Sport that preserves native species
HELENA – On Saturday, the Montana Bowhunters Association held its annual carp safari at Canyon Ferry Lake. And while they’re not archery for a big cash prize, the tournament serves as a rallying point for the organization and also helps the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks reduce the number of carp in the lake.
“We’re making room for the native fish that were kind of here first. And then you know, they come back, they go back into the ecosystem. Either way, you watch it. When we don’t have an event here and people are just here to bow fish, usually they leave the fish on the shore or throw them in the trash or leave them in the water. I would say the fish that were left here last night, you know, people have been bow fishing all weekend. They are gone today, the scavengers eat them and they disappear. So I think some people have a hard time understanding that. But at the end of the day I think we’re doing a good thing and it’s a great get-together for our people and to introduce people to the sport of bowfishing,” said event organizer Kevin Robinson. and a board member of the Montana Bowhunting Association.
According to usbr.gov, the Canyon Ferry reservoir was 12 feet below normal pool level on Saturday, allowing bow hunters to shoot from shore.
“From what I’ve heard it’s the lowest people have seen in a long time for this time of year. I think there’s the same amount of carp here. So less more water, there is more accessibility, there are more shorelines, there are more shallow areas for people who are archery fishers, wader fishers, and people who don’t have a boat. the water was higher, they wouldn’t be here,” Robinson said.
Robinson recommends shallower water for easier carp shooting, as many factors go into successfully spearing a carp.
“Knee deep water, two to three feet deep, the deeper you go the harder they are to hit due to water refraction, the fish appear to be higher in the water column than “it actually is. So you’re aiming lower than them. So if the fish is 10 feet away and it’s in two feet of water, you’re going really low, it’s really difficult. I mean, you go, for every fish, you shoot, you probably shoot 50 times, I mean for the fish that are further away. So it’s definitely sporty,” he said.
Since carp shooting requires shooters to draw their bows so often, a lighter bow is recommended. However, you will need a heavier fiberglass arrow to help penetrate the water.
“You don’t need a big draw, but you do need enough to get into the water, right? So a few things come into play. You want to get into the water with those heavy arrows, but you’re going to be strong and shoot hundreds and hundreds of times a day. You know, the winning team right now shot 162 fish, so they at least fired their bow 162 times. And they most likely fired their bow 1,000 times. So it’s just, you know, if you have a heavy bow you’re going to penetrate the water better, maybe shoot deeper fish, but ultimately it’s smart to have a heavier bow light and fair, you know, being more precise and demanding with your shots.