Bill Moon is a man with varied interests. Since his retirement from the Genesee County Health Department, Bill divides his time between photography - he takes group photos of sports teams as well as nature pics – canoeing, camping and a bit of fly-rodding. Through the years he has participated in at least thirty stage productions with Batavia Players, Batavia Rotary and the Forum Players. But first and foremost among Bill’s endeavors is a lifelong interest in the sport of archery.
Bill was given his first bow by his Uncle John. Not long afterward, at the tender age of four, he scored his first bull’s-eye. There was one minor problem – at the time he was standing inside a relative’s home. With bow in hand and looking for a suitable target, he spotted a window. Taking aim at one of the small panes of glass between the mullions, Bill let fly and scored a direct hit. Despite having his bow taken away for a spell, Bill’s fascination with archery continued. A few years later his interest in the sport rapidly accelerated.
Bill was twelve when an uncle took him to see “Tembo” a movie featuring famed archer Howard Hill on safari in Africa. The footage made quite an impression, as Bill came out of the theatre with an infatuation for the sport of archery which has lasted to this day. “Even if you had no fascination with archery or Howard Hill,” he said in reference to the film, “you will come away with an appreciation of the photography from the film,” said Bill in regards to the cinema work. He went on to explain, saying, “With no zoom lens available, they used an eighty pound camera mounted on a turret lens – 3 lenses in one.”
Growing up in Hamilton, in New York’s Leatherstocking region, Bill made his first bow while still in high school. “It was a stick bow made from a hickory plank,” he stated. A forerunner of the bows he turns out today, that prototype proved to be a capable weapon afield. And it wasn’t far from home where he honed his shooting skills. ” There was a small woods down the street with rabbits, woodchucks, squirrels, snakes, tin cans, anything that presented a target,” he said.
Presently Bill enjoys attending various bow shoots, including the Great Lakes Long Bow Rendezvous and the Traditional Bowmen’s Rendezvous. Closer to home, he shoots with the Hawkeye Bowmen in Alden. Needless to say, Bill also spends time shooting at targets in his backyard. Come autumn, it’s time to take to the woods.
In addition to the longbows, Bill has crafted a number of recurves, and he also turns out wooden arrows, complete with turkey quill fletching. Each piece of his equipment is – no pun intended - naturally good shooting. Conscientious and meticulous in his work, he’s been known to scrap a nearly completed bow and start from scratch. The finished product speaks for itself. Well crafted and sweet shooting, Bill’s longbows are presently used by archers in five states – soon to be six as a Californian has one on order. Bill emphasized the making of bows is in no way a business. “Besides the desire to hunt, there was a longing to craft my own bow,” he said. When friends and fellow archers saw the results, requests for a Bill Moon custom longbow began piling up.
If you see a green pickup/ camper with a canoe loaded on top and a license plate reading “ARCHERY,” its Bill enroute to a favorite getaway. And don’t let the canoe fool you – he probably has one or two bows along just in case.