest service headquarters at Harrisonburg visited the bow hunters at North River (an old Civilian Conservation Corps campsite) to see how it was done. Their reaction to bow hunting was very favorable and they promised full cooperation.
- In October, 1949, at the business meeting and banquet preceding the State shoot at Hampton, the name of the association was changed to the Virginia Bowhunters Association.
- A called meeting was held at Richmond on January 29, 1955, for the purpose of incorporation, and on October 7, 1956, also in Richmond, the Virginia Bowhunters Association, Inc., was reorganized.
- Here are some of the “firsts” that can be attributed directly to the perseverance and hard work of your V.B.A. officers and fellow members:
- North River - First opened to bow and arrow hunting in November, 1949.
- Hog Island - The V.B.A. first learned of Hog Island in August, 1953, when Mr. Charles Gilchrist, Game Technician, made it known that the island was overcrowded with deer. He was highly in favor of archers using it as a hunting area since there would be a minimum of disturbance to the wildfowl. (Letter from Joe Vrabel to R. P. Monteith, August 4, 1953).
- Big Levels - First opened to bow and arrow hunting in November, 1953.
- Hog Island - First opened to bow and arrow hunting in October, 1954.
- Special Season - The proposal for bow and arrow hunting was published as follows:
- Pre-season - First granted to bow and arrow hunters in 1956.
- The Virginia Bowhunters Association was instrumental in reorganization of the National Field Archery Association along its present lines. The reorganization effort became knows as “The Virginia Plan” and was completed in 1966 after many years of negotiation with the various States and NFAA officers.