ProSkateFisherman

Thoughts on Bowfishing?

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Personally I am against it. It isn't even the act of bowfishing. It's the inconsiderate a-holes that do it. Most (99.99%) of the bowfishermen I have met dump their carp on the bank and let them rot and stink. One of my favorite spots to fish is on a lake full of small-medium sized carp that are a blast to catch and it's next to a boat launch. In the summer I'll go every now and then to carp fish and I walk up to the spot and there are 15 2-8 pound carp rotting in the hot summer sun. Talk about a rancid smell. Only once have I seen a man shoot a carp and put it in a cooler to eat/use. I thank him for not throwing it into the rocks to rot.

 

I'm sure there are some bowfishermen who bowfish responsibly and don't dump dead fish next to the ramp and use them. I have yet to meet one, the exception being the man I just mentioned previously. I knew a man who was a proficient bowfisherman. He loved bowfishing. He also loved breaking the law and poaching. He shot and killed muskies, walleyes and largemouth bass, among other fish. Bass for God's sake! He had pictures and I talked to another muskie fisherman who has gotten in fights with him before after he witnessed him killing muskies. He boasted about illegal fish. Never ate a single one. Guess where those fish ended up. NEXT TO THE BOAT RAMP TO ROT! That man would shoot any damn fish he saw. I bet he'd shoot bluegills if they were large enough. And then he'd throw them away. After I realized the full extent of his nefarious activities I cut contact and never looked back.

 

And then there are the stupid uneducated a**holes who shoot native species just because they are "rough fish" that they deem worthless. Like buffalo for instance. They think they are carp (they are native suckers) and shoot these fish that were born 50 years before them. I read somewhere that in some parts of the northern US the majority of the bigmouth buffalo population are in their 80's, which is just crazy. Their range is shrinking and they are basically unregulated so their population and range are just going to keep declining until they are eventually gone for good. Here is a picture of the Minnesota bowfishing regulations.6333da76093f9_bowfishingthing.PNG.387dc9de36ba08a25776839eae1955c5.PNG

No limit for buffalo, bowfin, freshwater drum, or gar. All native species. Now these fish are considered stable in population but there is absolutely no limit, which makes them vulnerable to overfishing.  

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This quote is for the second photo.

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From Scarnecchia et al. 2021: A pile of 32 bigmouth buffalo shot by bow and arrow in Minnesota in 2020 and left as waste. This one night of bowfishing resulted in more than 2,500 life-years taken. The median age of these buffalofish was 89 years old.

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Here are some dead gar shot in Texas. All native. Hope they were eaten or at least used in some way and not just thrown away.

 

I have nothing against the idea of bowfishing. Shoot a fish, eat it/use it, good deal. Just like if you caught a fish and kept it. I have a problem with unregulated killing of native species that, without proper management, could go extinct or be endangered in the future. I think anybody could agree with me on that. I believe that it shouldn't be outlawed completely, it just needs MUCH better regulated because this cannot continue as it is right now. The only time I condone unregulated bowfishing would be for asian carp but even then I'd prefer if they weren't just dumped along the bank. If you want to shoot common carp go ahead but don't leave them to rot please. I am a carp fisherman so I wouldn't prefer guys coming in and shooting the trophy fish but as long as they are taking the fish and putting it to good use I don't care.

 

Sorry for such a long read. I've just seen (and smelled) too many dead, rotten carp on the bank and it kind of struck a nerve with me. What do you guys think about this kind of stuff?

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I agree.   Wanton waste. 

I try to utilize every single thing I kill.  

 

I duck hunted with a few guys like those bowfishermen.  Would shoot birds just for the trophy, legally too.  

Shoot a bunch of mergansers and divers of sorts.  Keep the pretty ones for mounts.  Toss the rest in the dumpster.  WTF??  

 

 

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Killing for the sake of killing is a serious problem that, in my opinion, defines the person doing it.  And humans are the only species that do it for fun.  I find it repulsive. 

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I have to agree, and I did a little bowfishing in my teens in Louisiana. It was a pretty brief career, I targeted gar, mostly from shore or wading. One I took the meat, one I gave away, one I had coordinated to bring to the biology lab for dissection, but it went bad in the fridge. Had I been more prolific, I had a buyer in mind. Never would have killed fish to dump them, unless they were a harmful invasive, in which case they'd have been disposed of properly.

 

At the time, I had no idea how slowly gar grow, or how vulnerable they were. At the time, guys on the Trinity River in TX would occasionally capsize a jon boat filling it with a night's worth of gar. Now it's basically barren. A fishing method that targets fish gathered to spawn is never sustainable.

 

The other problem is there are nearly no examples of harmful invasive species that are susceptible to bowfishing. Asian carp as mentioned are one, but common carp are rarely harmful (having been established in most waters for 100-150 years, they are basically native now anyway) and are probably the most frequently targeted.

 

But, it seems the overwhelming majority of bowfishermen are just out to kill as many fish as possible, even the ones that respect the laws.

 

Speaking of "respect," while C&R carp anglers can get pretty aggressive about their hobby, there are also the bow guys that will drive around right on top of someone else's lines, and lurk angler's pages looking to find untapped waters to massacre. I follow a group on FB where it's a regular occurrence for a new member to show up looking for advice, and then post a pile of dead fish on a bowfishing page.

 

It's fun, gearing up and stalking fish in daylight wading is a challenge, but I'll never do it again.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, ermghoti said:

 

 

The other problem is there are nearly no examples of harmful invasive species that are susceptible to bowfishing. Asian carp as mentioned are one, but common carp are rarely harmful (having been established in most waters for 100-150 years, they are basically native now anyway) and are probably the most frequently targeted.

 

But, it seems the overwhelming majority of bowfishermen are just out to kill as many fish as possible, even the ones that respect the laws.

 

Speaking of "respect," while C&R carp anglers can get pretty aggressive about their hobby, there are also the bow guys that will drive around right on top of someone else's lines, and lurk angler's pages looking to find untapped waters to massacre. I follow a group on FB where it's a regular occurrence for a new member to show up looking for advice, and then post a pile of dead fish on a bowfishing page.

 

It's fun, gearing up and stalking fish in daylight wading is a challenge, but I'll never do it again.

I am so glad you mentioned that. A lot of guys I talk to think carp are so crazy invasive and they need to be killed, every last one of them. I fish a lake that actually might benefit from a controlled carp harvest though. There are an over abundance of them and I have yet to catch one over 10 pounds. But even with the over abundance of carp they haven’t rooted out other species or really damaged anything that I know of . I still catch 15” crappie and 5 pound largemouths fairly often. But in a lot of other waterways they have been there for 50,100, even 200 years now and have become more or less naturalized species.

 

Every body of water that I know has carp in it is not in some “dire situation” because of the carp. They are naturalized at this point. I fish a river with a fair amount of carp. Like around 100-200 in a 2 mile stretch of river. There is a massive over abundance of rusty crayfish rummaging around the bottom, and the carp gobble them up. But also in this river are some of the largest smallmouths I’ve ever seen, THE largest walleye I have ever seen, it was around 34-36”, a fair amount of 40+ inch muskies, and large quillbacks, among other fish.  carp have absolutely zero effect on any of the other fish species and aren’t “destroying the bottom” like people say they do. They all live together in relative peace and things run smoothly in that river. They have become naturalized there. I still see bowfishermen coming and trying to shoot them but they almost never succeed. The carp there have smartened up and have some methods to survive the bowfishermen lol.

 

I have had bowfishermen drive right next to me and shine their light in my eyes before. They are an inconsiderate bunch lol. I believe you about the lurking they do online. And I don’t want to lump all bowfishermen into this idea I have but it seems like a majority of them are doing this stuff. 

Edited by ProSkateFisherman

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I wish they would make night time bow fishing illegal. You can see some of those guys a mile away with how bright their lights are. Some guides don’t even have their lights fully pointed downward. One night I was anchored fishing for flathead and a guide and his two clients came down the river and bowfished around me for almost twenty or thirty minutes. They were completely blinding me with how they had their lights set up on that boat the entire time. 

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I have never met a bow fisherman who wasn't an absolute piece of crap. The guys on the boats will roll right up on you at night time even when you flash them your position from 500yds away. The lights will absolutely ruin your night out night fishing by destroying the peace and ambience as some of these guys are set up with a dozen halogen street lamps on their boat that light everything up for hundreds of yards in every direction.

 

They kill just to kill and what is killed is wasted nearly ever time.

 

And yes they will shoot everything from non-native carp, to native species, to game fish like walleye and musky, to deer, ducks, geese, etc... Just to kill it.

 

In saltwater these guys are trying to eliminate the sting ray populations with no regard to how slow sting rays are to reach reproductive maturity and how few pups each female births in a year.

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7 mins ago, Beastly Backlash said:

I have never met a bow fisherman who wasn't an absolute piece of crap. The guys on the boats will roll right up on you at night time even when you flash them your position from 500yds away. The lights will absolutely ruin your night out night fishing by destroying the peace and ambience as some of these guys are set up with a dozen halogen street lamps on their boat that light everything up for hundreds of yards in every direction.

 

They kill just to kill and what is killed is wasted nearly ever time.

 

And yes they will shoot everything from non-native carp, to native species, to game fish like walleye and musky, to deer, ducks, geese, etc... Just to kill it.

 

In saltwater these guys are trying to eliminate the sting ray populations with no regard to how slow sting rays are to reach reproductive maturity and how few pups each female births in a year.

I know what you mean about the stingrays. Especially cownose rays. Could be wrong but isn’t it like one pup a year for them? And they are just out there killing and killing. I have seen pictures of 15-20 dead cownose rays and rough tail rays spread out across a boat deck. Absolutely despicable what is happening.

 

A bowfisherman is a recreational carp fisherman’s worst enemy lol… but seriously, I’ll go carp fishing and a guy pulls up with a bow and I just pray he doesn’t find the 50-60 pounder (not an exaggeration, I snorkeled with it and I saw it up close underwater) I see every now and then swimming around the river. And like I said, it isn’t even that the carp is gonna die, it’s that the carp, the trophy fish, what would be for me a fish of a lifetime, is gonna be thrown in the rocks to rot. I don’t worry though… that carp is smart. She stays away. It’s like she has an alarm that signals to stay hidden lol.

 

I fish with a group of guys every May at my river, trying to catch the big walleyes that lurk below. We all hate bowfishermen because they will come over and shine their spotlight into the water and completely ruin the night. The walleye we fish for are particularly light shy and that just shuts it down in an instant. The only “plus” if you can even call it that is you get to see the fish swimming in the river. I’ve seen big walleyes, smallmouths, bullheads, among other things, but as I said it shuts it down instantly so it’s absolutely not a plus. There is a reason there are 6 guys there with no lights. They couldn’t be more inconsiderate.

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19 mins ago, ProSkateFisherman said:

I know what you mean about the stingrays. Especially cownose rays. Could be wrong but isn’t it like one pup a year for them? And they are just out there killing and killing. I have seen pictures of 15-20 dead cownose rays and rough tail rays spread out across a boat deck. Absolutely despicable what is happening.

 

A bowfisherman is a recreational carp fisherman’s worst enemy lol… but seriously, I’ll go carp fishing and a guy pulls up with a bow and I just pray he doesn’t find the 50-60 pounder (not an exaggeration, I snorkeled with it and I saw it up close underwater) I see every now and then swimming around the river. And like I said, it isn’t even that the carp is gonna die, it’s that the carp, the trophy fish, what would be for me a fish of a lifetime, is gonna be thrown in the rocks to rot. I don’t worry though… that carp is smart. She stays away. It’s like she has an alarm that signals to stay hidden lol.

 

I fish with a group of guys every May at my river, trying to catch the big walleyes that lurk below. We all hate bowfishermen because they will come over and shine their spotlight into the water and completely ruin the night. The walleye we fish for are particularly light shy and that just shuts it down in an instant. The only “plus” if you can even call it that is you get to see the fish swimming in the river. I’ve seen big walleyes, smallmouths, bullheads, among other things, but as I said it shuts it down instantly so it’s absolutely not a plus. There is a reason there are 6 guys there with no lights. They couldn’t be more inconsiderate.

 

I am a walleye angler as well, catfish too.

 

Both species are very light shy at night. That is where I have my run ins.

 

The DNR in the coastal states needs to put a stop to the wanton killing of rays. I used to be able to catch big rays with ease down in DE and VA when on vacation. Now, the bite is quite tough compared to previous years. At Chincoteague the prior week I could only get two rays on hook up over an entire week of night fishing.

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7 hours ago, Skunkoff said:

Killing for the sake of killing is a serious problem that, in my opinion, defines the person doing it.  And humans are the only species that do it for fun.  I find it repulsive. 

I'm guessing you never had a cat.

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1 min ago, Beastly Backlash said:

 

I am a walleye angler as well, catfish too.

 

Both species are very light shy at night. That is where I have my run ins.

 

The DNR in the coastal states needs to put a stop to the wanton killing of rays. I used to be able to catch big rays with ease down in DE and VA when on vacation. Now, the bite is quite tough compared to previous years. At Chincoteague the prior week I could only get two rays on hook up over an entire week of night fishing.

I love catching rays but I haven’t caught a ray in over a year on the beach’s of Maryland (OC and AI). I think I’m just having bad luck but I know what you’re saying. So many rays are being killed.

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Here’s some photos just showing the killing. That last photo even has a freakin flounder in it! No way that fish is over 12”-14”! Just absurd. These are not fish that should be shot like this IMO. Like you said, rays have a slow reproduction rate and they need to be left alone or they could start going extinct. The cownose ray is threatened status, smooth butterfly ray is near threatened and the spiny butterfly ray is endangered. They need protected, not shot

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3 mins ago, gellfex said:

I'm guessing you never had a cat.

Lol… I have a cat that loves murdering small animals. One time I got home and there was a cardinal on my door step torn into four pieces. One time I had to spray him with a hose to get him to release a chipmunk he caught. Damn cat…

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15 mins ago, gellfex said:

I'm guessing you never had a cat.

Actually, I've always had dogs.  But cats still have the instinct.  Humans = 0, until survival mode kicks in.

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Posted (edited)

Just remembered this video. Watched it a while ago. 

Guy shoots a mako shark. Personally I wouldn’t kill any shark. I am a land based shark fisherman and I tag them. I keep them in the water and cut the hook with bolt cutters and pull it out instead of unhooking normally to make the whole release process faster. The faster the better. This seems kind of cruel. But the argument that can be made is is it any more cruel than fighting one with a rod and reel and keeping it? I think so. It didn’t die with one shot, they put multiple arrows into it and it struggled a lot before it finally died. And to add on to it both short fin and long fin makos are endangered. The one he shoots here is relatively small too. What do you guys think? 

Edited by ProSkateFisherman

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Posted (edited)

A bunch of Jaws cosplay, 35 years after that should have been embarrassing. I hope they kept it for the table at least.

 

Edit: that comment section is a circle jerk too.

Edited by ermghoti

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