Booher, Evart angler push bill to allow crossbow fishing

It appears that crossbow fishing will soon be allowed in the state.

Sen Darwin Booher (R-Evart) announced this week that legislation he sponsored to allow crossbows to be used for fishing has been enrolled by the Senate and has been sent to the governors office for his signature.

There appeared to be general, although not unanimous support for the measure. Michigan already allows the use of a spear or bow and arrow to fish in certain waters during certain times of the year.

“Hunting and fishing are important to maintaining a healthy environment and supporting the livelihoods of many Northern Michigan families,” said Booher in a statement. “Since crossbows can now be used for hunting, expanding their use to fishing makes sense. By adding another opportunity for sportsmen to enjoy our great outdoors, we may also encourage more people to come out and take advantage of some of the world’s best fishing.”

Booher also mentioned in his statement that the bill would allow the Department of Natural Resources to issue an order permitting the use of crossbows for fishing.  The DNR has indicated crossbows, after they are allowed, could be used during the same seasons and also for the same species allowed for fishing with a bow and arrow, Booher added.

“I sponsored this bill after a conversation with a constituent in my hometown,” Booher said, adding in his statement. “It is an example of an innovative idea that can come about by listening to Northern Michigan residents on ways to change how Michigan does business.”

He was alluding to Hal Hutchinson from Evart, who testified in support of the legislation before the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee earlier this year.

“This is something I thought was needed about a year ago,” Hutchinson said. “I approached his office with a vague outline of what I thought should happen. His office then contacted the DNR and found out they were in favor.”

Hutchinson took a look at a proposal, which is what he said he basically had in mind.

Booher’s office proceeded with the bill.

Hutchinson said he answered questions from senators during the sub-committee hearing.

Hutchinson said he was later informed that the committee had passed the bill and it was headed to the full Senate. The Senate and also the Michigan House later approved the bill.

“I thought it was needed because crossbows have been deregulated in the rest of the hunting community in Michigan,” Hutchinson said. “The thing with bow fishing is that it’s not listed in the hunting guide, It’s listed in the fish guide, two separate guides. When (crossbow) was authorized to be used for every other hunting in Michigan, it was not legal for bow fishing. So whether it was an oversight, it was not included.”

“The rest I got involved is that I do 90 percent of my fishing out of a kayak.  I got thinking that I can’t shoot a bow out of a kayak or a canoe. I bowfish out of a big boat where you can stand up and shoot. But that’s not possible out of a kayak. That’s what prompted me to start this process to see if we could get it changed.

“This is going to be really slick, I guarantee you that.”

Other fishermen like Jim Showers of Chippewa Lake don’t seem that much interested in bow fishing.

“It doesn’t make any difference to me,” Showers said.

“I don’t think that will have much of an impact (locally),’ said Jeff Greene of Rodney. “It’s not really a sport like deer hunting where you’re concentrating on shooting something and making a good shot.”