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Archetype archer: Wunderle book shares archery advice, wisdom

September 19, 2013 at 10:20 PM

The State Journal-Register

Archery deer hunters can head to the woods Oct. 1 armed with a powerful new weapon: more than 30 years of Terry Wunderle’s experience.

The champion archer and coach from the Mason City area, has collected his writings on archery in a new book, “Archery, Think and Shoot Like a Champion.”

Terry and his wife Jeanne live in rural Mason County where Terry continues to teach archery.
His students have won more than 350 national and world titles, setting 450 national and world records along the way.

All of the Wunderle children — Dawn Stultz, Vic Wunderle and Sally Seipp — are champions in their own right.

Vic won two Olympic medals and Sally earned a spot on the U.S. National Team for 20 years.

Terry said his focus always was to become a better deer hunter.

“I started off as a hunter,” he said. “As a little kid I shot my bow until I lost all my arrows and had to get more.”

To improve, he went to 3D archery shoots, where he built up his skills and confidence.

“My objective was to become a better deer hunter,” he said. “That’s what 3D did for me. It made me very confident and focused in my shot.

“To perform well you have to remain focused. That’s the key. If you are comfortable in what you are doing, then you can remain focused.”

Hunters have to keep their mind on the task at hand, even when that trophy buck is approaching.

“If you are totally focused on shot execution, then your mind can’t focus on two things at once,” Terry said.

“That’s the only thought pattern that is running through your mind.

“If you are focused on the antlers and how nice that’s going to look over the fireplace, then you’ve got a problem,” he said with a laugh. “There has been more than one hunter that has been so focused on the antlers, he shot the antlers.”

Terry and Jeanne Wunderle.

A family affair

In his book, Terry emphasizes again and again that each shot should be the same, made with the same rhythm and with an emphasis on proper form.

That sounds easier said than done when one is in a tree stand high above the ground with deer presenting one confounding shot after another.

“You have to practice these types of shots,” he said. “The whole trick is you practice every type of scenario you are going to encounter — then you become very comfortable with it because you have performed it. You say, ‘Yes I can make that shot because I have practiced it.’”

Sitting at the dining room table in their home, Jeanne and Terry talk about a life built around kids, archery tournaments, teaching and hunting.

“From the time the kids were little, it seemed to be a part of our family,” Jeanne said. “Weekends we would be on the road. We used to joke that Chevrolet should give us a free car after so many cars were worn out driving to tournaments.”

After having some success locally, the family hit the road for a national tournament, just to see how they stacked up.

“There were three Wunderles on the leader board and people were saying, ‘Who are those kids?’” Jeanne said.

Although the Wunderle kids excelled in tournaments, they also got their start hunting.

“Sally was just a young grade school kid when she harvested her first deer, which was a buck,” Terry said. “Vic, he could spell deer, but not much more when he killed his first one.”

Archery has always been a big part of family life. This family picture was taken in 1990. From left: Terry, Vic, Jeanne, Dawn and Sally. Chris Young/The State Journal-Register.

Another archer

Age and gender have nothing to do with an archer’s potential for success, Terry said, making it an ideal sport for introducing kids and women to hunting.

For young hunters, or those trying to perfect their shot, archery provides more days to hunt, with less hunting pressure, he said.

“You can enjoy the tranquility of the woods,” he said. “This is what a lot of people overlook when hunting — to appreciate the flora and fauna.”

These days, Terry attends only one tournament a year just for enjoyment. The rest of the time he teaches as much as he wants, and is spending more time hunting.

“I eat, sleep and live to hunt and fish,” he said.

Jeanne retired from teaching six years ago, but she had no idea what was going to happen next.
“I thought I was going to read books and take it easy,” she said. “Then he hands me these forms to fill out, the firearm (owners identification card), hunting permits.”

“I had a folder, and I had all kinds of applications in there,” Terry said. “There was Walmart greeter, Burger King cook, all these things and some hunting applications.

“She chose the hunting applications,” he said. “It’s more fun. I enjoy hunting with her more than I enjoy hunting by myself. I don’t even take a bow. She killed several deer last year, including two big bucks.

“She takes a bow and I sit beside her,” Terry said. “We share the outdoors. She sees the things I lived with my whole life.”

The book can be found at

Chris Young can be reached at 341-8487 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow him at

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