Description of Bowfishing Tournaments in the Trinity River, Texas, with Emphasis on Harvest of Alligator Gar

Bowfishing may represent a substantial portion of the recreational harvest of alligator gar, but little is known about the relative efficiency of the angling method. To better understand angler effort and harvest rates, we collected data from three Trinity River bowfishing tournaments each year during 2009, 2010, and 2011 (n = 9). Harvest ranged from 2 to 30 alligator gar per tournament with 641 anglers harvesting a total of 134 fish for all years. Mean (± SE) harvest rate (fish h-1) of alligator gar for tournament participants was similar among years at 0.023 ± 0.095 in 2009, 0.018 ± 0.008 in 2010, and 0.016 ± 0.004 in 2011 (F = 0.24, df = 8, P = 0.79). Harvested alligator gar ranged from 229 to 2210 mm in total length, indicating a wide range of vulnerability to bowfishing.

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