Tomahawk Bows History
In the late 80's, Dale Karch purchased his first custom bow. Being a Tool and Die Maker by trade, he critiqued the bow's quality and craftsmanship. He knew that with his skills, he could produce a bow of better quality. So Dale and his good friend Greg built their first form and heat box. The rest is history.
The reputation of Dale's Tomahawk Bows spread, and soon he was interviewed for an article in his local paper.
Dale's Newspaper Article
Using his first Tomahawk Bow, a 53# recurve, Dale shot a huge 520 pound Pope & Young black bear in Wisconsin the following year. The skull officially measured 20 1/16". From that point on the news spread about Dale and his bows and friends and family started requesting bows of their own. Dale's new hobby really took off and quickly grew into a growing business.
Dale's Pope & Young Bear
Since their home had no basement, Dale built his bows in a utility porch on top of their washer and dryer. Being frustrated from having to move the bows every time she did laundry, Sandie relented to taking a second mortgage to build Dale a garage/shop.
After much sweat (they started in August) with the help of many, many good friends, Dale's "toy shop" was finally done. They built a 28' x 48' building on their 10 acre property in Princeton, Wisconsin. The bow business took off from there. However, their bow customers also kept asking for additional supplies like strings, armguards, cases, etc. Dale got a dealers application from 3Rivers Archery and started to purchase some of these supplies. Since he traveled most weekends to various shoots and trade shows to display his bows, he kept his supplies in big rubber tubs. If someone asked for something, he'd take it out and sell it to them.
Sandie, being a business consultant said,
"Hey, you've got a couple of thousand dollars of inventory in those tubs. Why don't you put it out on display for people to see?"
Before, you know it, they had one half their building as workshop for bow building and the other half as a retail store. Before long, DMJ Archery was Wisconsin's Largest Traditional Archery Store.
Dale & friends in front of the DMJ-Tomahawk Bows trailer and shop in Wisconsin.
(You can see the Tomahawk Bowssign on the building too.)
**Trivia Note: DMJ Archery, LLC was the name of their first business. It stood for Dad, Mom, Matt, and Johnny. This has always been a family adventure for the Karch's.**
Before long, Dale quit his daytime job as a Tool and Die Maker
and started building Tomahawk Bows full time. Like many bow makers,
Dale thought, "If I could just get his bows into the 3Rivers catalog, he'd be set".
Well, after bugging Todd Smith, the Manager at that time, Todd
"Look, the company's for sale, if you want your
bows in the catalog, why don't you just buy the company?"
In December of 1999 Dale and Sandie purchased 3Rivers Archery,
the world's largest traditional archery supplier. They moved their
two sons, Matt and Johnny, and their dog, Bullseye, to Ashley
While Dale still designs Tomahawk Bows and oversees quality control,
he currently has little time to build bows. The Great Plains Bow Company is now
building Tomahawk Bows, using Dale's design and forms. Bill Foreman
and his team are expert bow builders and produce quality bows
to Dale's specifications. Tomahawk Bows are well known for being exceptionally
stable, and super smooth shooting bows. They are quality through
and through, and beautiful! If you haven't tried one, you
don't know what you're missing.
Dale & his Pope & Young moose he got in BC Canada in 2004
Now, whenever possible, Dale is out in the field testing his latest Tomahawk Bows. He takes pride in knowing that his bows are among the finest offered anywhere in the world but he's always keeping an eye to the future. Testing, shooting, hunting, and then testing some more all the ideas he has for his next generation of Tomahawk Bows. That's one of the reasons his Tomahawk long bows will always be known as, the "Best of the Best".
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