Editor’s Note: Eva Shockey, well-known outdoors woman, has traveled all over the world taking big game animals with bows and rifles. But she never had hunted fish until a couple of years ago when she tried bowfishing at Lake Guntersville in north Alabama. Lake Guntersville was selected for a bowfishing tournament due to the large number of carp, gar, drum and catfish living there. During the summer months, when most hunting seasons are closed, bowfishing is a fun way to get outdoors and hunt fish.
I’ve been bowhunting for a long time, but I didn’t take the sport seriously until about 7-years ago. My dad, Jim Shockey, is the person who really got me into bowhunting. When I was a youngster, my mom, Louise, always bought my brother, Branlin, and myself all our Christmas gifts. But when I was about 4- or 5-years old, my dad decided that he would buy all of us the Christmas presents he wanted to buy. That first year Dad got Branlin and me each beautiful blue-and-white youth recurve bows. I shot that little bow for years and years, but when I got into high school, I didn’t shoot my bow very much. Once I started getting more and more into hunting, I began shooting the bow again, because I liked the challenge of getting close to the animals and taking them with my bow. Bowhunting made me feel more in touch with the actual hunting process. I continued to get more and more into bowhunting. Now, I’ve reached a point in my hunting career where I’m totally obsessed with bowhunting.
When I first accepted the invitation to go bowfishing on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, I didn’t understand how big the sport of bowfishing was. At this one tournament alone, 83 teams of three to four bowhunters per team came from all over the United States to compete. Since bowfishermen participate in their sport primarily after dark and leave the lake at night or just after daylight, rarely will you see a group of them during daylight hours. To me, the sport of bowfishing is kind of underground, even though many people all over the United States participate in it. In some way, I’ve been in the outdoor industry for most of my life. I can’t believe I haven’t known anything about bowfishing.
When I arrived at Lake Guntersville and saw all the boats with floodlights mounted above raised shooting platforms and realized that many of the boats were airboats or had some type of fans on the backs of them, I was completely blown away. I wasn’t really sure what bowfishing would be like. I discovered that bowfishing was completely opposite to other forms of fishing and was exciting and loud. I didn’t have to sit still, and I could enjoy being with the people I was bowfishing with and laugh, talk, listen to stereo music and compete with them to see who could shoot the most rough fish.
To learn more about bowfishing, go to John E. Phillips’ book “The Bowfishing Bible” at http://amzn.to/22zX7Zz.