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Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection #13879736 02/09/21 06:03 AM
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https://oklahoman.com/article/56818...QG4oO0bzEEVBNYMo62Ub3VUILKQ4UwOCvGmXWJEk

Oklahoma is poised to become one of the first states to begin managing and trying to conserve its native nongame fish species such as buffalo, gar and river carpsuckers that are often targeted by bowfishermen.

Bowfishing is allowed and mostly unregulated for non-game species, fish that have been labeled over the years as "trash" or "rough" fish with little or no value. There are no daily limits on such fish and bowfishermen can shoot as many as can be found on a given night.

"There is no protection," said Jason Schooley, senior fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

But the social stigma that these less popular fish have no value is changing among scientists around the country, who are calling for more protection from state wildlife agencies.

There is no management for most nongame species of fish, although some like paddlefish and alligator gar in Oklahoma are considered species that warrant protection and are protected through harvest restrictions for all anglers.

Oklahoma biologists started looking more closely at the issue after a high-profile bowfishing tournament sponsored by Bass Pro Shops in 2018. Schooley called the tournament an eye-opener for state wildlife officials and said bowfishing has only continued to grow in popularity. Some large tournaments might have as many as 250 teams entered.

"Unfortunately, bowfishing management is lagging far behind," he told commissioners.

Nationwide, there is generally a lack of concern for native nongame species, Schooley said. A lot of fish are being killed by bowfishing without any idea if the population of the species is sustainable, he said.

Bowfishing is legal in all 50 states, and 31 states hold tournaments. Zero states have a management plan or goal for bowfishing, Schooley said.

"Nobody is looking at bowfishing," he said. "Nobody is looking at these native nongame species."

Until now. Oklahoma is leading the way in research but state wildlife officials are not ready to recommend any bag limits as they continue to study the issues.

A change proposed in the agency's annual rule-making process this year would force bowfishermen to keep any fish they shoot instead of discarding them.

Schooley told wildlife commissioners on Monday that the rule change simply closes a loophole. It would be an important first step in the management and conservation of currently unregulated nongame species by allowing for daily harvest limits that could be imposed in the future if needed, he said.

"Right now, it's legal to simply shoot them and throw them back in the water," Schooley told commissioners. "How do you hold someone to a bag limit if they can shoot fish and throw them back in the lake immediately."

"Right now, we can dump fish back in as we go down the bank and shoot them," Woodward said. "About 65 percent of those fish will live but he's wanting to force us to put them in a bucket and we can't throw nothing back until we are done bowfishing, which means death to everything. There is no chance they can live."

Fisheries biologists, though, believe the mortality rate for fish which have been penetrated by an arrow is as high as 90 percent or more, even after they are released and swim away.

For the past 16 years, Woodward has organized the youth world bowfishing championship at Fort Gibson Lake. The 17th annual tournament will be in June. Ages 18 and younger compete in the event, which averages more than 300 participants each year. Competitors from eight states are entered this year, he said.

"People will quit going if they have to keep all their fish and kill them, for sure," he said.

Schooley told wildlife commissioners on Monday the goal of the Wildlife Department is to create a responsible management plan for native nongame species like the bigmouth and smallmouth buffalo, such as the agency does for game fish.

"They are native because they evolved here," Schooley said. "They belong here and they deserve to live here in perpetuity."


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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: TXMulti-Species] #13879792 02/09/21 12:03 PM
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Not really sure who this Woodward feller is, but I have great difficulty believing that fish shot with an arrow have a 65 percent survival rate when thrown back. Certainly, SOME will survive, but I don't believe it's anywhere near that many. Even if we accept his figure, it means intentionally wasting 35% of the fish he shoots.

Unconscionable. You don't waste the fish you kill - you eat them.


"Right now, we can dump fish back in as we go down the bank and shoot them," Woodward said. "About 65 percent of those fish will live but he's wanting to force us to put them in a bucket and we can't throw nothing back until we are done bowfishing, which means death to everything. There is no chance they can live."


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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: TXMulti-Species] #13879817 02/09/21 12:41 PM
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I bowfish. A lot. But I find the thought of shooting a fish then throwing it back in the water repulsive. Everything I hit is done. I didn’t think it was legal to maim a fish and throw it back in the water.
If TPWD decides to regulate bag limits in Texas I’m all for it and will support that. But I think we are a way out from that happening. If they do it’ll be to appease the public. I’ve been checked within the last week by a game warden at Whitney with a big load of buffs, carp, and a few gar and told keep up the good work....


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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: ToasterWEyes] #13880001 02/09/21 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ToasterWEyes
I bowfish. A lot. But I find the thought of shooting a fish then throwing it back in the water repulsive. Everything I hit is done. I didn’t think it was legal to maim a fish and throw it back in the water.
If TPWD decides to regulate bag limits in Texas I’m all for it and will support that. But I think we are a way out from that happening. If they do it’ll be to appease the public. I’ve been checked within the last week by a game warden at Whitney with a big load of buffs, carp, and a few gar and told keep up the good work....



whitney is over run with carp

Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: Phoenix 920 Pro xp] #13880022 02/09/21 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Phoenix 920 Pro xp
Originally Posted by ToasterWEyes
I bowfish. A lot. But I find the thought of shooting a fish then throwing it back in the water repulsive. Everything I hit is done. I didn’t think it was legal to maim a fish and throw it back in the water.
If TPWD decides to regulate bag limits in Texas I’m all for it and will support that. But I think we are a way out from that happening. If they do it’ll be to appease the public. I’ve been checked within the last week by a game warden at Whitney with a big load of buffs, carp, and a few gar and told keep up the good work....



whitney is over run with carp


All of our lakes are overrun with rough fish.

Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: Phoenix 920 Pro xp] #13880066 02/09/21 03:52 PM
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I think Texans who agree to kill carp with a bow should get license fee waived. Even better, I think the state should pay a bounty. Bring in 10 carp heads, get $10 or something like that. Carp are worthless and everywhere.


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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: ToasterWEyes] #13880277 02/09/21 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ToasterWEyes
If TPWD decides to regulate bag limits in Texas I’m all for it and will support that. But I think we are a way out from that happening.

They're definitely working on it, but it's going to take time to study. It's all about sustainability, we don't want to eradicate our native species that are long-lived and spawn infrequently.


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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: Uncle Zeek] #13880285 02/09/21 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Uncle Zeek
Not really sure who this Woodward feller is, but I have great difficulty believing that fish shot with an arrow have a 65 percent survival rate when thrown back. Certainly, SOME will survive, but I don't believe it's anywhere near that many. Even if we accept his figure, it means intentionally wasting 35% of the fish he shoots.

Unconscionable. You don't waste the fish you kill - you eat them.


"Right now, we can dump fish back in as we go down the bank and shoot them," Woodward said. "About 65 percent of those fish will live but he's wanting to force us to put them in a bucket and we can't throw nothing back until we are done bowfishing, which means death to everything. There is no chance they can live."

"People will quit going if they have to keep all their fish, for sure," he said.
hammer


Catch and release. The dream - to catch one of every species of Freshwater fish in our great state! If only I can resist Carp...
https://txmultispecies.imgur.com/
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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: TXMulti-Species] #13880439 02/09/21 08:33 PM
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one saying i have never heard was i sure wish there were more carp an gar in the lakes an rivers seem an endless supply.

Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: TXMulti-Species] #13880499 02/09/21 09:31 PM
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We never have a shortage of fish to target I can promise you that. My boat will safely carry 1750-2000 lbs of fish. There are many nights we shut it down by midnight w 3 shooters.


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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: ToasterWEyes] #13880573 02/09/21 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ToasterWEyes
We never have a shortage of fish to target I can promise you that. My boat will safely carry 1750-2000 lbs of fish. There are many nights we shut it down by midnight w 3 shooters.

Translation: Bowfishers shoot one TON of fish almost every night before it even gets late


Catch and release. The dream - to catch one of every species of Freshwater fish in our great state! If only I can resist Carp...
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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: TXMulti-Species] #13880585 02/09/21 10:29 PM
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Not all of them, trust me. You do have to play weather patterns and go on a good night. And know where to look. And be competent w a bow. And a fan boat helps. Way more efficient than a troller. My rig was custom built by me for one thing, killing fish in shallow water. Most aren’t set up that well.


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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: TXMulti-Species] #13880590 02/09/21 10:33 PM
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We call it the Death Trap.


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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: TXMulti-Species] #13880624 02/09/21 11:03 PM
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What's that pedestal thing in the middle of the front deck? Fan controls?


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Re: Article: Are Oklahoma Bowfishers Killing Too Many Fish? Why Wildlife Department is Considering More Protection [Re: TXMulti-Species] #13880662 02/09/21 11:45 PM
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Yes sir, all controls are run off electric actuators from that one joystick. Left and right turn. Forward increases speed, back slows it back down to idle. Start key and choke are just below that up front as well.


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