Anglers who practice bow fishing use a compound bow and arrows to fish instead of a rod and reel. The arrows have a line that remains attached to the bow for easy retrieval of the fish. Bow fishing rules can vary widely between states. In some states, bow fishing is legal unless otherwise noted, in others it's not allowed at all. Knowing the local bow fishing laws is important for all anglers.
Texas Bow Fishing Laws
In the state of Texas, bow fishing is legal in coastal waters, most rivers and most large lakes. Anglers are still expected to have a sports fishing license whether a resident or nonresident. By state law, bow fishing is not allowed anywhere on state park property, on lakes that are completely surrounded by state park land or on community fishing lakes. By definition, these are public lakes of 75 acres or less located within a city or a public park. Owners on private property also have the right to not allow bow fishing on their property.
Kansas Bow Fishing Laws
Kansas has several very specific rules and regulations when it comes to how bow fishing can be done legally in the state. In this state all rivers, creeks, ponds and lakes are open to bow fishing unless there are specific signs that say otherwise. Crossbows are also allowed in addition to more conventional bows. Only fish classified as nonsport can be bow fished in Kansas. As of 2010, the state labeled carp, grass carp (amur), drum, gizzard shad, gar, eel, suckers, threadfin, goldfish, sturgeon, goldeye, bowfin and white perch as nongame fish. No other species of fish can be bow fished in Kansas. Arrows being used for bow fishing must have barbed heads and have a line on the arrow keeping it attached to the bow. Finally, bow fishing is not allowed within 50 yards of an occupied campsite, dock, picnic area or anywhere with people around due to the potential safety hazards.
Minnesota Bow Fishing Regulations
In Minnesota, the bow fishing season extends from May 1 to the last Sunday in February. No bow fishing is permitted during the off season. Noise limitations are put on anglers who choose to bow fish at night. In this case, the noise should not exceed 65 decibels more than 50 feet away from the boat. For this reason, electric motors are preferred by many night bow fishermen in Minnesota to avoid noise problems. It is illegal to shoot an arrow within 150 feet of an occupied structure at night and within 300 feet of a campsite from sunset to sunrise.
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