New Shooting Sport: Flying Carp Hunting With Shotguns

    Image credit: Indiana DNR

    Americans seem to make sport of almost anything, and today’s example is no exception.  Several sportsmen made lemonade out of lemons when it came to the invasive species of fish dubbed Flying Carp that’s been plaguing southern boaters since the 1970s, and have reached as far north as Minnesota.  Silver Carp, or Asian Carp, are termed Flying Carp because they literally fly out of the water when startled by a boat motor. The carp in question have caused injuries to boaters and have raised concerns over the aquatic ecosystems they’ve invaded.  People have taken to catching them with nets in the air, hitting them with baseball bats, and shooting them with bow and arrows… and most recently, shooting them with shotguns.

    Flying Carp Hunting

    The current range of Asian Carp invasion dated 8/2020. Image credit: USGS

    For anyone hearing about this phenomenon for the first time, the Navy documented one of its own having a run-in with a Flying Carp during a river exercise as seen on Ramona Good’s YouTube channel below.

    The Clarion-Ledger reported that two Mississippi residents have been having loads of fun blasting the Flying Carp as they come out of the water.  On one outing, they went through more than 500 rounds.  They clarified that they were only shooting on a privately owned lakes and that it’s not legal to conduct their newfound sport on the Mississippi River. The following excerpt is from the Clarion Ledger’s article:

    They operate the boat at a low speed; around 8 miles per hour. That makes shooting easier and in the event a fish hits someone in the boat, it prevents the collision from hurting too bad. However, fish flying into the boat can still cause issues.

    One of the men explained that they stick to 20 gauge shotguns for the reduced recoil and due to the high volume of shooting. They did say that if anyone else wants to try shooting Flying Carp, they should be proficient with firearms first, as you don’t want to put a hole in your boat or motor.  One other safety aspect not mentioned in the article is that carp hunters need to have a clear discussion about where they’re going to point the muzzle of their shotgun, then keep them there so as not to shoot other boat mates.  Another safety concern is to make sure the lake is large enough that the shot will drop before reaching land where people unseen could be, even though the lake is private.  The article didn’t say which type of shot the two Flying Carp hunters were using, but based on the volume of ammo they went through, one could presume that they weren’t using steel shot, which is considered much more environmentally friendly than lead shot.

    The good news about this species of carp is that it’s very edible, and they can grow very large.  However you happen across your future carp, feel free to check out LSU AgCenter’s video on how to cook them.  You can read the full story and more quotes from the Flying Carp hunters HERE.

    Flying Carp Hunting

    Image credit: Iowa DNR

    What do you think about hunting flying carp with a shotgun?  Assuming you could do it safely, would you try it?  If so, what shotgun would you use?

    Doug E

    Doug has been a firearms enthusiast since age 16 after getting to shoot with a friend. Since then he’s taken many others out to the range for their first time. He is a husband, father, grandfather, police officer, outdoorsman, artist and a student of history. Doug has been a TFB reader from the start and is happy to be a contributor of content. Doug can be reached at battleshipgrey61 AT, or battleshipgrey61 on Instagram.