Junior Canadian Rangers from four communities squared off in the Kivalliq regional marksmanship selection competition in Rankin Inlet on April 8 for a chance to represent Nunavut at a national competition this coming month.
Junior Rangers from Arviat, Whale Cove, Chesterfield Inlet and Sanikiluaaq took part in the regional competition, with the Arviat team of Liam Arloo, Jaime Copland, Pauline Sewoee, Shania Kritaqlilu and Paulie Issumatarjuak Jr. taking top spot.
Issumatarjuak Jr. also took the Top Marksman Award.
The Arviat Junior Rangers were coached by Julianna Aningat.
The Rankin Inlet 3019 cadet corps also participated in the competition in an unofficial capacity.
Cpt. Waheed Johnson of the First Canadian Rangers Patrol Group in Yellowknife said the highest scoring team from competitions in Yellowknife, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit will represent Nunavut at the national competition in St. Catherine’s, Ont., on May 5 and 6.
He said the final results will be tabulated and the winning team announced this week, following the third regional competition in Iqaluit on April 14 to 15.
“This is a great opportunity for the Junior Rangers to develop safe-firearm-handling abilities and practices, and it’s also a good way to teach self-discipline to the Junior Rangers,” said Johnson. “At a competition such as this, they’re learning to control their excitement, remain steady, and make sure the target acquisition and sight picture are perfect before actually squeezing that shot. The competition is also an opportunity for them to meet Junior Canadian Rangers from other patrols in the area who they normally don’t get to see during the year.”
Johnson said marksmanship covers all three of the circles of learning for the Junior Rangers, and also ties into traditional and life skills the youth can apply to hunting, harvesting and being able to provide for their families.
One of those skills includes how to properly carve-up and harvest the meat from a harvested caribou or other animal, he said.
“We were very happy with the number of Junior Rangers who attended the Yellowknife and Rankin competitions,” said Johnson. “There were only a couple of patrols that couldn’t make it due to bad weather in their communities. Overall the competitions were very well received this year, and that always makes me very happy to see.”
Since starting this type of shooting competition a few years back, Johnson said he’s noticed a lot of the patrols have put in an extra effort to have regular training nights for the Junior Rangers to perfect their marksmanship techniques.
As a result, the Junior Canadian Rangers are getting a greater opportunity to actually participate in their local patrols then they had before, he said.
“It’s a matter of pride for them to represent their community, territory and the First Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at the national level,” he said. “Our patrol group actually claimed the title once many years ago, but right now we’re more focused on having one team from a community go as opposed to the top 15, or so, individuals from across the territories. The best shots are not necessarily going the whole time, but we want to try to encourage that pride and so forth for the community and the Junior Rangers.”
Canadian Ranger Nellie Scharer helped organize and run the Rankin competition.
She said she was very impressed with what she saw from the Junior Rangers, especially when they had to shoot the entire competition on one day (April 8).
“The competition was excellent and the Junior Rangers never once asked to stop and take a break during the one-day competition,” said Scharer. “They went right through the whole day shooting and I thought that was just awesome. Their behaviour was excellent all weekend and I found them all to be pretty good kids.”
Scharer said the Arviat shooters were very excited to find out that they had won.
She said she wished the cadets were also officially allowed to take part in the competition and represent Nunavut if they won.
“Our cadets are very good shooters and I’d love to see them be able to officially compete with the Junior Rangers,” she said.