Prairie du Chien team competes in World Bowfishing Tournament

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The Prairie du Chien team included Drake Coleman, Ben LaHaie and Aaron LaHaie.

A team of Prairie du Chien bowfishermen competed in the World Bowfishing Tournament held in Prairie du Chien on July 26-27. Cabela’s was a host and the weigh-in was held on their property. 

The tournament took place from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. All of the fish that were brought in were taken to a local pig farm as feed. Tournament organizers contact local entities wherever they hold their tournaments and the fish have gone to raptor rehabilitation centers, to organic farms as fertilizer, and more.

Some of the teams were from Alabama, North Dakota, Georgia, Tennessee, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Missouri, just to name a few. There was a local team that entered consisting of Aaron LaHaie, Ben LaHaie and Drake Coleman all of Prairie du Chien and a fourth shooter from De Soto named Quentin.

Aaron LaHaie wanted to enter Ben (his son) along with Dylan and Drake Coleman. Drake could not commit because of American Legion baseball, so Aaron entered himself, Ben, Dylan and Quentin. The day of the shoot, Dylan cut his hand in the woods and could not shoot so his older brother stepped in. Because the Prairie du Chien Legion Team did not advance to the state tournament, Drake was available to shoot.

The BAA (Bowfishing Association of America), the only true national Bowfishing organization in the country, has been around since 1990 and was originally started as a way to keep track of bowfishing tournaments in the United States. Since then, the sport of bowfishing has evolved and the BAA has evolved with it. Since the advent of the Internet, the need to keep track of tournaments around the country is no longer an issue, this is easily done via websites and bowfishing community sites. Instead the BAA has shifted its focus to helping bowfishermen fight for their rights to bowfish as well as working closely with biologists and DNRs to help reduce the spread of invasive fish species around the country.

Although bowfishing will never completely eradicate these invasive species, it is a proven method to help keep their numbers in check and, in some instances, drastically reduce them while bringing much needed money to local economies.

The tournament boundaries were as follows: All public waters with public access in the following counties La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford and Grant. This includes the Mississippi River pools 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 up to the railroad tracks on the west side of the river plus the Wisconsin River from the Mississippi River to Highway 61 near Boscobel. Per WDNR regulations, no shooting is allowed in trout streams. 

The tournament was for rough fish only which included suckers, carp, goldfish, redhorse, freshwater drum, bowfin, gar, buffalo, gizzard shad, mooneye and carpsucker.

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