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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

River Rat Explained

After realizing from a comment on another blog, the name River Rat Ranger could be confusing, the RRR explains.

In the U.S. of A., especially the midwest and south, a river rat is a person who lives on the banks of or close to a river or stream and spends much of his time on it. River rats are often unemployed or seasonally employed and derive a portion of their living from small scale commercial fishing and fur trapping. They are usually poor and the fish they catch and animals they hunt help feed their families. Frequently they are the most skilled outdoorsmen in the area. Their knowledge of animals and animal behavior usually far exceeds that of wildlife biologists. For example, river rats knew long before the "experts" that mountain lions had re-established populations in Iowa. They were the ones who figured years ago that bobcats remained in the state but have learned to hop over trails and not leave tracks. They were the first to observe the migration of otters, etc.

Rangers got their name in Europe, mostly the British Isles from the volunteers who "ranged" about isolated rural properties protecting their families, crops, and wildlife from wandering brigands. In the U.S. when the west was opened, because the mountain men, cowboys, and native Americans wandered about the wilderness, it became known as "the range". Thus cowboy songs like "Home On The Range". In the early days in Texas when Apaches from Mexico and Commanches from the north and Mexican hoodlums called "Comoncharos" raided the settlers, they hired professionals to range about the country and protect honest folk. That was the beginning of the Texas Rangers. During the French and Indian War before our Revolution, woodsmen formed a band of warriors known as Roger's Rangers. In his movie The Patriot, Mel Gibson plays the part of one of those who went on to fight in the American Revolution.

I chose the web name The River Rat Ranger out of admiration and identification with those groups. I too, live close to the river and love to tramp up and down its banks. I have a battered old aluminum boat. Each year Youngest Son and I put our camping gear in it and choose a river in Iowa and using only oars float down it for several weeks. It is always a time of physical and spiritual renewal. I suppose this will spawn more blogs. (Sigh)


Blogger visithra said...

That explains. I was familiar with ranger n I knew river rats were ppl who loved or lived near the river. Definitely they know more. Thanks for explaining ;)

1:15 AM  

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