Aerial Bowfishing for Bighead Carp in Missouri’s Lamine River

Rick Adair, a photographer whose work appears regularly in Field & Stream, tells the story of how he captured one … Continued

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Rick Adair

Rick Adair, a photographer whose work appears regularly in Field & Stream, tells the story of how he captured one of the magazine’s “First Shot” photos.

My friends Bill and John Marshall told me a while ago about bow fishing for jumping carp. Bighead carp. It’s an invasive species, and a huge threat to the ecoysystems of U.S. waters. The fish is also a threat to boaters, because they leap high out of the water when a prop goes by (check out this story about one that broke a woman’s jaw in Illinois). The government spends millions of dollars every year to prevent these things from spreading, but sportsmen have found a more interesting way to help control their population — by driving around in boats and shooting them out of the air using bows and arrows.

I knew that John was a great shot with his bow, and so I figured I’d get the chance to capture some great action on film (and maybe land one of my photos in a “First Shot”). Here are some of the images I came back with.

The shooters are Tyler and Doug Burke and Bryant McCartney. The location is the Lamine River in central Missouri. The guys shot 80 carp while I watched. The largest weighed 15 lbs.

Click through the slides to check out my photos. – Rick Adair