A sad display of wastefulness

Saturday, December 28, 2019 - 12:45

Terrible, terrible result of native fish species being shot purely for sport right here. Guarantee these fish were dumped in a mass grave and just wasted. Perfectly good meat that could have been eaten. Activities like this should be banned or at least have bag limits. It's an all out slaughter with these overly competitive bowfishing rednecks. Pictures like this really dissapoint me.



andy's picture

Here is an additional shot from this moron.  On their facebook group "unguided outdoors", they claimed shooting 483 fish just this one night.  Looks like a lot of black buffalo in the mix...this stupid backwards slaughter needs to stop.

Click to enlarge.

Mike B's picture

I don't have a specific problem with bowfishing (or spearfishing, gillnetting, etc.) providing the fish killed are limited to a few and eaten. Not my cup of tea but most of my angling where I am is done with at least some harvesting objectives in mind. I eat a lot of fish and prefer to eat what I have harvested myself. So from that standpoint it would be hypocritical of me to judge alternative methods that otherwise bring about the same result. But this kind of wanton destruction ought to be criminal.

This is a North America-wide problem. In my juridiction, for example, there are no limit whatsoever on "suckers," which theoretically could mean three separate species, one of which would be very rare. it is illegal to "waste fish fit for human consumption" -- an ambiguously written phrase at best, but what does this mean for suckers and other so-called trash fish? 

I imagine if I caught a white sucker and threw it up on the shore, and a wildlife enforcement officer were to come by, they wouldn't have anything to say about it, as the sucker is not "fit for human consumption." I believe this mindset is changing in the scientific community but has yet to reach the minds of fisheries managers, who don't care about non-game fish and don't appreciate the presence these fish have on the eco-web.

This is the first area where education efforts must be made.

mike b

Phil's picture

These are devastating photos – so may fish of the year and of a lifetime there.  Also a substantial removal of important biomass for absolutely no benefit.  Very sad, and a symptom of the ongoing epidemic of the lack of understanding and appreciation for some of the most wonderful of creatures.

On a somewhat related note, this makes me think of this past summer, where upon arriving  at the Minnesota State Fair, I made my traditional bee-line to the DNR building to check out the aquariums and the outdoor “hog trough” pool where a very respectable collection of fish species circulates in front of the patrons.  The crowd stands shoulder to shoulder leaning over the railing  transfixed by the behemoth sturgeon, walleye, muskies, trout, buffalo, cats, redhorse, carpsuckers and others that pass by below them.  It is always interesting to hear the erroneous but dead-set identification proclamations made by some of the on-lookers.  I remember the thought running through my mind that if this was somehow the view from the deck of a ”bow-fishing” boat and instructions were given that all the carp could be shot, I would guess that at least 70% of the fish in the pond would be skewered even though there were only two actual carp in the mix.

Strolling through the rest of the DNR building I came across a young (mid twenties) conservation officer manning the information table and struck up a conversation on the interpretation of waste with respect to various specious of fish.  I thought I might find a more holistic view of the subject with someone fresh out of the education system where I envisioned that environmentalism and an enlightened appreciation for all living things (even to include roughfish) would play a prominent role.  I found that this preconceived notion was not apparently at work like I thought it might be.

The officer was trying his best at customer  service and even tried to pay a little homage to my appreciation of underutilized species by acknowledging that some people eat suckers.  Unfortunately, that didn’t really create a break through on the distinction of dumping hundreds of pounds of indigenous and admittedly edible fish into the back forty and not having it be a waste.

I ultimately backed off the philosophical debate because it was not going anywhere and I did not want to indicate anything other than respect for this officer whose job it is to enforce laws as written.  I also remembered a statement I read somewhere from a conversation officer that some things that seem sensible or right in many people’s minds are not legal and other things that do not seem to be right are not against current laws.

However, that traces to the root of the real problem: how the collective attitudes and thus the laws written have gone unchanged and allow for the propagation of this wasteful activity that is now an industry of its own.  In fact, just down the row at the fair there was a booth for a bowfishing outfitter with a gleaming boat with elevated platforms and impressive floodlight arrays.  The big screen TV was looped with stricken gar and buffs being plunked, hoisted in and shaken off into the 50 gallon drum in the middle of the boat.  Hey it’s a good activity to sharpen your skill, helps the environment and makes for a great business outing too!! That’s all well and good but isn’t anybody still taking reservations to go out to the Dakotas and rack up a couple hundred bison?  Rip the tongues out, peel off the hides and leave the rest, it makes great fertilizer for the grasslands.  I wonder how that booth would go over at the fair.

I assume the COs in the area these fish were taken might monitor YouTube & FB for such posts, and hopefully enforce any applicable violations. I agree such obvious wanton waste is highly ecologically destructive at all levels on the food chain. If/since there apparently isn't currently any regionally or nationally organized effort to increase awareness of the importance of non-game fish species in general, such as the efforts of many environmental groups to increase national awareness of (US, CAN & MEX), and protection for, the Monarch butterfly and its habitat, any ideas how to help non-game fish get the same recognition and protection ? 

Dr Flathead's picture

It's a slow process, but little by little eyes are being opened. Alligator Gar limits and laws recently changed in Texas pertaining to night time bowfishing, harvest limits and size limits, and an actual closed season during prime spawning season. Aging research was done on Bigmouth Buffalo and it was found that the species can live to be 100+ years old in certain bodies of water. Around the country bowfishing is being banned from certain locations because of slobbish behavior. Pages like this are created to draw attention to the disgusting wastefulness of the so called "sport" that they call bowfishing. My advice is to report anything illegal you see going on. Call the cops if they are shooting in a public place where families or kids frequent. Hell, even anglers might feel a bit nervous with arrows flying around. Report mass dumpings of fish because that is definitely considered wanton waste and is illegal. Review your local laws and be knowledge about what is allowed and illegal.