Perhaps you have seen bowfishing get some bad press, and you were wondering if there was anything inherently wrong with this sport. They may have seen how some anglers view bowfishing as bad, but this article will clear up why it is, in fact, beneficial to our local ecology.
Is bowfishing bad? On the contrary, bowfishing, when done responsibly, helps the environment because it eliminates overpopulated fish like Asian carp, and it keeps them from overtaking the local fish species. Bowfishermen serve an important role in this.
Why Do They Think Bowfishing is Bad?
You have a few reasons for why some people have negative perceptions. Largely this comes from bowfishermen who don’t practice good ethics when it comes to the sport. However, bowfishing in itself is not inherently bad.
As a bowfishermen, I strongly believe that you should not waste the life of the fish. Because of that, I don’t throw my fish away to no use. If I can’t eat them, I will compost them because they make great compost for gardening, and the nutrients go into the soil for a great crop.
With some bowfishermen, however, they might shoot 20 or 30 carp in a single night and throw them all on the shore. Not only is this irresponsible and illegal if the DNR catches you, this risks the spread of disease among the other fish populations. Regular anglers see this, and they think that all bowfishermen act this way. That is why I implore bowfishermen not to do this. Take your carp home and use them in some way.
The other argument made against bowfishermen, which I think is unfounded is that we shoot fish that we’re not supposed to. I would argue against this one because of how I know among my buddies and I, none of us have ever taken home something illegal with bowfishing, such as a bass or a pike. We aim for the rough fish as the DNR recommends.
Bowfishing Does Kill the Fish
Some people view bowfishing as bad because of how it kills the fish. Once you have put an arrow through a fish, you have killed it. You will have to take it home. The practice of catch-and-release doesn’t exist in bowfishing. Some people view that as a bad thing.
Here’s my counter to that. How many of your have caught fish on hook and bait and brought it home to eat it? This happens all the time, and there’s nothing wrong with it, nor is there anything wrong with killing your fish with a bow and arrow. The end result is the same.
Maybe it’s because I never practiced catch-and-release even with a hook and bait, but I don’t see the problem with killing your fish with an arrow. Individuals who have a problem with the lack of catch-and-release options should stick with regular fishing because it will suit them better. That said, I never understood why someone would go fishing like that, unless they dislike the taste of fish. They lose the chance at a tasty fish fry.
Why Bowfishing is Good
Do you want to serve as a guardian of the environment? Carp have overtaken our rivers and lakes, and they threaten the local fish populations. When you go bowfishing, you can take as many carp as you want. This eliminates a problem with them being in the environment. The problem with carp is that they have few things to keep them in check, which has led to them wreaking havoc on local fish populations.
Not only do you improve the environment, but you have a whole boatload of fun. You never know how challenging this sport is until you have tried to put an arrow through a carp. It takes a lot of practice to do it well.
A lot of the fish that you target in bowfishing will degrade the water quality through stirring up the mud, and they destroy the local spawn beds of the local fish populations, which has especially made them dangerous to our environments. That’s one of the reasons that they have no limit on shooting carp.
It tames their populations and keeps them from damaging the local fish species. In fact, some people worry that the carp will get into the river systems in Oregon and damage the native trout and salmon populations.
Practice Good Bowfishing Ethics
You should emphasize this whether you practice bowfishing or regular fishing. Any fisherman can get a bad reputation through poor practices. For example, in regular fishing, you don’t take anything too small. That rule doesn’t exist in bowfishing carp because of how these are an invasive species to begin with. It’s even illegal to put them back in the water, and with bowfishing, they’d die anyway if you put them back in the water. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t shoot carp and leave them near the shore because it can spread disease to the other fish.
Some people dislike bowfisherman out of jealously for the fact that they can shoot as many carp as they want. That is kind of a silly argument because the government lets us do this as a public service. Through bowfishing and shooting 40 to 58 carp in a single night, we help to control the local carp populations, which is a good thing because they harm our local environment.
We need more bowfisherman, not less.
That said, you have no excuse whatsoever for dumping a whole truckload of carp in full view of the non-bowfishing public. That is irresponsible, and this gives us all a bad name. If you don’t like the taste of carp, give it to someone who likes them. A lot of people would love to take fish home and eat them.
What are good bowfishing ethics? Some of the important things when it comes to bowfishing ethics include:
- Have common courtesy for other fishermen.
- Don’t flash bowfishing lights in someone’s house.
- Discard the fish in a responsible fashion.
Without practicing good bowfishing ethics, bowfishing can become a bad thing, but at the same time, so can regular fishing. You have to act responsibly and don’t disturb others.
Never Dump Fish Near the Boat Landing
One of the most deplorable practices that has given bowfishermen a bad name, bowfishermen will take a whole boatload of carp and unload them right next to the boat landing. You have multiple problems with this. First, it can spread a lot of diseases.
Second, it reaks like you would not believe, and anyone who has to put their boat up on the landing will have to gag through the smell as you launch the boat.
Finally, it can make the boat landing slippery and dangerous. You have many problems with this, and it has been one of the chief contention points against bowfishermen. Not all of us are like that. For those who do this, I implore you to stop this detestable practice.
What is the Alternative?
Instead of wasting the fish, I would recommend that you fillet them. If you don’t have fillet knives, you can use the Dalstrong Fillet Knife – 6″ – Shadow Black Series. This fillet knife is the perfect quality for the pricing, and many people who have bought it have even come to see it as an essential part of the kitchen.
After you have filleted your carp, you can smoke them in the smoker. In my opinion, that’s the only way to eat carp. They taste so much better this way. If you don’t have a smoker, the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker works well for smoking carp.
As you can see, bowfishing isn’t inherently bad. There’s nothing wrong with those who like to go bowfishing. The problem with the sport comes in when you have people who don’t respect others. You get a problem when bowfishermen do things that make things worse for other people, and this has admittedly given us a poor reputation, but the same thing can happen with regular fishing.
We shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Instead, we should practice good bowfishing habits and ethics. Even regular fisherman should do this type of thing.