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Every week there are new marvels to look for in the outdoors, and Discover Nature highlights these attractions. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Josh Hartwig brings us the stories of river otters, luna moths, red buds, and other actors as they take center stage in nature’s theater.You can hear Discover Nature, Mondays at 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Discover Nature: Bowfishing

Missouri Department of Conservation

July 25 - July 31

Discover Nature this week as you explore the possibilities of bowfishing.

Archery is a simple sport that evolved from stick-and-string technology. Bowfishing boasts the same simplicity, but you have to add a reel to store a longer string, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Most bowfishing takes place in shallow water. Once a fish is arrowed, barbs hold onto the catch so you can retrieve it. Use a boat or creep along the shoreline to sight fish.  Aim low, because the fish are deeper in the water than they appear, and aim for the front of the fish to increase your chance of killing it.

Bowfishing is not a catch and release method of fishing.

Common target species include nongame species, such as grass and common carp; black, bigmouth and smallmouth buffalo; and longnose, shortnose and spotted gar.

All fish are edible, though some may taste better than others, or have fewer bones to deal with. To avoid wasting your harvest, research methods of handling, cleaning and cooking almost any fish species.

Although it may be difficult to find a partner to bowfish with you, you can find plenty of advice on the internet. The Missouri Bow Hunters Association has a bowfishing website with information about tournaments, as well as a forum where you can find advice from other bowhunters on equipment, techniques and the best locations to try your hand at bowfishing. 

At the request of people interested in bowfishing tournaments, the Missouri Conservation Department now allows bowfishing 24 hours a day on rivers where commercial fishing is allowed, which is on portions of the Missouri, Mississippi and St. Francis Rivers. You can find more bowfishing information, as well as complete regulations for the sport online at MissouriConservation.org.

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