New Bowfishing Regs Take Effect Thanks to MUCC Club

You can thank the MUCC Affiliate Club, The Bowfishing Association of Michigan (BAM), for proactively working with the DNR, MUCC, and the Warmwater Resources Steering Committee to help simplify and clarify the new bowfishing regulations found in the new 2012 Michigan Fishing Guide.
While bowfishing is not a new sport, its growing prominence here in Michigan is certainly due to the persistence and dedication of BAM's officers and members. They hold competitive and fun bowfishing tournaments to increase participation in the sport, which also helps fund their education and youth recruitment activities. Check out their 2012 Tournament Schedule. Whether you are a tournament junkie, a weekend fish-sticker, or a bow hunter looking to do something in the off season, you should consider getting more familiar with BAM (check out their website or find them on Facebook).
In BAM's latest newsletter, they explain the new bowfishing regulations for Michigan, which were signed by the DNR Director in December 2011 and went into effect on April 1, 2012. Here's a brief list of the changes (see the Fishing Guide for the complete information):
  1. Continuous season: Beginning April 1, 2012, bowfishermen and women will be able to enjoy a never-ending season all-year round on all inland non-trout waters!
  2. New species: Some new species were added and some others were clarified. For example, we can now shoot suckers, drum, buffalo, and catfish on all waters except designated trout waters all year round. *Caution: not that the regulations specifically state "Longnose gar." They intentionally did not include spotted gar due to a population concern. Therefore, now the only gar species that is legal to shoot is longnose gar.
  3. New waters: Be sure to check the regulations for legal waters in your area. Waters that were previously off-limits for bowfishing may now be open for business.
  4. Simplification: Perhaps one of the greatest improvements for the new regulations is the simplicity. As you can see in the Fishing Guide, there is a night-and-day difference between the old and the new. In fact, the new regulations are so simple, that it can be confusing. We are so accustomed to laws with endless exceptions, exclusions, asterisks, callbacks, substitutions, and total confusion, so these new simplified laws seem too good to be true!
  5. Pike bowfishing: An oversight during the re-write does not include bow and arrow as legal gear to harvest pike through the ice anymore. Although pike bowfishing is not a common sport, some bowfishermen have had great success using archery gear through the ice, so this will (hopefully) be addressed in the future.
Many thanks to BAM Secretary Brian Gilson for his help in summarizing these regulations! Also thanks to BAM member and MUCC Board Member Rob Miller for his involvement in the Warmwater Resources Steering Committee and for helping to move these regulations forward!

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