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Old 03-24-2014, 11:33 PM   #61
calphil
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Bringing back the past .. Anything ever happen with this ??? I went to try to bass fish and I was catching gar on my crank bait and the grass carp where so bad I could have literally thrown a cast net and caught 50
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:21 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by calphil View Post
Bringing back the past .. Anything ever happen with this ??? I went to try to bass fish and I was catching gar on my crank bait and the grass carp where so bad I could have literally thrown a cast net and caught 50
Just thought I would let you know the inside scoop about bowfishing Lake Houston. I raised some he77 a few years ago, and tried to get some legal clarification on the issue, but no one at The City of Houston Parks department would entertain taking on a project that didn't benefit them and that they couldn't get a kick back for.  I tried talking to Rep. Sullivan, but he just lied to me, put me off for over a year, and eventually (thankfully) left office. 

So, as far as it being legal: it is still a grey area.  Technically bowfising on Lake Houston is not illegal, however, using archery arrows in a city park is against a city parks code.  The city has a rule to protect the kids playing at city parks from getting hit by a stray arrows, and since ALL of Lake Houston is considered a city park, the code can be applied.  The city code referred to is:

Chapter 32, Section 32-34, "Hunting and Firearms" No person shall hunt any animal or shoot, fire or discharge any pistol, shotgun or rifle, other firearm or archery arrow in, on, along or across the parks. The provisions of this sections shall not apply to designated target ranges."

There are two fundamental problems with attempting to use his code to argue that bowfishing is illegal.

1. Bowfishing is not Hunting.  The title of this section is "hunting and firearms" not "hunting and fishing".  Hunting an animal is completely different from fishing. And bowfishing is considered a form of fishing, not hunting, so it would not violate any part of the "no hunting animals" part of this code.  For further evidence of this, please see TPWD regulations, which require you to purchase a fishing license to bowfish; a hunting license is not required.

2. "Archery" Arrows are specifically prohibited, however, "Bowfishing" Arrows are not mentioned anywhere in the code.  The fact that the code specifically states that "archery" arrows are prohibited, would allow for a reasonable person to assume that other types of arrows may exist and thus would still be legal.  In fact other types of arrows do exist, and the fiberglass rods we use to stick fish, are inherently different from an archery arrow.  An archery arrow has several specific parts, including "flights" which are the feathers that help them fly further and straight.  The fact that these are absent from a bowfishing arrow is a material change, and would be evidence that the two types of arrows may share some similar characteristics, but are in no way the same.

This city code was wrongfully interpreted by the former head of the Lake Patrol, who was not an attorney.  He was a Dick-tator and Sgt. Harding had decided that he could decide the laws of the lake. Many of the officers who worked for Harding told me they didn't agree with their Sgt's interpretation but just had to follow his orders.  Sgt. Harding was transferred and I have not heard of any tickets being issued for bowfishing since he was De-throned.  I did contact the City Attorneys office, but was told that since I had not received a citation, they wouldn't be able to issue an official review. 

I did go bowfishing in Lake Houston several times over the last few years, but I always made sure that I only brought bowfishing arrows and left my archery arrows at home, so that there would be no confusion.  I did so at my own risk and was prepared to receive a citation, so I had my go-pro ready to video record the entire interaction. Unfortunately, I did not see a single Lake Patrol officer on any of those outings.

The whole situation is just ridiculous.  You literally have to fight every bureaucracy in The City of Houston, just to be able to go out and stick a fish.  I feel that fishing is a basic human instinct and bowfishing is something Native Americans have been doing for thousands of years. But for some reason now some individuals with the city have decided that it is dangerous and too needs to be regulated.  Pretty soon the city of Houston is going to require you to buy a permit if you want to grow grass in your yard.  

There is one thing you can do if you want to avoid the crazies down at The City of Houston: just move to The Woodlands! I did and now I can bowfish Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston anytime I want without having to worry about HPDs water swine unit harassing me. Plus, you don't have the extra taxes, higher water rates, and terrible city services.  I know its not all Mayor Porker's fault, but Kingwood and Lake Houston have gone wayyyyy down hill since Houston annexed it.  
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:30 AM   #63
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might be a stupid question but could you use a sling shot rig i know its not the same as a bow but it would be great for that jerk to pull up and all you had was some slingshots rigged out for bow fishing.
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Old 10-05-2014, 04:56 PM   #64
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We are just lucky we dont have to pay a fee everytime we want to get on the lake.
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:26 PM   #65
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I kinda hate to dredge up an old post, but it seemed like a good place to start.

I've been in contact with my Houston city councilman Dave Martin about the possibility of changing the ordinance that prohibits bowfishing on Lake Houston. He is willing to tackle this, but would like to see more support for bowfishing on the lake before doing so.

If any of you guys have any interest in bowfishing on Lake Houston please contact Dave Martin's office. The contact for his office is Jessica Beemer and you can email her directly at [email protected].
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:43 AM   #66
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If it's really about knocking down the gar population I will tell you it's very easy to stick gar with a long boat gig (10-12ft). Maybe not so much the big alligator gar but you can stick needle nose all night. might be something to hold you over until you get the law changed.
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