Bowfishing bravisima: Tara Zantjer’s Blacktip shark story

Tara Zantjer shares her story of sending an arrow on target to a Blacktip shark in this guest post.

A shark hunt was the last thing I ever expected to encounter in my lifetime. American Bowfishing gave me an opportunity to have the most extreme bowfishing experience. This was the most intense occasion out bowfishing yet. I have hunted a lot of species before, but nothing like this!

Our charter boat took us about 12 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. We were told to gear up and get ready. My mindset was to see a shark and shoot it just like any other time out on the water. I never expected to be in six-foot rollers going 25 miles per hour chasing these Blackfins along the sand bars! The first night out was awesome, we saw about 40sharks and I was able to take about 20 shots on several of them. These sharks move extremely fast and are terrified of the boat. You only see them for a quick second.  Like I said above, the water was quite choppy and even felt a little eerie.  At any time I thought I was going to fly off the boat. You literally were holding on with one hand (white-knuckled) in the other hand I was gripping my American Eagle bow. Keeping my eyes peeled, I continued taking shots at these Blacktips, but never had a kill.

I did not end up with a shark in the boat the first night, but that didn’t stop me for our second night out.  I was fully rested, energized and felt really good about being on the water that night. As we cruised out of the channel in to the Gulf, we had several dolphins swimming next to the boat. Lighting strikes in the distance made a beautiful scenery. As I geared up my American Eagle with my AMS big game retriever and slid my Muzzy arrow onto my Quick-Draw rest, I felt ready!  We were on the open water for about five minutes before I shot my first arrow way over top of the shark. I knew what I needed to do at this point and that was to step up my game. I was the only girl in a group of seven.  … Two guys up front yelled “SHARK!” They both took a shot and missed. It was out of my sight for about 10 seconds and decided to dart in my direction.

Tara Zantjer and her first Blacktip. Photo courtesy of Lawnchair Productions

As I pulled back my bow and shot, something felt right. Sure enough,  I saw my line flatten out I felt my big game float slide off into the water!  It happened so fast and smooth! I felt my stomach dropped and felt instant adrenaline racing through my veins. All I could hear was a muffled sound of everyone yelling and cheering for me. I was so overly excited and beyond thrilled! I was the first girl to take a Blacktip Shark while bowfishing.  As we got him close to the boat and I saw my arrow stuck in him I still couldn’t believe it! We had  him in the boat and I couldn’t be more proud of this amazing opportunity and achievement.

  • About The WON

    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.


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