Extreme Aerial Bowfishing: Jumping Carp Breaks Woman's Jaw in Illinois | Field & Stream

Extreme Aerial Bowfishing: Jumping Carp Breaks Woman's Jaw in Illinois

There's a problem in the reservoirs of the Illinois River. The population of Asian carp, an invasive species, has exploded, and due in part to their habit of jumping from the water when boats approach, these fish have become a real nuisance. Enter Chris Brackett of Brackett Outdoors, based in Mapleton, Illinois. Brackett has perfected a method of shooting leaping fish with a bow from a boat moving at high speed. Brackett and his team coined the term "extreme aerial bowfishing," and the sport is catching on.

But it's not always all fun and games. The size and number of carp that can take to the air is astounding, and many end up in the boat or collide with shooters onboard. A few laughs and a few bruises seem to be the routine when carp flop in, but sometimes a jumping fish can cause real damage. During a recent DVD shoot, photographer Bill Konway happened to capture the following stills of Brackett's fiance, Jodi Barnes, getting hit in the face with a flying carp. Here's the story of what happened.

In this shot, cameraman Shane Indrebo films in the foreground as Chris Brackett drives the boat and Nicole Jones and Pat Reeves sit in the shooters seats.

Bill Konway

Jones celebrates her first fish of the trip as Chris Brackett and Pat Reeves get ahold of the carp.

Bill Konway

Brackett drives the boat as Nicole Jones(left) and Jodi Barnes take the shooter seats. Pat Reeves films.

Bill Konway

Fish begin to jump as the boat passes over a school of the Asian carp.

Bill Konway

Despite the often countless numbers of fish in the air around the boat, sometimes patience is the key. Here, Nicole Jones waits for her next opportunity.

Bill Konway

And then it happened...

Bill Konway

Jodi Barnes had just taken a shot at one fish when another jumps off her right shoulder and hits her square in the face.

Bill Konway

The fish struck Jodi's bow and tumbled across her face.

Bill Konway

She instinctively reaches for her face as the fish flops back to the river.

Bill Konway

After being nearly knocked out of her seat, Jodi gives a quick shout and tries to get the attention of the others in the boat.

Bill Konway

Jodi mumbles that she's been hurt as Nicole Jones turns towards her. This all happens within a few seconds.

Bill Konway

Chris Brackett attends to his fiance and assesses the damage. Barnes is rushed off the water to the doctor, where she learns her jaw is broken. It will need to be wired shut for six weeks. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew returns to the water.

Bill Konway

Darren Martin and Jen Nolte with Driven TV watch as Jeremy Nesselrodt pulls a fish out of the water that Jen shot.

Bill Konway

Nicole Jones takes aim and prepares to release an arrow at one of the smaller carp in the area.

Bill Konway

Jen Nolte takes aim at a carp as it jumps just behind her boat.

Bill Konway

The fish come at you from every direction on the Illinois River. Note the small fish that is actually passing through Jen Nolte's bow as she's at full draw.

Bill Konway

Darren Martin is a bit behind in reacting to a larger fish leaping behind him.

Bill Konway

Chad Nolte doesn't spot the large carp next to him until it's too late. Finding the fish in the air, watching for ones that are going to hit you and trying to get on one before it heads back into the water make it a busy but fun sport.

Bill Konway

Nicole Jones celebrates one of the carp she shot out of the air as cameraman Shane Indrebo films on the back of the boat.

Bill Konway

Chris Brackett gives Nicole Jones a hand getting a grip on a fish she shot.

Bill Konway

Jones holds up her trophy as Brackett looks on.

Bill Konway

Jones with one of her fish. A perfect shot right behind the shoulder, err, gill.

Bill Konway

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