With the warmer weather of the past weeks comes the opportunity for new types of outdoor activity. One of these activities, made possible by the slow disappearance of the ice on the Cannon River, is the sport of angling. So to all you fishers out there pick up your bow and arrows and head on out! Bow and arrows you say? Yup bow and arrows.
The sport of archery fishing or bow fishing is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation. The Student Naturalists were introduced to this sport at the end of winter term when they came across a large carp abandoned on the ice next to the imprint of an arrow on the snow. How did it get there? After a bit of guessing we arrived at the natural (or not so natural depending on how you look at it) conclusion, and after a bit of research we gained the whole picture...
It is a story not at all uncommon in the Arb; that of predator and prey. In this case our predator (Archery fishers) come equipped with a normal bow embellished by the small addition of a reel on the front. Generally the arrows used are much heavier because they have to go through water instead of air. They are also not fletched because of the shorter distances they have to travel. These arrows are tied to the line of the reel. When the arrow is shot the line runs off the real and, if a fish is hit, it can be pulled in hand over hand (and, as the case may be, left for unsuspecting students to find). Voila! The mystery of the carp is solved and an exciting new sport brought to the banks of the Cannon River (Though an archery fisher is by no means confined to the bank and may employ any relatively flat bottomed boat just as easily as fish off the bank, a bridge or ice).
Therefore, as the skiers leave the Arb, we can look forward to welcoming a new form of sport to the environs along with the robins that livened up (quite literally) the wildlife sightings for the Student Naturalists at the end of winter term. Archery fishers are not the only fishers that the melting snow is welcoming however. Many water birds can be found in low lying farm fields that the melting snow have flooded as they return to their summer haunts. Just last Friday the Student Naturalists were treated to the beautiful sight of a flock of pelicans wheeling above one of these flooded fields, now dark against the clouds as the black underside of their wings showed then, in one graceful motion, disappearing against the clouds. Ah spring! Enjoy! (At least until good old Minnesota decides “oops, just kidding!” and we get more snow- or rather slush- and cold).
-Your Student Naturalists: Jeremy A. Hayward, Amy O. Alstad, Lindsey B. Nietmann, John K. Vigeland, Spencer W. Wigmore, Hannah M. Specht, Mira Alecci