New Michigan State Record Black Buffalo Wins Bowfishing Tournament


Anglers know that record-sized fish are not always guaranteed to win fishing competitions, but few things are more exciting than bringing a history-making catch to the weigh-in. Bowfisherman Josh Teunis, 20, surprised a crowd in Muskegon on June 16 when he brought out a behemoth 41.25-pound black buffalo. It was the first black buffalo that Teunis ever caught, but it was enough to land him in the state record books.

“As soon as I shot, we knew it was by the sheer size,” Teunis told WZZM13, although he added that he did not believe it at first. “When I got in the boat my buddy said it’s a new state record. I thought it was a load of bull crap. He said ‘no way, it’s a lot bigger than mine is.'”

Teunis was competing alongside Luke Walker and Bill Kimball in a tournament hosted by the Bowfishing Association of Michigan. The young bowfisherman made his historic shot just before midnight in Bear Lake and said that the fish was so heavy, it took several minutes for the team to bring it aboard their boat.

“It was really, really hard to see since it was so windy,” Teunis told “The waves deflect the light and it makes the fish hard to see, but we were in about five foot of water and all of sudden, bam, he was right there. I let my arrow fly and stuck him just behind the head; he took off, but my buddy shot and struck him in the tail.”

The previous Michigan state record belonged to a 37.06-pound fish brought in by Bryan Degoede two years ago. Despite being shorter than the previous record, Teunis’ catch surpassed that specimen by a comfortable 4.19 pounds. The black buffalo propelled Teunis and his team to first place in the tournament. The fish was confirmed afterwards by a biologist from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Black buffalo can be found across North America in both small and large rivers, where they face competition from invasive bighead carp. The fish can grow quite large and in some cases well above 50 pounds. The International Game Fish Association lists the world record as a 63-pound, six-ounce black buffalo caught from the Mississippi River by Jim Winters in 1999.

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