Twin brothers Barry and Gene Wensel were born in DuBois, Pennsylvania on opening day of the 1944 bow season. They were raised in the green mountains of Vermont. Their dad started bowhunting in 1949, so the twins spent most of their childhood time in the outdoors. Bows and arrows have always been a part of their lives. Very few people know they posed for ads in Life, Look and Saturday Evening Post magazines during their Cub Scout years. Both men eventually grew up to graduate from college in Indiana and soon headed west to practice for many years as chiropractors. With their respective families, they lived in Montana for almost 30 years, Barry residing in the Flathead Valley and Gene living 150 miles south in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana.
In 1999, the Wensels moved from the beautiful mountains of Montana to the flat cornfields of rural Iowa. The only reason? Bigger whitetails and no winter-kill. They admittedly miss their Montana roots, the mountains, bugling elk, bears, pronghorns and flyfishing for trout.
Gene and Barry have hunted with recurves and longbows for over 50 years. Many friends have commented they never put their toys away since childhood. The Wensel brothers hunted deer with bows and arrows long before there were things like non-military camo, food plots or specialty seeds. There were no compound bows, cell phones, GPS units, video cameras, ATVs, high fences or weekly deer shows on television. Muzzleloaders used round balls, loose black powder and didn’t have scopes. If you wanted a four wheel drive vehicle, you bought a Jeep. People didn’t raise deer in pens. There had never been a live Boone & Crockett class buck photographed in the wild.
The Wensels have been affiliated with multiple national hunting organizations, including the NRA, PBS, QDMA, P&Y, B&C, etc. Together they have written half a dozen books and hundreds of magazine articles. They have been involved in many video, audio and television productions. They have done hundreds of speaking engagements and hunting seminars all over the world. Bowhunting has taken them all over America, Canada, Alaska and Africa. In 1998, they brought Wensel Woodsman broadheads to the world.
Whitetails have always been their specialty. They have taken deer in over twenty different states. From 1990 through 1996, Gene and Barry guided almost 200 bowhunters to Pope & Young class whitetail bucks. Their guiding success ratio of 96% for seven consecutive seasons is the highest known fair chase bowhunting success rate on free-ranging trophy whitetail bucks ever.
Barry became easily recognized as “the guy in the crooked hat” in some of the first hunting videos ever produced, bringing his sense of humor and shooting skills to fans across the country. Gene got his biggest exposure during the seven years of his “Classic Whitetails” road tour, annually captivating audiences by the thousands.
Barry and Gene, often called the “Ramblin’ Rednecks,” always displayed fun while hunting. Yes, its serious business at times but it should always be fun. Today, the Wensel brothers go on playing with their toys, bringing laughter and respect to our outdoor heritage and getting admiration from those who follow them