At least several steps above, Tom. An arrow isn't an area weapon like a grenade and it takes considerable skill to aim into water because of the refraction offset (the thing in the water isn't actually where your eye/brain says it is). And you have to sneak right up on top of the fish too - not at all like lobbing a grenade a distance. Then once you have the fish "speared"with the arrow, you still have to reel him him.
Fishing with an a bow and arrrow, or even a crossbow is more sportsmanship like than the way Texans hunt deer. Deer hunting in Texas consits of setting up a deer blind, feeding the deer in front of the blind for quite awhile before hunting season, then when hunting season opens place more feed for the deer which they are use to by now and shoot the deer as they eat. About as much skill required as hitting a target in a shooting gallery. No real hunting skills involved.
The biggest gar I have ever seen was a picture in a town museum. Supposedly it was about 19 feetlong, they had it in a wagon bed with some people hanging on and holding th tail off the ground. I was never able to find out if it was fake or not. I'm bettin it was. Kind of funny, every other picture in the place from the same period had all the participants names.
Watching that video brought back some memories. We used a 20' jon with a short stand bolted on the front. Carp and gar were regular targets. I used a recurve, though, because thats what I had at the time. We'd go out and run trotlines or jugs in a oxbow and bowfish on the way out and back. Carp and gar went to a family that lived just next to where we usually dropped the boat. Catfish went home with us. Biggest one I ever shot was over 5 feet. Bowfishing is not as easy as you might think, and if you are a bass fisherman you might appreciate having a couple of guys come out to your local reservoir at night at start taking out all the gar.
I too lived in SW MO, E AR, S AR and San Angelo, and of course knew people that baited, but never used it myself. I think it has its place, but it's another one of those things that if you allow it, you open up the whole can of worms. Some people will always abuse what some other people see as a management tool.
I know now the difference between sporting and not, but this is how it used to be. What happened with us was that every month or so there would be a family gathering. Most everybody was local, so you got aunts, cousins, friends of second cousins once removed, etc. Now none of us were exactly poor, but neither were we what we then called "rich". So going to the grocery store to get food enough for these things was out of the question. We kind of looked at running trotlines as our fish market. Grandpa, Dad, Uncle J, and usually me and my cousin Little J(we were the oldest) would work a trotline Friday evening and pick it up Sat morning. Clean fish all day Saturday and generally grandpa found a way to get some work out of us too. To this day I run if I even catch a glimpse of a kaiser blade. I swear to god that man used miracle gro on all the brush along his fences. Sunday all the women cooked and everybody brought something to go with the fish. All other times I can remember were rod and reel. Although my dads stinkbait could be considered unsporting, the catfish just crawled up in the boat when we used that stuff. But don't get it on your clothes.
Well DSharp we did fish for food, so we rationalized the trot line Don't want to get into a poor or poorer debate with others, but we fished for food. We have been all over the US including Alaska and the best fishing we found was in Texas. Crappie, catfish, white bass, black bass ( green trout), etc. Did catch a few Gar and tossed them away....didn't eat those
And anybody that thinks deer hunting in Texas is not sporting needs to go out with me. I can't tell you the number of days I've spent out in the field not seeing anything move. More often that not it's like the last time I went out. Was in the field from sunup to sundown, and the only deer I saw were on the side of the road as I was driving home.