Capitalizing on the North Woods Law TV show, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is offering a summer camp in July for boys and girls between the ages of eight and twelve, to be held at the Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center.
According to the brochure for this program, “Camp instructors will include: Maine Game Wardens, State Biologists, Recreational Safety Coordinators, Information & Education Staff, Learning Center Staff and Maine Outdoor Professionals.”
Will that include animal rehabilitators and veterinarians, as well as representatives from animal shelters and humane societies who might offer a broader perspective about animals than just hunting them? Children should know that animals and humans feel many of the same emotions, and that animals want to live as much as we do and have just as much right.
The program will also offer “Hands-on instruction and training in the following activities: ATV, Boating, Paddle Sports, Turkey & Deer Hunting, Outdoor Survival, Map & Compass, Life of a Maine Game Warden, Archery, Shotgun, Rifle, Spin Fishing, Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Trapping & more”
Will these kids learn that trapping involves the cruelty of drowning trapped beavers or killing an animal while it struggles to free itself? Will they observe animals in their habitat without sending an arrow or bullet their way? Will they enjoy, for instance, the simple pleasure of feeding wild turkeys without taking a shot at them?
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife states it’s dedicated to providing opportunities to youth in the outdoors, Opportunities to do what, one might ask? It seems this camp intends to indoctrinate impressionable young kids with inhumane attitudes toward animals, mixed in with firearms and woodland skills. Like a number of recent efforts in our legislature, it’s another attempt to increase the dwindling ranks of hunters by targeting children.
“Teach your children well,” wrote Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Teach them to value education and get as much as they can because ignorance is too expensive. Teach them compassion and kindness, not only to their own species but to animals as well. There’s already too much killing and violence in the world: headlines scream it almost every day. Kids of today are the citizens of tomorrow, and they are shaped by the values we teach them- and by the ones we don’t.