Night Alligator Gar Shooting Ban Proposed

chain pickerel
Bobbers, Floats, and Corks, Oh My!
January 22, 2019
Commission Chairman Addresses Gar Proposals
February 7, 2019

Texas bowfishermen could soon be banned from taking alligator gar at night on all waters statewide as part of a proposed regulation change recently introduced by inland fisheries managers with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

The nighttime ban on shooting the fish with bows was one in a series of alligator gar regulation changes officially proposed during a Jan. 23 TPWD Commission work session held in Austin.

The list of proposed changes also includes placing the section of Trinity River from the I-30 bridge in Dallas to the I-10 bridge in Chambers County under a four-foot maximum length limit on alligator gar and leaving the current one-fish daily bag limit in place.

Additionally, TPWD is proposing the implementation of a mandatory reporting requirement for alligator gar harvested on all Texas waters, excluding Lake Falcon.

Mandatory reporting would require anglers to report each harvest within 24 hours online via a mobile app. It could potentially be a useful tool to help scientists track how many big alligator gar are being harvested, where they are being taken and the primary harvest methods.

The four-foot maximum length limit and mandatory reporting segments of the proposal were previously previewed to the commission during a November 2018 meeting in Mission. However, the push for a statewide ban on nighttime bowfishing for alligator gar came about as the result of a recent request from TPWD Commission Chairman Ralph Duggins, who last spring ordered inland fisheries staff to fashion a proposal to eliminate the harvest of large gar on the Trinity River.

“It was a last minute addition,” said Ken Kurzawski, TPWD Inland Fisheries Director of Information and Regulations.

Alligator gar are a long-lived fish known to reach lengths of eight feet and weights beyond 300 pounds during a slow growth life cycle that can last for decades. Texas is believed to be one of nation’s last strongholds for the prehistoric-looking fish, which require specific spawning conditions that don’t exist every year. The Trinity River is a well-known hot spot for big ones.

It should be noted that TPWD fisheries managers usually don’t suggest making such drastic changes in harvest recommendations without solid research data to back it up. Interestingly, there is no concrete data to suggest the Trinity River alligator gar population is in trouble, or that a more restrictive regulation is necessary to sustain it.

The alligator gar proposal is currently open for public comment and will also be taken to public hearings later this spring. The TPWD Commission will vote on the proposal at its March meeting. If adopted, the new regulation will take effect, Sept. 1.

Online public comments should be directed to Ken Kurzawski, [email protected] or Dave Terre, [email protected]

Matt Williams

6 Comments

  1. I back this proposed nighttime bowfishing ban on Alligator Gar 100%. As a dedicated Carp and Buffalo angler I would like to see even more restrictions and ultimately the elimination of bowfishing altogether. Carp fishing is a multi-million dollar industry in the UK and Carp are the number 1 sportfish across the rest of the world. Here in Texas we have big Buffalo as well to draw them in, and there’s no shortage of anglers willing to come over for a shot at a giant fish that can be found nowhere else in the world. I’ll leave you with this PDF some of my friends across the pond made. Thank you guys for everything you do and keep up the great work!

    http://www.carpandcatbussters.com/downloads/bow-fishing.pdf

  2. There are no scientific facts showing that the number of mature alligator gar in the Trinity River or diminishing, I have been on the river for 20 plus years and I can tell you that since the one today limit came about a few years ago there is way more trophy size than gar then there was before… it makes no sense whatsoever to put a maximum size of 4 foot on these fish when their numbers are not in danger, I know for a fact that a lot of the information is being given by the rod and reel Anglers we hate bowfishing.. I do both and I can tell you that in my ears are doing it in all my experience I know that the numbers are doing well and will continue to do well even being left at the one per day limit, with no size limit .. I don’t see any need of changing the rule from what it is right now period. Everyone bashes the bowfishing but fact is the rod and reel Anglers kill more fish probably by letting it swallow a large treble hook and ripping their guts and gills then turn them back into the river to die slowly, think about this use Louisiana as an example. 4 years there has never been a restriction of any kind on alligator gar there yet their numbers are high and have been for decades, you can run the marshes in south Louisiana and see 30-50 large alligator gar in one night even though people are shooting 10 and 12 per night or sometimes more,, so my question is if Louisiana’s numbers are not in danger why would anyone think ours are when we only kill a small percentage of the fish compared to what the Louisiana bowfisherman. Some of this is my opinion, some of it are plain facts.. but from what I see with the tpwd and the scientist and biologist doing the studies looks like to me that 99% of what they are saying just based on personal opinion and no facts whatsoever.. Thanks and have a good day

  3. There are no scientific facts showing that the number of mature alligator gar in the Trinity River or diminishing, I have been on the river for 20 plus years and I can tell you that since the one today limit came about a few years ago there is way more trophy size than gar then there was before… it makes no sense whatsoever to put a maximum size of 4 foot on these fish when their numbers are not in danger, I know for a fact that a lot of the information is being given by the rod and reel Anglers we hate bowfishing.. I do both and I can tell you that in my ears are doing it in all my experience I know that the numbers are doing well and will continue to do well even being left at the one per day limit, with no size limit .. I don’t see any need of changing the rule from what it is right now period. Everyone bashes the bowfishing but fact is the rod and reel Anglers kill more fish probably by letting it swallow a large treble hook and ripping their guts and gills then turn them back into the river to die slowly, think about this use Louisiana as an example. 4 years there has never been a restriction of any kind on alligator gar there yet their numbers are high and have been for decades, you can run the marshes in south Louisiana and see 30-50 large alligator gar in one night even though people are shooting 10 and 12 per night or sometimes more,, so my question is if Louisiana’s numbers are not in danger why would anyone think ours are when we only kill a small percentage of the fish compared to what the Louisiana bowfisherman. Some of this is my opinion, some of it are plain facts.. but from what I see with the tpwd and the scientist and biologist doing the studies looks like to me that 99% of what they are saying just based on personal opinion and no facts whatsoever.. Thanks and have a good day

  4. Steve Barclay says:

    Interesting proposal. I thought sound science was a requirement for resource management under TPWDs mission statement. Oddly. I no longer see that language. When did that change and why? I am all for managing fisheries based on data. All the data I have read as well as first hand experience indicate far populations are strong in the Trinity and harvest is at or below a sustainable number. Where’s the science? Or… Do we not need that any more?

  5. Steve Barclay says:

    Interesting proposal. I thought sound science was a requirement for resource management under TPWDs mission statement. Oddly. I no longer see that language. When did that change and why? I am all for managing fisheries based on data. All the data I have read as well as first hand experience indicate far populations are strong in the Trinity and harvest is at or below a sustainable number. Where’s the science? Or… Do we not need that any more?

  6. Steve Barclay says:

    Interesting proposal. I thought sound science was a requirement for resource management under TPWDs mission statement. Oddly. I no longer see that language. When did that change and why? I am all for managing fisheries based on data. All the data I have read as well as first hand experience indicate far populations are strong in the Trinity and harvest is at or below a sustainable number. Where’s the science? Or… Do we not need that any more?

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