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Tracking and rifle handling all in a weeks work

BY: Craig Newton, Bushwise student 2020

Well not only have we come racing to the end of yet another interesting, jam-packed week, but also to the end of term two. It’s been an amazing term, the first week dealing with the rifle handling and competency test. Then straight into Track and Sign week, where some of us managed to work out what and where certain animals had passed by, what had taken place and where it was off to, others of us, were still left a little in the dark as to what the marks left in the substrate were and intend to improve our reading of sign in the future. Week three got us back into the rhythm of getting our practical drive skills and knowledge up to date, which now brings me to this forth week where I, acting as Camp Manager took over the reins

Week four started off with our usual Bushwise tests, this time consisting of mammals and ethology. I believe, from all the chatter after the tests that everyone had put in the needed time and can tick these off with a pass. The new lectures, Monday afternoon, ecology and Tuesday morning, arthropods, were absorbed with great interest and amazement as to how these little critters work. Tuesday afternoon had us all one after the other delivering our oral presentations. These were very interesting as entertaining, leaving both students and trainers thinking about this ever-changing amazing world of nature surrounding us.

Mahlahla campus classroom

Wednesday had us doing some reserve work, where we visited a site that needed to be cleared of long discarded bits of wire, fencing and the normal “left-behind” telltale signs of human existence. The afternoon was spent in a far more vibrant and upbeat mode as we collected our things together, packed the vehicles and headed out into the reserve for a sleep-out. This being our second time we found our campsite with all its designated areas, kitchen, fireplace, firewood and sleeping area set up in no time. A wonderful time was had by all and went off without any incidents.

Thursday morning we returned to campus, cleaned ourselves up a bit, brunched and headed off into the reserve again, this time to clear back vegetation encroaching onto the roads. This was very successful and rewarding knowing how much it is going to impact on our future drives and the lack of scratches.

We got an early start, 5.45 am on Friday to do our practical observation test, which consisted of animal tracks as well as all the surrounding vegetation. Besides a few obvious silly mistakes we all did pretty well and were happy with our performances. We received our termly feedback from our peers in the afternoon and then we were off, to spend our week off from campus norm to do as we felt necessary, be it a break from the continuous pressure of get all the information in for Mondays tests, going home for the missed comforts, or staying on campus to concentrate on getting our module workbooks up to date.

Mahlahla campus bungalow

All in all, though, another wonderfully informative term has flown by with so much to reflect on, take your time in getting here term three, there is no need to rush.

Blog by Craig Newton


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