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A bowfishing offshoot

Discussion in 'BowFishing' started by Krag1902, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Krag1902 Member

    At the creek I bowfish a lot, I leave the turtles alone. I like snappers and would not harm one under any circumstances. I am more or less indifferent to the common painted turtles, but there is no point in bothering them. Softshells are very abundant and some of them grow quite large, but they are gruesomely ugly things I find offensive to look at, much less shoot. But a couple of incidents earlier this summer got me to consider doing just that.
    I shot a grass carp, pulled it in and it slid back down the bank and splashed back whence it came. I bumped into the fish an hour later at the edge of a sandbar, where seven big softshells were eagerly gorging upon it. This grisly scene was like a preview of a bad horror movie. Everyone has their own idea what the Nether Regions must be like. My perception of the underworld has no unquenchable flames, but it is a vast pool, crotch deep in these damn softshells. Earleir that week I investigated a creekside commotion and discovered a medium sized softshell with the front third of a carp in his jaws being persued by a gargantuan example of the same species. This happened five feet below my position.
    I then considered it might be worthwhile and adventuresome to shoot a softshelled turtle with a fish arrow. Only one, only if it were outsized, and only if it posed an interesting shot. And only when I was already bowfishing. I then mulled over special gear that might be necessary for such an endeavor. There would be a need to dispatch the harpooned reptile quickly and humanely. These things are ultra-quick, have unimaginably long necks and don't take kindly to people who poke holes in them. One does not foox with a big arrow shot softshell. Thirty five years ago, I shot a couple and I know.
    I would need a gun, and I brought along my 1911 vintage Savage 32 Automatic stuffed into my front pocket ( They are not called pocket pistols for no reason.) For some reason I foresaw the need for a stout fixed bladed belt knife, and my old Marbles Woodcraft knife went turtle hunting too. As things turned out, I neglected one other vital piece of equipment.
    I saw a lot of softshells over the next three weeks, but none that filled the bill. Last Saturday at 7:30 AM, I found one that came pretty close, backed into a dark mud bank abutting a steeply sloped eight foot high bank. There are bigger ones, but I wanted to get this turtle slaying out of my system. The arrow hit him center and low in the bony part of the shell. Hand-over-handing the line, I kept him away from two potential snags. Keeping a tight line, I withdrew the Savage, chambered a shell somehow, and slid down the bank on my ass, almost colliding with that model of ugliness with the arrow in it. I straddled him in my waders. Two shots in the neck and he went limp. From what I've seen, this one would rank with a 145 point whitetail, trophywise. Back to the truck for the neglected pliers to extract the point. For this you'll need the knife too. There's bigger ones out there, but they're safe from me for the balane of this incarnation.

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  2. 1986 Ducker Active Member

    So what did you do with it?
  3. Force Feed BON Board of Director

    Yumm turtle the other 7 white meats...
  4. Yellab BON Board of Director

    I will share - not too long ago, in the last 3 or 4 years, while bowfishing at my favorite reservoir, I decided that Snapper would be on the menu one mid-spring night. This is a clean, cold water lake and there are plenty of turtles around if a guy looks for them. My only trepidation was in that I was a little nervous about bringing a live snapper into the boat.

    So, as luck would have it, an hour into chasing some common carp, a nice 12 inch snapping turtle was laying up on top of a moss bed. He was about 25 feet away and watching the boat intensely. I didn't want to chance getting any closer and finally found the nerve to launch an arrow at the creature. My shot was true and the arrow pierced his head. He was quickly retrieved, I was able to hang the turtle over my fish barrel using the arrow shaft reaching from side to side. I unscrewed the Cajun Piranha tip and with a quick pull the arrow came out and the turtle dropped safely into the fish barrel - no muss, no fuss, no dangerous snapping of the jaws, and food for the table.

    Feeling infinitely more confident in my ability to harvest a snapper, I set out in search of another victim for the soup pot. As luck would have it, I only had to move about 35 yards when I spotted movement 6 feet below the boat. There on the sandy bottom was another snapping turtle caught in the open and moving towards nearby cover. At this point in time, I wished I had a mirror so I could see the look on my face: mouth agape, eyes wide, and total astonishment my only emotion. Below me, the beast slowly moved directly under my feet. His (or her) head 8 to 9 inches wide, much bigger than the melon on my shoulders. The shell was easily 30 to 36 inches across - this beast was as large as a round patio table.

    The urge to draw my bow and slay this beast did not exist. I watched the creature slide down into a mossy weed bed and disappear into my memories. I don't know how long snapping turtles live, but can easily imagine that this beast was in the river before the lake was filled in 1964. I have seen the large turtle at the Schram State Park, and the Schram turtle could have hitched a ride on this beast like the space shuttle on the 747. I assume that she is still in the lake and when I get the opportunity, I cruise the same area on the off chance that I might catch another glimpse of the creature.

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