Patrolling the North
By Sergeant G.A.R. Davidson
Packed with every piece of winter kit they had, five soldiers from the Regiment made the trek to Yellowknife to patrol with the Canadian Rangers: Sergeant Barker (HQ Sqn) in Dawson Creek, YT; Master Corporal Christie (Recce Sqn) in Pangnirtungk NU; Sergeant McGean (HQ Sqn) in Cape Dorset, NU; and Sergeant Davidson (A Sqn) in Haines Junction, YT. Each person put on red shirts and made their way to various parts of the Canadian North.
Each of the soldiers above had their own experience of trapping, fishing and hunting with the Canadian Rangers and seeing how the ‘Militia of the North’ conducted their training. Alongside the Ranger Instructors, each of the soldiers also had the pleasure of participating with the Rangers in their annual exercise helping with field preparation, as well as training and contributing to the Junior Ranger program. Many of the Rangers spent a lot of time in isolated conditions, developing a natural instinct for survival in extreme cold weather conditions. There are many Rangers above the age of 40 that are as physically fit than many young soldiers who possess extensive knowledge of snares and trapping. They also have many stories of hunting in weather conditions that most people wouldn’t even want to think about!
After an evening of listening to all the experienced Rangers talk, it was obvious that there is a real science to being a good trapper. Although some of the Regiment’s participants did not get a chance to go hunting due to lack of snow in the Yukon, there was plenty of training to be done with night patrols - shooting at the range with the venerable Lee Enfield .303, orders and back-briefs to attend, and various excursions to the mountains which put our snowmobiles to the test. Each augmentee walked away with a great deal of respect for the Rangers, many lessons learned, and smiles on their faces.