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two guys bowfishing

The Future Of Bowfishing Is In Your Pocket

-By Treaver Woehr

Today, you can flip on the Outdoor Channel and see all sorts of activities. From bass fishing to buck hunting, the new age of technology has done wonders for the outdoor community via television and online streaming.

girl holding bowfishing gar
Some of the critics of bowfishing think the sport is too barbaric.

More money and notoriety continue to flood these sports which when coupled with new-age platforms, allows content creators like LunkersTV, John B, Lojo Fishing, and many more to reach audiences one would have never thought possible until recently.

Education Via YouTube

In the early 2000s, most people were only going to discover hunting or fishing was if their family member or friend introduced them to it.

Now, you can type “fishing” into the YouTube search bar and learn all about traditional and lesser-known types of fishing from scratch within hours. This opens up an entirely new world of possibilities for kids who aren’t fortunate enough to grow up in the great outdoors.

While these are certainly exciting times in the outdoor industry, one outdoor sport has been slower to gain an online identity… bowfishing.

This is not to say that bowfishing content isn’t accessible, but the people who are primarily posting online content about it are hunters and bass fishermen who try to shake things up for their fans while enjoying the occasional bowfishing outing.

While many of these content creators do a great job, the sport is really missing its own creators dedicated solely to bowfishing, just as there are many YouTubers, bloggers, and podcasters dedicated to bass fishing or deer hunting.

This could be due to stereotypes that often plague the sport, or simply because no one has taken that leap of faith yet into uncharted territory.

young kids shooting at archery target
Kids are starting younger than ever to learn the sport of archery, which positions the sport of bowfishing for future growth.

Why Bowfishing Will Thrive

So, let’s talk about why bowfishing has a bright future and why it should thrive online.

If you’ve heard about or seen videos of bowfishing, but aren’t familiar with the sport, you may be thinking “It’s far too barbaric to last; especially as society’s attitudes shift.”

However, bowfishing is better prepared to survive than it may seem at first glance. 

The younger audience is alive and well

Most of the pictures submitted to us are from kids who are still in high school or are recently graduated.

In addition, archery is one of the fastest growing high-school and college sports in the United States. So, although archery has been around for thousands of years, the younger generation is developing the skills needed to bowfish more than ever before. This bodes well for the future of a sport that relies on archery technique. Bowfishing is a much more daunting sport if you don’t have an archery and/or bowhunting background.

Bowfishing: Answering tough questions

“Okay, so we know people can do it, but it’s just so brutal. I mean, modern media can handle hooking some fish, but we are much more environmentally sensitive now, right?”

We are certainly more environmentally sensitive than in the past. But, that’s exactly why bowfishing can find acceptance.

Many of the fish we shoot are invasive species that pose a threat to the balance of the ecosystem. Even many of the other “non-invasive” targeted fish need some level of population control so that the “game fish” we all love to reel in can thrive.

Much like with deer hunting, bowfishing can serve as a means of maintaining balance in our waterways. Since bowfishing can be a powerful tool for conservation, there are not many restrictions in place currently pertaining to the number of fish one can shoot. This is something we think people could get behind and support, or at least accept out of necessity.

“Okay, so if bowfishing can grow with the times, and has a built-in future generation of capable participants, why can’t we just leave it be and hope this will be enough to carry the sport?”

man holding carp with bowfishing arrows
Bowfishing helps to control the populations of invasive species.

In the early 2000s, bass fishing was doing well, but there was a pretty clear divide between recreational participants and its professionals.

Instead of being a passion that someone could pursue, it was deemed more of a hobby for country folk after a hard day at work or in school.

But, then YouTube came along, and before you know it, content creators emerged from the woodwork and took the sport by storm. Many individuals from different walks of life took up the sport. (Remember what we said about archery being one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S? Well, bass fishing is right there as well, thanks to these YouTubers and many others in the sport).

In fact, the founder of our company got into bass fishing, not by watching professionals on TV, but by watching ordinary people take on the sport with a camera in their hands or on their heads.

Bowfishing growth just beginning

Sponsors have taken notice of this trend, and more attention is on the sport than ever before. Many of the tournaments can be watched on a live-feed, and before you know it, we are going to have a generation of kids that saw fishing for the first time on a phone screen.

Just like traditional fishing and hunting exposure has grown with the rise of social media, bowfishing will continue to grow as the outdoor community continues to be exposed to the sport.

But, regardless of how fast bowfishing may grow during this generation, we must be careful not to lose that peaceful connection with the outdoors that makes it so special in the 21st century.

treaver woehr of 573 outdoors
Treaver Woehr of 573 Outdoors. You can follow 573 Outdoors on Instagram: @573_bowfishing

Treaver Woehr

Treaver Woehr is co-founder of 573 Outdoors, a bowfishing-centric outdoor brand based out of Jefferson City, Missouri. The company was officially founded in 2019 by lifelong friends Alex Brandt, Treaver Woehr, and Dalton Lage with a simple mission in mind: To change the outlook on bowfishing and become a catalyst for its growth in mainstream outdoor media. The business began as a bowfishing community page on Instagram. You can subscribe to 573 Outdoors' on YouTube.

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