John's Journal...


Bow Fishing and Deer Hunting -- The Similarities

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: As an outdoorsman, I enjoy hunting and fishing. I like to participate in both sports all year. However, often the seasons conflict. However now, folks can hunt with a bow when deer season and turkey season end, although the game has neither fur nor feathers but rather scales. If you want to get a fight started in any fish camp along the Gulf Coast, just start talking about hunting redfish at night with a bow. Most folks won't jump your case if you talk about shooting sheepshead with a bow, because outdoorsmen generally don't consider sheepshead the sacred cow of the Upper Gulf Coast. But many Click to enlargesportsmen feel very strongly about bowhunting for redfish. I think I speak for outdoorsmen when I say that many of us, regardless of how we feel about how anglers take redfish, probably perceive anyone who takes redfish by a different method than us as using an immoral and unethical method. But I personally think that a redfish in the skillet is still a redfish in the skillet, whether you take it on hook and line or with a bow and arrow. Too, as long as bowhunters don't take over their legal limit of redfish, why do we have controversy? "Well, bow hunting for redfish just ain't sporting," a whiskered, leathery-faced fisherman told me recently. However, he also admitted he'd never hunted redfish at night with a bow, but the idea of that just didn't seem sporting to him. This Click to enlargepast year, friends and I traveled to Louisiana and hunted redfish and sheepshead with bows and arrows with my friend Bo Hamilton.

Here's some of what I learned on my hunts with Bo Hamilton.
* You may shoot 50 times at fish with a bow and arrow at night and still not get a limit of redfish or three or four sheepshead.
* I can't think of a bow-hunting trip more fun and exciting than flying through the shallow marshes on an airboat at night.
* People who don't know how to shoot bows and/or don't know how to fish still can participate in this sport of bow fishing for redfish and sheepshead at night.
* A shooter doesn't need great strength, nor does he or she have to have mastered the sport of bow hunting to shoot at fish at night with a bow.

You'll enjoy far more sport taking a redfish with a bow and arrow than catching a redfish on a rod and reel. The redfish has a better chance of escaping from the bowhunter than it does from the angler. When the lights at night hit that redfish, the fish reminds me of a deer when it hears Click to enlargea pack of hounds coming after it and has a running chance of getting away. But, when you catch redfish on a hook that's placed in the food the fish wants to eat, it's much like a deer standing in a green field while you stay in a shooting house. I've always had the opinion through the years that any legal way someone wants to use to take deer or redfish is okay with me. I don't hunt deer with dogs now, but at one time I did. Today I mainly hunt deer over green fields. I personally see nothing wrong with either tactic of hunting deer. I've caught redfish all my life on hooks and lines before bow fishing for them this year. I've enjoyed both sports immensely.


Check back each day this week for more about REDFISH WITH A BOW...

Day 1 - Bow Fishing and Deer Hunting -- The Similarities
Day 2 - My First Nighttime Bow Fishing Experience
Day 3 - Equipment for Bow Fishing
Day 4 - The Adventure
Day 5 - Are Bow Fishermen Slaughtering Fish?


Entry 265, Day 1