Skate Shooting Tournament with Bow and Arrow

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By Rich Johnson


I attended the 13th Annual Skate Tournament that was just held on June 27 at the Sea Breeze Restaurant off Sandgates Road in Mechanicsville on the Patuxent River.  Now I have been in Saint Mary’s since 1987 and this is the first time I heard about it.  This event was a blast.  I attended this with Commissioner Larry Jarboe, and we were talking to folks from New York, Pittsburg, and other states.  For folks coming from out of state, this was a big event.
Larry and I got there in the morning so we could talk to the skate shooters before they shoved off at the 7 AM “Shotgun” start.  There were all type of boats there decked out for Skate Bow Shooting.  We counted about 30 or so boats in the tournament.  The tournament was organized by Robbie Bowe of Bowes & Arrows of Alexandria.
Just after the boats pulled out for their quest of skate, we observed a large skate jump out of the water, just off the very pier where all the boats had just launched from.  I kid you not.  Robbie Bowe got his boat motoring and tried to shoot the skate, but it got away.  We saw about 3 skates swimming around the pier.  It was a good day for skate shooting.  The water was pretty calm, but was a hot day in the high 90’s.  Looks like many of the participants were well hydrated for the summer heat.
I talked to a few shooters there on whether crossbows were used.  Some told me they shot too fast to be effective, while others told me they took all their skates that day with a crossbow.  Well, if one of the boats took all their catch with a crossbow, sounds like the way to go.  Though I did observe the majority of skate shooters using compound bows.
Cost of the tournament was $75.00 for Pre-Registration, and $90.00 for the Day of the tournament.  Max of 3 shooters per boat was allowed with 1 boat driver.  Shooters required a VA or MD Saltwater License or MD 5 day Saltwater.  Weigh in time was at 2 PM.  Prizes were as follows:
1st Prize $700.00
2nd Prize $600.00
3rd Prize $450.00
4th Prize $350.00
5th Prize $200.00
And if the Prize money was not enough, they even had raffle prizes too.
This Skate Shooting Tournament was a Win-Win for everyone.  The skate population was thinned, so that other more desirable species could flourish.  The local economy got a boost with folks coming to Southern Maryland.  Crab pots got the taken skates for bait, and folks had a good time honing their shooting skills.  What more could one ask for.  And after the long day shooting skate, folks were able to get good food, live entertainment, and friendly southern Maryland hospitality which I recommend all to attend.
Be safe and shoot some skate with a bow.

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