Aerial Bowfishing Down the Mississippi

After massive flooding in the 1990s from the Mississippi overtook some fish farms, a horde of silver carp, a non-native species found their way into the river and are now reeking havoc on the local ecosystem. With no natural predator, the carp have been breeding like crazy and, more problematically, eating the plankton that juvenile native fish would normally eat. Now the native fish are dying out due to a lack of food and the carp are spreading out.

The carp are bony and don’t taste particularly good, they also are full of PCBs and mercury, making them all the less appetizing. They also don’t eat flies and so catching them with a rod and reel is nearly impossible. Besides being a menace to the ecosystem, the carp constantly are jumping out of the water to avoid humans, and in the process can slam into us, causing broken bones, bruising and even concussions.

Chris Brackett has come up with a unique way to curb the population, something he calls aerial bow-fishing. Riding in a 20-foot boat along the river, Brackett notches an arrow and waits for the fish to jump out of the water, as they do, he fires and takes them out.

“For the foreseeable future, there is still an opportunity for virtually unlimited shooting and harvest of Asian carps by bowfishers, in many parts of the invaded range,” said Duane Chapman, a research fisheries biologist for the United States Geological Survey. “Recreational fishers and bowfishers should not feel bad about killing all the Asian carp they want to kill. Every little bit helps.”

While it is illegal to use a gun to fish, there are really no regulations against using a bow.  “The invasives really do present a guilt-free pleasure for those who bowfish,” said Robert Rice of Carpbusters, a group advocating the removal of invasive fish by arrow or hook. “The common carp, silver carp and now-emerging snakeheads provide plenty of quarry for most people in the country.”

Brackett meanwhile has turned his aerial bow-fishing into a semi-lucrative business, taking tours of other bow-enthusiasts out on the water, has filmed a DVD that has sold thousands of copies and has produced a bow-hunting television show.

“Anyone who would give us a hard time does not live where we live,” he said. “I foresee it being a problem for some folks, but they have yet to see the damage they do here [to the local bass population.]”

[New York Times]

4 Responses to “Aerial Bowfishing Down the Mississippi”

  1. 1 Ignatz
    November 3, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Congrats on beating Brooks to the EA update. Nice butt shot.

  2. 2 Human
    November 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

    people like you are fucking scum. inbred evil cunts.

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