Fieldcraft includes the many supporting skills a sniper must develop, things such as wind estimation, camouflage, and observation. The value of outdoor sports and hunting experience cannot be understated, because how else can a young man learn such skills?
I attach more significance to those who hunt elusive game. Squirrel, turkey, or deer hunters can develop into superb snipers. Bowhunters know much about woodlore and camouflage.
But it's more than these definable skills. It's an attitude, a deeper level of confidence and compatibility with nature I call "close to the earth." A rural youth, especially one raised in places like Alaska, Montana, Maine, Minnesota, or Idaho—or one who was just plain allowed to roam the woods— develops his own concept about the relationship between himself and nature, the woods, weapons— about life itself.
Some outdoor sports help develop a similar appreciation, including trapping, hiking, backpacking, camping, and canoeing. These sportsmen leam to read the weather, see tracks in a natural setting, understand field maps, observe live game, move to avoid being seen—many applicable skills.
But before it seems that city slickers have no place in sniping, don't forget that all our ancestors once hunted day-in and day-out for sheer survival, that all these skills lie latent within us, that the least experienced city boy can learn to master the woods if he immerses and applies himself. These are forgotten, not lost, arts.
The ultimate Special Forces SOG (Studies and Observation Group) compliment was, "He's good in the woods," meaning the man had mastered the whole gamut of ancient warrior and woodsman skills demanded of jungle warfare. And the majori
Sniper Unit Organization and Equipment ty of SOG's jungle warriors, like yours truly, had been brought up in cities.
But within us was a natural talent, an instinct for hunting other men, just like some of our peers took readily to riding a surfboard or throwing a football. It's fascinating to watch a young soldier develop such martial skills and find, often to his own surprise, that buried within his mind and body have always been the makings of a warrior. He was always close to the earth but didn't know it.
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Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.