Marions “white tail wizard” talks about hunting

Claude Pollington, also known as C.P., points to an array of C.P. Oneida Bows hanging in the Buckhole Archery Shop he designed over the years. The line which has been a Marion Township mainstay for nearly 10 years has been sold to a Missouri entrepreneur.

Claude Pollington, also known as C.P., points to an array of C.P. Oneida Bows hanging in the Buckhole Archery Shop he designed over the years. The line which has been a Marion Township mainstay for nearly 10 years has been sold to a Missouri entrepreneur.

By Rosemary Horvath
Correspondent

Claude Pollington, known as C.P. who put Marion, Michigan in the bullseye of hunters, reminisced the other day about his bow hunting prowess,  wishing he could do it all again. 

The 84 year-old has hunted so often over 60-plus years he once chronicled his exploits and shared his knowledge in a first-person textbook of sorts that meticulously breaks down the movement of hunter, whitetail deer and bow, particularly the ones he designed.

The 223-page volume entitled “The Life of The Legendary Whitetail Wizard” was self-published in 2007 with assistance from the late David Richey, who had been a prolific outdoor writer and photographer and who helped catapult C.P. to fame through numerous magazine articles. The book is still available for sale.

Richey had coined the tag “whitetail wizard” to describe C.P.’s legendary skill at deer hunting. Richey was an outdoor writer for The Detroit News from 1981 until his retirement in 2003, and had penned more than 7,000 outdoor magazine and news articles and 22 books during his career.

Penny Miller, a Pollington daughter, says Richey had introduced her dad to Ted Nugent, famed rock musician but, more importantly, avid hunter. 

Nugent introduced C.P. to his first Oneida Bow in 1983. He liked it so much he became an Oneida dealer and when the New York-based manufacturer hit on troubled times, he bought the company 15 years ago and moved production to Marion Township, next door to Pollington Machine Tool Inc., another testimonial to C.P.›s ingenuity.

C.P. perfected Oneida bows and distinguished his mark with his initials added to the model names.

A year ago, Pollington sold the rights to the archery product line to John Paul Morris, son of the founder of Bass Pro Shops. At some point, the family expects production and everything will move to Springfield, Missouri, where Morris is based.
Morris is known for bowfishing and puts on a championship competition every year. Penny said the sport has taken off in southern states and is growing in popularity elsewhere.

Several Internet websites attest the C.P. Oneida Osprey Bow as the top selling bow for bowfishing.

Penny and husband Chuck Miller had vacationed in the Upper Peninsula where they watched osprey swoop down to nab fish in the water. When it came time to name C.P.›s new bow design, Penny suggested the name osprey because a fisherman also would aim at his prey.

Marion became a destination for sportsmen for several reasons due to the Pollington touch. C.P. had opened an 1000-acre Buck Pole Archery & Deer Ranch in the early 1980s of which around 900 acres is enclosed. The area during its peak popularity contained deer and elk for weekend warriors willing to pay for an adventure.

“Dad was always a hunter,” Penny said, one of seven children. Her mother Patricia died in 1979 and C.P. married Ruthann after both had lost their spouses to cancer.

Ruthann Pollington is a quiltmaker and teaches quilting at the Marion Historical Musuem.

“My dad was always busy; always doing something,” Penny added. “I never saw him lie on a couch — not once. He bought an excavator this year and is building ponds. He’d always tell us kids do something creative!”

When the young Pollington family lived in Farwell, C.P. worked at Holley Carburetor in Clare as a machinist and foreman. He grew up with nine siblings on a farm in Falmouth. He and seven of his brothers worked as tool and die makers, Penny said.
Bernie, Les and Lyle still have machine shops in the area. C.P.’s precision tool and die shop started out manufacturing precision tools in small volume. Now as the second and third generations man the ship, the company is about to get into volume production using robotics.

Gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016, the family-owned Pollington Machine Tool company has embarked on a huge expansion (story in the Marion Press Nov.6) under the direction of Claude’s grandson, Ross Richards, who grew up hunting with his grandfather.

C.P. said he had been blessed with “good eyes.” HIs formal education was limited at a young age and as a consequence he said his “brain had to look at everything and make it better.”

Claude Pollington, top right, poses with Ross Richards, grandson and general manager of PollingtonMachine Tool. In front, left, is Penny Miller, daughter and office manager, and Shelley Miller, daughter and office administrator at Oneida Eagle Bows that soon will move to Missouri by its new owner. Not pictured is Penny’s son, Jeff Miller, in quality control at Pollington Machine. Ross’s brother, Shawn Richards, of Holton’s True Concrete Solutions, poured the decorative concrete floor at the new remodeled Pollington location.

Claude Pollington, top right, poses with Ross Richards, grandson and general manager of PollingtonMachine Tool. In front, left, is Penny Miller, daughter and office manager, and Shelley Miller, daughter and office administrator at Oneida Eagle Bows that soon will move to Missouri by its new owner. Not pictured is Penny’s son, Jeff Miller, in quality control at Pollington Machine. Ross’s brother, Shawn Richards, of Holton’s True Concrete Solutions, poured the decorative concrete floor at the new remodeled Pollington location.

Ruthann and Claude Pollington pose momentarily before scooting off for another busy day.

Ruthann and Claude Pollington pose momentarily before scooting off for another busy day.

Daughter Penny Pollington Miller stands next to her dad Claude.

Daughter Penny Pollington Miller stands next to her dad Claude.





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One Response to Marions “white tail wizard” talks about hunting

  1. Mike A Bardzel Reply

    October 7, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Just wondering if there might be an email address that I may use to contact C.P. directly in regards to a special one off onieda extreme bow I have purchased from him about 12 years ago. Thank you for any help.

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