Last summer, I spent time bowfishing with some folks in southern Illinois on the Kaskaskia River. These people know what it means to be invaded by a wildlife species that is “exotic.” Every weekend, they’re out there – taking out more and more carp, trying to help the river restore its balance. But, really, to no avail. It’s simply not going to get there fast enough.
Asian carp, for those of you who haven’t been to some of the major rivers in Illinois lately, are threatening to upset and permanently alter the Great Lakes’ ecosystem – and some anglers say they are in there already. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, combined with the Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois state government, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the International Joint Commission are working on eradicating Illinois’ rivers of this exotic. However, a state representative recently introduced a bill that allows people to shoot flying silver carp with shotguns in a pilot program on the Illinois River. Rep. Dave Winters sponsored HB 5317 on Feb. 8, 2012. It reads as follows:
Amends the Fish and Aquatic Life Code. Provides that the Department of Natural Resources shall establish an Asian carp pilot program to permit licensed individuals to shoot Asian carp with a shotgun off of a motorboat in the Illinois River beginning with the 2013 licensing year. Provides that the individuals must have the appropriate license and use a specific type of ammunition. Provides that the Department may adopt administrative rules to establish and administer the pilot program.
My pals in Illinois think this bill will not see the light of day. They say it will get “shot” down in committee.
While on the river last summer, some of us joked about having a silver carp shotgun season. What do you think? Is it possible to have a safe silver shotgun season?