Why should I join the BAA?



How many times have I been asked this question and what would my answer be.  When I joined the BAA a few years ago, I honestly had no idea what they were or had to offer.  I joined to donate my money to world championship and get my tail kicked all over my home lake.  Honestly it was to get out and meet some new folks bowfishing and just to have a good time.  Tournaments are a great way to do that.  I'm not in it to win, just to hang out and have an excuse to shoot fish with friends.  If it's a tournament, I can make a weekend out of it and the wife not say anything.  As I learned more, I saw that I could do some good as an officer, and give back to the sport I so much enjoy.   In the past three years of my terms, I have seen the BAA take great strides to expand its efforts.  We want to cater to all aspects of bowfishing from tournament shooters down to the weekend fishermen.  The BAA has worked hard to protect our bowfishing rights that have been under attack and promote our sport throughout the country.  The BAA continues to gain new members and has expanded our reach throughout this country. The organization continues to grow and we continually try to market the organization better. If someone wants to join the BAA, they will join it because of what we have to offer, and that is where we continually try to improve.  As we offer more to all aspects of bowfishing, our numbers will continue to increase.  There will always be growing pains for an organization that expands and there will always be those who are afraid of change, but as an officer, we will put the needs of the BAA and bowfishing overall first and foremost. Each BAA member has a vote on all issues through ballot voting and our annual meeting, and we encourage more involvement from our members.  The more involvement we have the stronger this organization will be. So what does the BAA have to offer to me?

Ask yourself first off.  Do you have kids?  The BAA believes that kids are the future for this sport, there is no doubt about that.  The BAA continues to support our youth with activities like the kid's citation programs.  I've seen the way Ronnie Cannon's son Drew's eyes light up when he shows off his Jr. Bowfishermen of the year plaque.  There is nothing more priceless than that.  Kids can get citations for their first fish and any fish they shoot, making it exciting for them and keeping their interest.  The BAA kids day and youth world championship promotes our sport to children who have never been exposed to the sport.  Lots of great bowfishermen take time out of their schedule to load up lots of kids and take them for a great bowfishing experience; this is what it's all about.  Members like Randy Woodward have organized a world championship just for youth, an awesome way for youth to experience the comradery and excitement of tournament competition. 

So do you want bowfishing to continue to be around for your kids?  If you think the sport of bowfishing is not under attack from anti-sportsman groups, then you need to open your eyes.  Everything from PETA wanting to abolish all sportsman activities, carp anglers wanting only catch and release for carp, people not wanting airboats to be allowed on lakes anymore, and the list goes on.  Group likes PETA are currently on the attack against bowfishing, they already have us in their sites, just haven't figured out their attack strategy.  They haven't struck yet but when they do, will we be ready?  Groups like this have million dollar budgets for lawyers and attack campaigns.  Do you think the sport of bowfishing is ready for that?   If we don't all stand together, groups like this could destroy our great sport.  As we've already seen with issues like Town Lake last year, the threat can come from anywhere.  The carp anglers wanted bowfishing outlawed, but the BAA and other concerned bowfishermen and sportsman rose to the occasion and triumphed to win this first battle for the right to bowfish.  But this is just one battle in the war ahead.  But the BAA will ultimately win the war.  Our public relations/political action committee was formed just for future battles like this.  I had my first son born in June.  I want him to be able to grow up and enjoy bowfishing just as I have.  What will he think as he gets older and sees all my bowfishing pictures and I have to tell him, well son, this used to be legal, but a few people didn't like us killing these fish and got it outlawed, so you won't be able to do that.  Do you think organizations like Muzzy Bowfishing products, AMS, and others want to see bowfishing disappear?  That is why they support the BAA and you should too.  We need numbers in our organization; a group of several thousand voices can do so much more than one or two.  Let your voice be heard and counted.

Do you want to help our environment and support conservation?  A lot of people probably never realized how bowfishing helps our ecosystem.  Invasive species such as carp have destroyed many of our waterways and many of the rough fish we target have no known natural predators.  So who are the predators?  We are.  By removing these damaging fish, we protect our native fish, waterways, and resources that so many enjoy.  Study after study has shown how carp and these other fish are destructive to our environment.  Most people probably never knew that.  That is where the BAA comes in.  We need to show the positive effects of bowfishing on the environment and get the word out about how we are conservationists and sportsman alike.  The BAA continues to support the removal of exotic invasive fish to help be better stewards to our environment. The BAA also supports research projects such as the gator gar reserach project.  Studies like this will help to shed light on the species and show what kind of effects, if any, bowfishing has on this.  This is another way we show that we care for the environment around us.  Help us to show bowfishing in this postive light and support the BAA and the BAA conservation fund.


On to the more fun side of bowfishing.  Did you know that the vast majority of states across the country have no bowfishing record keeping system?  The BAA has a nationwide world and state record keeping system for all bowfishing records for every legal species.  As a member you are eligible for this system.  You will receive a plague and have your name permanently entered into the record books, for the respect and recognition you deserve.  The BAA also offers citations for shooting admirable fish over certain set sizes, which are votable on by all the membership.  This gives you a citation and recognition for your trophy, even if it's not a record book fish.  Get your trophy the respect it deserves through our record keeping/citation program.

Do you wish there was a magazine just about bowfishing?  Well there is, it's called the BAA Journal.  It is sent out two/three times a year with updates from the world of bowfishing.  From tournament action, new equipment, how to articles, guides, articles for the weekend fishermen, cool pictures, and updates from all the actions of the BAA as a whole. 

Do want up to the minute updates and all the actions of the BAA?  Well our web page provides updates, forms, and all information needed for BAA members.  The BAA forums have a memberís only section just for BAA members to discuss topics relating to the BAA and bowfishing.  This is how we handle business that will help protect our sport for the future.  We are continually expanding our Internet commerce areas.

Do you enjoy the thought of tournament competition and showing your bowfishing skills to the rest of the community?  Whether you are a die hard competitor or just enjoy getting together with friends, the BAA world championship brings together bowfishermen from all across the country.  The BAA hosts this one tournament each year and it moves from lake to lake across the country, based on what the membership votes on.  It shows who is the "best of the best" and also provides the venue for our annual meeting, bringing together the officers and many members to discuss the current issues.  The BAA also provides a points system much like the BASS tournament circuit where fishermen compete for points for the coveted bowfishermen of the year, team of the year, etc.  Each shooter/team accumulates points for each BAA sanctioned event they compete in and how well they did.  This brings excitement for the entire year throughout.  The winners are announced at the World Championship awards ceremony.  All tournaments throughout the country are eligible for BAA sanctioning.  This allows for tournament insurance through the BAA, awards certificates, point accumulation for BAA members, a free BAA membership, and will attract more shooters to your event.  Our state representatives and membership base throughout the country provide you an instant contact if you ever travel to an unknown area to bowfish, this is a good thing that I have utilized before. 

And if nothing else, you get a cool membership packet, which has stickers a patch, and some other cool stuff.  And you get 10% off of all Muzzy bowfishing products too.  So you can't beat that!

The moral of this story is that we need all voices of all bowfishermen in this country to be heard, or someday we may jeopardize the chance of seeing our sport continue to thrive.  Please consider joining the BAA and the other bowfishing/sportsman groups mentioned here and be an active member.  An organization is only as strong as its membership base. 

Thanks for your support and God Bless,

Bryan Hughes
BAA Vice President