April 27, 2007

on another personal note

I will be back to more or less regular blogging soon. I passed my shooting test on Friday (not brilliantly, but hey, who asks for the results! I passed!) There were 16 of us and it started at the indoor shooting range, first with full-bore rifle shooting at the 100-meter range. We got five bullets and the minimum requirement was three hits in the rings. (This is only a very approximate likeness of the target.) For those interested, we had the choice between two Blaser R93 repeaters, one with 222Rem, the other with .30-06 calibre, both with a red dot rifle scope. I chose the 222Rem because of the recoil, respectively the relative lack of it, as did all the women participating.

The second discipline was the running hare at about 30 meters. This is the best picture of such a range I could find online. The hare silhouette is made from steel and topples over when hit. (The effing thing is travelling pretty fast!) We had the choice between several guns, I chose a Brno (Czech) "over and under" gun. All the guns were not choked and we used regular hunting shot. Again we had to hit a minimum of three out of five shots.

The third discipline was the "running boar". Again this is the best picture of such a target I could find online. Here, two hits out of five bullets were the minimum for passing the test. The "boar" isn't travelling as fast as the tin hare, but the shooting has to be much more precise. Again for those interested: The 222Rem calibre wouldn't be sufficient for real boar hunting. One would have to go for a bigger calibre.

In the afternoon, there was the trap shooting at a different range. I had the same Brünner gun. We had to hit a minimum of 4 clays to pass the test, two shots for each clay. After I had hit 5, the examiners mercyfully pulled me out because I could hardly stand on my feet anymore. I was neither the oldest, nor the only woman doing the test, but at an age where other women are taking their grandchildren for a walk, it was pretty tough. The best of the guys hit 14 out of the 15.

Next week I will have to pass the written and oral examination and then I'll hopefully be the proud holder of a German shooting (what you Americans call hunting) license.

Why did I do it? Because now I can work under rules with my terriers and, should everything go right, build up a little pack for boar hunting and thus let them have the life they need. Boars have become sort of a pest here, so we will be even quite welcome. And maybe, just maybe, I will get a Weimaraner puppy later (the smooth coated variety whose specimens are killed in America when they -- the gene for the smooth coat is passed on recessively -- turn up in a short coated litter) and Weims, at least Weims from respectable breeders, are only sold to people with a hunting/shooting license here. And, again maybe, he will be as wonderful as my Bracko was, a castoff from a hunter who had no room in his life for the old dog anymore and thus gave me one of the best things I ever had.

But hey, I am rambling. I guess it's some post-stress thing.