Living is much more than just being alive

By the time you read this article Memorial Day 2020 will have come and gone. I trust it was a memorable one for all. Please let me extend, on behalf of the WMLA and myself, our sincerest gratitude to each and every one of you that made the selfless decision to serve this incredible country of ours. Each of us was changed, good or bad, by our time in service and our families too. We thank all of you.

In recognition of those who have worn the uniform; the Badger State Muzzleloader will be creating a new section for military pictures. Depending on the number of pictures and available space; the pictures could be displayed as a whole, period of time, branch of the service or individually. Please start sending your pictures to Christopher Thulien, Badger State Muzzleloader Editor, and indicate: Branch, Time of service, Rank and, if you wish, what your job was. I cannot take credit for this great idea. Doug Curler, Wisconsin Traditional Archers Stump Shooter Editor, was the brains behind it. The WMLA appreciates every second of your service. We look forward to receiving your great pictures and stories.

This is a RANT WARNING:  If you don’t want to read my COVID-19 rant, go to the second paragraph.

As I write this article, our state and neighboring states are embroiled in legal wrangling to determine which branch of the government has the authority to tell you what to do. Is it one person; the Governor, Executive Branch, or multiple local representatives, Legislative Branch?  Right now, under the guise of a pandemic, one person is telling us, you can’t go here or there without a face mask. You can’t buy these products because those items are Non-essential or you are taking too long picking out flowers or vegetable seeds. People are told their positions or job is Non-essential and to go home and stay there for the betterment of society. Small businesses are shuttered up waiting out the pandemic and hoping they will, economically, survive. And in Washington DC, there is petty bickering about how best to bankrupt our future.

Back in the 90s, a very well educated person stated that stricter gun laws were necessary for the betterment of our society and that drum beat continues, though somewhat muted. During the quarantine period, I was watching a show and heard this; “I’m a contrarian by necessity and not by nature”. What does that mean to you as an individual? What does that mean to you as a Historian, a member of the WMLA, a hunter or naturalist in the current environment or situation? For as long as there have been organized societies there have been rules and contrarians.  If everybody just did what they were told, would that actually be living?

Hopefully, by the end of June, this epidemic is under control and we are creating our new normal. A suggestion; before hitting the road, to where ever you are going, contact the event sponsor and make sure they are open. 

On that note; something to plan for, here are some future events:

June 26th – 28th Coon Valley Conservation Club will be hosting their rendezvous. Coon Valley is a WMLA Affiliated Club and would appreciate your participation. Contact Royce Curtis at 1-608-452-3809 or email: 

July 11th, Saturday, WMLA Quarterly Meeting to be held at Smokey Hollow Muzzleloaders located at 6936 Beech Rd. Racine, WI 53402. The meeting will start at 10 to 2. Bring your lunch. This meeting is very important because we will be electing a Vice President and Treasure. Please contact me with agenda items or to nominate a person for one of those positions. I’m trying to schedule our meetings at the various WMLA Affiliated Clubs so those clubs can share their great facilities and hard work. Thank you to Ed and Kyle Snow for hosting.

July 17 -19th Smoky Hollow Muzzle Loaders 2020 Rendezvous and events. Contact Bob Kamppinen, Booshway, with questions 262-321-1081 or email: Smoky Hollow is a WMLA Affiliated Club and would appreciate your participation. See the back page of the Badger State Muzzleloader for Affiliated Clubs information.

July 25th, Saturday, Ojibwa Bowhunters Youth Day is from about 10 to 4:00 at the Ojibwa Bowhunters Range; 3045 S. Johnson Rd. New Berlin, WI. I’ll be there in my early colonial Ranger dress and accouterments. Please consider joining me for this wonderful afternoon of sharing information with families about our muzzle loading heritage and history. Contact me if you have any questions.

August 7-9, Wisconsin Outdoor Life Field & Stream Expo at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison. Dwight has secured an incredible space for us to show and provide more demonstrations. This is one the WMLA’s major events and we could use a superior effort to make sure that people understand and appreciate their Muzzle Loading Heritage and opportunities. Dwight Claggett is the point of contact and he can be reached at telephone # 715-681-0631 or email:

September 15th – 20th, 2nd Annual Northwoods Rendezvous & Wild Rice Festival held at Mole Lake, WI. This is collaborative effort with the Sokaogon Chippewa Community Mole Lake Band and Wisconsin Traditional Archers. Please contact Gary and Lori Lang for additional information. Gary can be reached at telephone # 715-687-2311 or email: 

May 19th – 20th, 2021 Midwest Outdoor Heritage Education Expo (MOHEE) is being plan and will bigger and better than ever. Mark LaBarbera(SP), MOHEE, has approved the inclusion of Primitive Archery and Atlatl. The WTA has agreed to collaborate with the WMLA and ensure these activities will enrich our already incredible event. Please put this event in your calendar for 2021. This is another one of the WMLA’s major events. The MOHEE provides the WMLA and WTA with exposer to around 3500 4th through 8th grade students. Touching, not literary, mind you, our young people is the only way our heritage will survive. Due to size of this effort, there are 3 of us working to pull this off. You can contact any or all of us to sign up or have an idea: Joe Ash, 608-868-3675 or email:, Jim Swanson, 715-232-8266 or email:, or me. We can always use an extra hand.

Finally, if you are thinking of participating in any activity, contact the event sponsor to make sure it is still being held. Also, the Badger State Muzzleloader, Editor Christopher Thulien, and the WMLA Web Page, Manager Jim Meili, can always use pictures with a brief caption about the event. Chris’ and Jim’s contact information are on page 2 of the Badger State Muzzleloader.

Thank you all for your continual support of the WMLA and our Mission; Preserve and Promote our Muzzle Loading Heritage.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns at email: or call me 608-774-7147.

Your humble servant:
Mark A. Conklin
Black Irish
WMLA President/Merchandise Chairperson

Wisconsin Muzzzle Loading Association, Inc.
6108 Woods Crossing McFarland WI 53558 US 
Phone:     +1.6085767779

Wisconsin Muzzle Loading Association

​"To Preserve and Promote Muzzleloading Heritage"

Abridged Minutes
WMLA Meeting October 3rd, 2020 At Fox Valley

 Meeting came to order at 10AM
 12 members present-Quorum was met
 Big thank you to Ernie Boyd for the use of his fly-Meeting was outside, sheltered
us from rain.

Pledge of Allegiance
Secretaries report was accepted as read
Treasurer’s report was accepted as read by Charlie Brown on Carolyn’s behalf
Mark Conklin Spoke about the importance of having a full board for the club
legalities-TIN number,Non profit status, taxes and by-law responsibilities
Nominations for Vice Presidency-Gary Lang and Dwight Claggett
Vote (Paper ballot) was held
Gary Lang won and will be the new Vice President
Nominations for Treasury position was held to replace Carolyn Brown on behalf of her passing
 Scott Thulien was nominated
Scott Thulien accepted Treasury position-Scott Thulien is the new Treasurer
WMLA is seeking Quarterly Meeting Locations
Phil Siehr Team Shoot and Annual Meeting will be held at Triangle Sportsmens Club-April 24th, 2021
Mark Conklin wanted to get a table at Spring Valley Lodges
American Living History Show Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Rd., St. Charles, IL 60174
January 16th-17th, 2021, $50.00 per table
Motion was made to allow Mark to pay for a table with WMLA funds-Motion carried-one member abstained
MOHEE event scheduled for May 19th-20th, 2021
Members are needed to help run the event-Tomahawk station, bullet making, displays, etc
WTA to demonstrate Atlatl! And traditional archery

Deer and Turkey Expo is happening date TBA-Will be held in the other building with a canoe display
BSML publication is in need of Cover page artwork
Memberships-21 new members
Scott Thulien will be helping Charlie Brown with this position-WMLA Board wants to keep this position separate
Seeking nominations at the annual meeting

Merchandise-Status Quo
Website-Report submitted
Hunting-report submitted
2019 awards were handed out
3 new entries for 2020 spring turkey
Shooting Standards and Safety-report was submitted
Motion to Adjourn-Motion carried