This week started off with a bang, quite literally! The Bushwise students have been split into two groups for Tracks and Signs with Colin Patrick and rifle competency. Having already completed our week of tracks and signs, it was our turn to learn all there is about rifle handling in the guiding environment.
We spent our Monday in Tzaneen to write our rifle competency tests, so the only rifling going on was through papers. We spent plenty of time waiting outside the venue waiting anxiously to see if we passed as this decided whether we would continue to get the chance to fire a rifle.
Luckily we all passed. Tuesday brought on our accuracy test, firing ten rounds onto an A5 sized page, three times over. This involved more waiting on the pavement next to our minibus for our turn. With our group being mostly comprised of girls there wasn’t as much testosterone flowing as the previous group, being the complete opposite. However, this didn’t stop any competition between the students as to who could be the best shot. Everybody did well to get all their rounds on the pages.
Wednesday brought with it lots of drills on campus with regards to being able to reload a .375 rifle blindfolded, for example, so that one can be able to reload one’s firearm in the dark. The immediate action drill, being able to deal with a misfire. These tasks all have a slight twist to them, in that they must be done in under prescribed times, mostly in a matter of seconds. This brought more opportunities for competition between students. Thursday was comprised of these same drills but were now committed to muscle memory and everyone’s rifle handling was already greatly better.
Friday was a highlight in that it gave us a chance to learn a new drill, the charging lion drill which involved lots of shouting and adrenalin. Campus rang out with shouts of: “Lion, stand still!” as everyone practised their shouting voices. All these drills were completed with dummy rounds to be as safe as possible, although the safety aspect is very much reinforced with everything we do. As the saying goes ‘guns don’t kill, people do’. Although we are all very excited to get the chance sometime in the coming weeks to fire live rounds regardless of how bruised our shoulders might possibly be afterwards.
We spent Arbor Day planting seven trees to have our part in kicking spring off on the right note. As we see the flora coming into bloom, most prevalent of which is the knob thorns, looking across the landscape it is dotted with yellow-white blotches marking all their location.
Blog by Devlin Loader