Social media shines light on sportsmen

The days of having to drive your buck around town in the bed of a pickup truck to show it off are over.

Today, sportsmen share their kills and catches with the world through the use of social media. This is good, because it has the power to motivate others to venture outdoors in pursuit of fish and game, but it also offers the potential to harm sporting traditions if a hunter or fisherman posts something unsavory.

Sometimes, social media unexpectedly sets off a storm of anti-hunting or anti-fishing propaganda around a post. Such is the case with a carp in Indiana.

Controversy is brewing on the Facebook page of Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement District 1 ( On May 11, a post was made to the page announcing a new bow fishing state record carp. The post was meant to congratulate the new record holder while informing the public of the outstanding feat.

The Facebook post states, “Jack Searl is shown holding a huge 46lb 8oz carp that was harvested while bow fishing in Kosciusko County. Unconfirmed reports indicate that this may be a new Indiana state record carp taken by means of a bow. Update: It is now a confirmed state record, shattering the old record by over 11lbs!”

The post was done right. The statement expresses excitement for the bow fisher and illuminates the existence of quality resources. The accompanying picture is tasteful, with no blood or gore. So what’s the problem?

Well, some people just don’t like bow fishing and are more than happy to express their opinion from behind the keyboard. Here are a few of the negative comments.

Frank Maeda wrote, “It’s a shame it wasn’t caught with a rod and reel. Bow fishing is lame.”

Jathan Imhausen wrote, ”Total shame to kill such a trophy fish. Probably just threw it on his garden as fertilizer like all the rest of the bow fisherman say they do. Shouldn’t be counted as any kind of state record cause it wasn’t caught on rod and reel but shot and killed purely for fun. Wonder what all the bass fisherman would say if a new state record largemouth was shot with a bow or speared. Oh wait a minute you can’t do that cause they’re considered a sport fish here in Indiana.”

These two negative comments, along with many more, seemingly come from individuals who would prefer to have seen the fish caught on rod and reel. They’re upset about a fish of this magnitude being taken by a bow fishermen. Imhausen publicly speculates on what Searl did with the fish, assuming he just “threw it on his garden.”

Others came to Searl’s defense, including Clay Provines, who posted, “Jack eats carp. That fed his family for the week.” Provines posted again, “Carp are an invasive species. Trying to conserve carp is like trying to conserve an oil spill. Carp are bad for the ecosystem whoever catches a carp and releases it is selfish and should be fined!”

Social media continues to expose the disconnect between the masses and sportsmen but has also shed light on the infighting of our outdoor enthusiasts. Remember, each time you post to social media, you are putting it out there for the world to pick up on. If you’re a sportsmen, keep it tasteful.

Congratulations on a great fish and your new state record, Jack.

See you down the trail.