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Scouts learn survival skills at Klondike Derby

SYCAMORE – Boy Scout Troop Leader Tom Barone spent Friday night sleeping under the stars with deerskin, blankets and a makeshift tent.

Why do this in below-zero temperatures?

“It shows the boys you can do it,” said Barone, who leads Troop 26 of Kirkland.

Survival and leadership skills were on display Saturday at the 2013 Kishwaukee District Klondike Derby. About 13 Boy Scout and 10 Cub Scout local troops participated at the Sycamore Sportsman’s Club.

There were about 290 people there, including adults, Barone said.

The Scouts, ages 7 to 18, pushed a sled from each activity as a team. Activities ranged from identifying animal prints to tossing tomahawks. The older Boy Scouts also participated in rifle shooting.

The guns, .22-caliber rifles manufactured by Savage Stevens, fire one shot at a time at a still target, said Duane Rubendall, Sportsman’s Club range officer. Eight Boy Scouts at a time fired at the target, which was 50 feet away. There were 10 NRA-certified range officers assisting the boys.

Before the Scouts entered the indoor shooting range, they listened to Rubendall’s safety instructions for about 15 minutes. When Rubendall asked members of one troop how many of them had shot a gun, nearly every boy’s hand went up.

Boy Scout Cole Flatter, of Troop 40 in Sycamore, was 6 the first time he shot. He said his uncle let him shoot a .45-caliber pistol in November.

“It’s just fun,” he said. “It’s enjoyable.”

Larry Bethers, a Boy Scout field director, said some Boy Scouts go on to national championships for shooting.

“We’re teaching them how to respect rifles,” Bethers said.

The boys also got to start a fire with matches.

Each troop was timed and allowed a maximum of 15 minutes to have the fire reach a couple of feet high.

Troop 26 of Kirkland posted a time of 4:56. Coy Thompson and Alex Stevens said it’s easy to start a fire. In fact, fire building is Alex’s favorite activity.

“I know exactly how to start a fire,” he said.

Cub Scout Troop 118 of Sycamore went fishing for “snappers,” which were actually mouse traps. Troops had to catch as many “fish” as they could in a span of a few minutes. They used bamboo sticks as fishing rods.

Cub Scout Luke Hamson, of Troop 118, caught three “fish” while his team caught 10.

“That’s not enough to feed me,” Luke said.

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