May 07, 2021
There are many people in the archery and bowhunting worlds who pay sincere lip service to the important roles that bows and bowhunting have played in their lives.
But for Randy Walk, Hoyt Archery president, bows and bowhunting are simply a way of life — something that has been an integral part of his private and professional life for several decades now, ever since he was a boy growing up in a small northern Utah farming community.
Walk, a 2003 inductee into the Bowhunters Hall of Fame, came to Hoyt as a production assembler in 1985 while a student at the University of Utah, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. In the years since then, he has progressed up through the ranks of the company, moving to an engineering position in 1986 when he began working with Earl Hoyt, Jr., Jim Easton, and others.
After a career that has spanned more than three and a half decades and holding eight different positions at Hoyt during that time span, Walk will officially retire from the company after 26 years as president of the renowned Utah bowmaker. With his retirement effective on Sept. 1, 2021, Walk will go on to spend more time with family, and presumably, hiking the Utah mountains in the ongoing autumn chase for big mule deer and bugling bull elk.
"Leaving Hoyt is bittersweet," said Walk in a statement released by Hoyt. "I will miss the great people I work with and the opportunity to contribute daily to Hoyt's success, but I'm looking forward to spending time with my family, traveling with my wife, Diana, and hunting more than ever."
For regular readers of the Outdoor Sportsman Group bowhunting titles — both here at Bowhunter and sister publication Petersen’s Bowhunting — the name Hoyt is obviously a familiar one. And for the past 26 years, Walk has guided that company, one that Earl Hoyt, Sr. founded in 1931 when bows were made with draw knives that carved out sleek lines from wooden billets in a small shop in St. Louis, Mo.
Much has changed since then, with Hoyt today being a world-class bowmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah with a 150,000-square foot state-of-the-art bow design and manufacturing facility. After nine decades as one of the most recognizable brands in the archery and bowhunting industry, today Hoyt sells thousands of bows and archery products each year to discerning competition shooters who dream of Olympic gold as well as western big-game hunters and Midwestern whitetail aficionados who dream of big antlers and even bigger taxidermy bills every fall.
Walk has been a major influence and guiding force in Hoyt’s rise to the top of the competition podium and bowhunting world, as he's progressed through the production, engineering, and management ranks at Hoyt during a time when 30 of the company’s 47 U.S. patents have been developed.
But true to good shooting form, Walk hasn’t just been part of the archery and bowhunting industry as a bow maker, engineer, and manager. He’s also been an enthusiastic shooter of bows — both in competition and in the hunting woods.
With both of Walk’s parents being inducted into the Utah Archery Hall of Fame, Walk was introduced to the bow and arrow at an early age thanks to the archery shop that his father, Jay, owned in the Grantsville community where he grew up and graduated from high school.
"Still today I can smell the cedar arrows that my father would fletch for his customers," Randy noted in his Bowhunters Hall of Fame induction biography. "I loved spending time at the archery shop with my parents and they tell me that I was quite a shot with a bow and arrow almost as soon as I could walk."
Walk not only loved the sport that his parents introduced to him at an early age, he went on to spend his lifetime pursuing it. From the mule deer he arrowed as a boy to the North American and African big-game species taken since — at last count he has tagged more than 40 big-game species with a Hoyt in his hand —there’s little doubt that Walk has "walked the walk" in the sport of bowhunting.
But he’s also shot a competitively, securing 12 Utah State Archery Championships in Bowhunter Freestyle, Bowhunter Unlimited, and Freestyle class competitions.
He even set a world record in archery flight back in 1991, using a modified 70-pound broadhead class production bow called the ProForce Extreme to make an archery shot heard around the world. In beating the previous mark of 437 yards set by Bob Rhode, Walk’s new WR shot — made with a 450-grain arrow that had a commercial broadhead and tall vane fletching — traveled an amazing 591 yards before striking the bull’s eye.
Away from his duties at Hoyt and his time spent in the field, Walk has also been a major influence in both the archery industry at large and in the conservation world that helps keep wildlife populations and the habitat they depend on healthy and taken care of. In addition to serving on the Archery Trade Association’s Board of Directors for three different terms ranging from 1997-2005 and 2018-2021, Walk has served for more than 30 years on the ATA technical committee. He’s also served on a variety of other ATA committees, various other boards of directors, and even the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Board of Directors nominating committee and equipment committee.
Long considered as one of the most influential people in the hunting and fishing industry, Walk has been honored and profiled by various bowhunting groups, numerous outdoor publications, and conservation organizations like the Mule Deer Foundation. He was even awarded the Sportsman of Fish and Wildlife Founder Award in 2006.
A lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, the Mule Deer Foundation , Sportsman for Fish & Wildlife, and the Utah Archery Association, Walk is unquestionably one of the top influencers in the outdoors world, and has been for more than a quarter century now.
And while he will soon retire and spend more time chasing critters in his home state and beyond, he won’t retire from being a positive influence on the sport and wilderness areas that he has grown to love so much over his lifetime. Others will welcome that continued involvement, including Greg Easton, CEO of Jas. D. Easton and owner of Hoyt Archery.
“My father and I have enjoyed working with Randy during his time at Hoyt,” said Easton in a Hoyt press release. “Randy’s passion for archery and bowhunting is only matched by his passion for Hoyt and for excellence in product. Randy’s focus on the next product innovation has been a great fit with the company culture my grandfather started, my dad perfected, and I have enjoyed continuing.”
Suffice it to say that Walk has earned his increased time with those that he loves, not to mention being free to walk about and hunt in the autumn woods without having to punch a time clock or take vacation days any longer.
From all of us here at Bowhunter, enjoy your retirement Randy, and may the bulls always bugle in the middle of quaking aspens as you draw your Hoyt back yet again.