Md. governor asked to stop Bay bowfishing tournament

WASHINGTON — Two animal protection groups are asking Maryland’s governor to prevent future competitions in which bowfishers hunt cownose rays.

Dozens took part in the first Patuxent River Battle of the Rays on June 13 in Mechanicsville, Maryland, on the tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

The animal protection groups – SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) and Fish Feel – on Monday released undercover video showing pregnant rays during the competition weigh-in process.

“What happened to these pregnant animals was truly horrifying,” said SHARK’s Stuart Chaifetz. “Contestants showed a complete disregard for life and caused incredible pain and suffering to these innocent animals.”

Chaifetz doesn’t want there to be a second Battle.

“We are calling on Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to take immediate action to stop these despicable and heinous tournaments from ever happening again.”

The cownose ray is a brown, kite-shaped ray with a long, whip-like tail that visits the Cheapeake Bay’s shallow waters in summer, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Participants in the event were required to present valid Maryland fishing licenses.

Event organizers were not immediately available for comment.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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