Thursday, 22 March 2018

Weapons training

One major difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic is that of Polar Bears - the ultimate top predator. All researchers here are trained in the polar bear hazard and one or two people in the party are given extra training in weapons, a flare pistol to try and scare the bear away and if the worst should come to the worst, a rifle to shoot the bear. Here am I getting rifle familiarisation.
At the rifle range you get plenty of opportunity to practice. It't about 30m to the target, a distance a bear can cover in less than 3s. I am the one on the right, both Geoff and I managed to hit the target on all our shots - that's the black dot.
Most of the training is about safety, unless you are very methodical and careful then the guns could be a worse hazard than the bears! However, I passed and am now certificated.
Here's my skidoo in front of the NERC building here ay Ny-Alesund. Flare pistol on the front:
And rifle holder on the rear:
Generally, this exposure to guns and carrying round a rifle each day has just reinforced my view of guns, they are very violent, dangerous things which should not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Much as I would love to see a polar bear I very much hope that I don't have to even try and frighten one away let alone shoot it.

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