The com­pe­ti­ti­o­nii

SA Jagter Hunter - - NEWS - By KO­BUS DE KOCK

Dis­tracti­ons on the shoot­ing ran­ge co­me in ma­ny dif­fe­rent ways...

“W­hat’s t­his we he­ar a­bout you and Ja­pie lo­sing the club champs last week?”

S­tof­fel look­ed dee­per in­to the fi­re, o­ver­ly in­tent on stu­dying an e­ar­wig that had cra­w­led out of a rot­ten log and was now scur­rying a­way from the fla­mes. “In­te­res­ting litt­le a­ni­mals the­se,” he said, “do you know why t­hey are cal­led e­ar­wigs?”

“B­loody dan­ge­rous t­hings,” said Flo­ris Nie­na­ber. “T­hey cra­wl in­to your ear at nig­ht, eat through your e­ar­drums and lay t­heir eggs in your brain! Just look at it run­ning with tho­se pin­cers in the air!”

“That’s not true,” S­tof­fel ex­plai­ned, “t­hey are qui­te harm­less. T­hey are cal­led e­ar­wigs be­cau­se t­heir se­cond pair of wings, w­hen un­fol­ded, so­mew­hat re­sem­ble the shape of a hu­man ear. Very thin tho­se wings; t­hey be­long to a small or­der cal­led der­map­te­ra, me­a­ning s­kin-win­ged. It’s al­so very in­te­res­ting the way t­hey fold tho­se wings. First t­hey fold it li­ke a fan and then twi­ce back upon them­sel­ves. That way t­hey occu­py very litt­le s­pa­ce un­der the small squa­re fo­re wings. No ot­her in­sect spe­cies folds its wing in such a com­pli­ca­ted way.”

“Then why are t­hey cal­led oor­krui­pers in A­fri­kaans?” Flo­ris was a­da­mant a­bout the dan­gers of the in­sect that S­tof­fel was now hel­ping a­way from the fi­re with a pie­ce of dry grass.

“T­hey lo­ve small, tig­ht o­pe­nings, splits and cre­vi­ces in bark, so per­haps one day ma­ny y­e­ars ago by ac­ci­dent one cra­w­led in- to the ear of a trans­port dri­ver sleep­ing in the veld,” S­tof­fel tried to ex­plain, “but tho­se pin­cers are on­ly u­sed for hol­ding t­heir prey and du­ring courts­hip.”

“Courts­hip! Now the­re’s a thing, stran­ge w­hat it does to a man’s con­cen­tra­ti­on, doe­sn’t it S­tof­fel?”

The fla­mes had died a­way and the co­als we­re re­a­dy for the me­at. The dogs cra­w­led clo­ser to t­heir mas­ters’ feet, the cold pus­hing them in li­ke a bushveld log being sho­ved e­ver dee­per in­to the cen­t­re of the fi­re. The men »

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