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Redneck Rampage

August 2nd, 2009

Look, I’ve spent my whole life bouncing from city to country and back to the city. And though I could write a book about the good traits that I do not possess, adaptability would never be one of the chapters. Being able to quickly adjust to my surroundings has always been my strong suit.

So when I moved as a kid from Denver, Colorado, where I went to school and hung out with the Coors kids (hey Brad, hey Holly!) to the small Southern Utah town of Richfield, I quickly began to embrace the local culture.

That meant horses, cows, guns, fishing and dirt bikes, to name a few of the things that I grew to love right away.

These days I’m fortunate to live a bit of a hybrid city/country existence, which allows me to  completely indulge my redneck proclivities once or twice a year. This year was special because I got to pass along a lot of my hard-won redneck knowledge to my sons and to my nieces and nephews who were in town for the Fourth of July.

Half the crew.

Half the crew.

It all started innocently enough with a fly fishing trip, which quickly spiraled into a carp hunt with bows and arrows, rocks and clubs. Now let me preface this with a bona fide scientific fact: Carp are  non-native fish that have been degrading waterways all over America, driving native fish to the brink of extinction.

So as a kid, we felt good about diminishing their numbers using nothing but our recurve bows and old cast-off hunting arrows that were missing a fletching or two. My brothers and I developed considerable skill in shooting the overgrown goldfish, even from some distance.

When we spotted a school of especially large carp in the stream flowing out of Fish Lake that used to be teeming with trout, all those old feelings came back. A quick trip to the attic of my dad’s old farm house produced the same bows and arrows we used decades earlier.

Picture in your mind 16 kids and adults stalking along the marshy banks of a stream. When the first carp was spotted, arrows, rocks and makeshift spears were flying everywhere.

Except into the carp itself.

None of my brothers felt the need to use the bows ourselves, wanting our boys and girls to have a go first.

For one hour we chased the school up and down a 300-yard section of that stream with no luck, until finally my oldest son, Spencer, got an arrow into one. It was a glancing blow and the arrow came out fairly quickly, but slowed it just enough for the rest of clan to pile it on.

Be warned, these pics are not for the PETA crowd.

Ten pounds of toughness finally succumbed to 13 wild kids that threw everything they had at it.

Ten pounds of toughness finally succumbed to 13 wild kids that threw everything they had at it.

As is often the case, the object of their obsession suddenly drew pity once they had it on the bank and saw the pain they had inflicted up close and personal.

The biggest goldfish these kids have ever seen.

The biggest goldfish these kids have ever seen.

The kids shook off the melancholy just as soon as another monster was spotted. Using their swarming technique they stirred the second fish into a confused fury, allowing my younger brother, Scott, to make a fine long-range shot. And again everyone felt sad when the prey was lifted onto the bank.

Later that same night, the local news covered a story about the massive effort underway to remove 10 million pounds of carp from Utah Lake in an effort to restore the water quality. We all got over the 20 pounds of carp we took that day pretty quickly.

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  • jonah brown

    that was such a fun trip and those fish were huge!

  • http://suncrestdug.wordpress.com dug

    carp make nice pets. you should start an “adopt a carp” program. i’d sign up.

  • River Rat 100

    Nothing like killing innocent Animals!! You Barbarian!! I can’t believe you let your kids MURDER like that

    Sincerely,
    Some random PETA NUT JOB

  • Scott

    That was the luckiest shot of my life! I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a bow & arrow, but for some reason my arrow found it’s way to that trash fish. It had to go! This is my contribution to the green movement. I hearby commit to going green every summer by spearing trash fish along the banks of Lake Creek. Can’t wait until next summer.

  • ricky

    Carp! Whoever came up with carp was spot on. Ugly name for an ugly fish. Thanks for the report. Happy to know this ancient tradition will live on.

  • http://www.aaronollivier.com UTteleskier

    Ship that Crap errr I mean Carp off to California, don’t they love to save the animals? Actually Carp isn’t really an animal, it is more like a fungus!