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2014 US Open Bowfishing Tournament Set for Table Rock and Bull Shoals Lake

by Chris Larsen

The 2014 US Bowfishing Championship is coming up on May 3rd and 4th on the waters of Table Rock and Bull Shoals Lake in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas.


The Second Annual U.S. Bowfishing Championship is on pace to be the largest bowfishing tournament ever. The event is scheduled for May 3-4 at Table Rock and Bull Shoals Lakes in the Ozark Mountains. The event features incredible cash and prizes as well as entertainment.

The tournament offers a 100% payback and prizes like a Tracker 1860 Bowfishing Boat worth $18,000, new bows, a bowfishing package worth $5,000, and $10,000 in cash for the winners. Competitors have other bonuses available for state record fish as well. Anyone in the tournament that takes a state record long longnose gar or common carp will earn a $10,000 check.

Tournament hours will run from Saturday, May 3 at 7 p.m. until Sunday, May 4 at 7 a.m. The tournament start and weigh in will occur at Bass Pro Shops new Outdoor Academy in Ridgedale, Missouri. Last year the event was only on Table Rock Lake. This year’s event includes the waters of Bull Shoals Lake. Air boats are not allowed in the 2014 Bowfishing Championship.

John Paul Morris of Bass Pro Shops says there are already more than 700 anglers from 27 states already signed up for the event. "Bowfishing is a great way to get new archers excited about the outdoors as well as engaging those people who already love to hunt and fish," said Bob Ziehmer, director of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Bowfishing is not only fun but it helps fisheries. Species taken by bow anglers are typically rough fish like buffalo, gar, grass carp, and common carp. These fish degrade water quality and compete with spawning game fish by destroying spawning beds. This problem is even worse on deep, clear water lakes like Bull Shoals and Table Rock lakes because spawning areas are limited. Bowfishing is also a great tool in controlling invasive Asian carp. In some states, Asian carp are threatening native species by destroying spawning and feeding habitat.

Last year’s tournament yielded about 17,000 pounds of carp and this year is expected to be even better. The fish are used as environmentally friendly fertilizer used by organic farmers. Science has found a way to break down the fish while maintaining minerals, enzymes, and amino acids that produce all natural, high quality plant food.

Tournament anglers also help boost the area economy. With many anglers coming from different states, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and stores see a real boost during the tournament.

Businesses such as Happy Hollow Resort near Branson saw a big boost last year and they say many reservations have already been made for this year. The event also has kids’ activities, live music, and vendor booths from many of the most popular manufacturers in bowfishing. The event area opens at 2 PM on Saturday, May 3.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the James River Basin Partnership to fund a clean-up effort. The James River Basin Partnership is a grassroots, nonprofit, organization working to improve and protect the water quality of the springs, streams, rivers, and lakes in southwest Missouri's James River Watershed.


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