My name is Lucas Mayer. I’m 11 years old and my voice helped save the New Hampshire bobcats. I NEVER thought using my voice could inspire hundreds of NH citizens to do the same and come together to help save the NH wildcat, the bobcat! That’s exactly what happened! A wonderful lady, Lindsey Hamerick who is the Humane Society’s NH director, contacted my mom and I was asked to go to the NH State House in February 2016 to speak in front of 300 people, including government officials and the Fish and Game Commission to voice my concerns as to why hunting, trapping and hounding of bobcats is wrong. WOW right?!
The NH Fish and Game Commission proposed to open a hunting, trapping, and hounding season on the NH bobcat. After doing some research, it didn’t take me long to realize how awful that proposal was. I understand sometimes there is need to hunt animals to regulate the population, but bobcats? They are not overpopulating NH, they do not harm people, and there have been only around 1,400 bobcats in the state of NH since 1982 when hunting them was made illegal!
After a lot of practicing reading my speech at home and almost backing out (due to my nerves telling me to), I went to the State House with my mom. I had to wait about 2 hours until they called my name. The anticipation was driving me nuts waiting to be called. I felt unsure if people would listen to what I had to say and if they would take me seriously since I’m a kid. I went up to the microphone (I think my knees were knocking so loud woodpeckers outside could hear it) and I read my speech. I spoke from my heart and spoke up for the bobcats. I didn’t know it then, but there was over 300 people there listening to me. After I was done reading my testimony, I got a standing ovation from a bunch of people that I didn’t know! My voice WAS heard and I could only hope it was enough to save the bobcats. How did that make me feel? PROUD! I was proud of myself for NOT backing out.
My town news, The Derry News, called me and interviewed me on the phone about this experience and even put my interview on the FRONT PAGE of the newspaper! About a week later, it was determined that the Fish and Game Commission voted FOR the hunting season even after thousands of NH residents opposed voiced their opposition on the hunting season. I thought I had failed the bobcats! What I learned was to NEVER give up hope! Thanks to lots of people who were NOT giving up, the proposal went to the NH State Legislature which after some discussion, determined the proposed hunting season would put the Endangered Canadian Lynx in jeopardy of being trapped and killed! After that, the NH Fish and Game decided they couldn’t promise the Canadian Lynx wouldn’t get killed, so they DROPPED the proposal which meant the NH bobcats will NOT be hunted this coming winter season!! WE DID IT!
The moral of the story here is don’t be afraid to try to do something. If you feel in your heart that something is WRONG then try to do something to help make it right. Animals can’t speak for themselves, they can’t go to the State House and ask to not be hunted, and animals can’t explain to humans how they want to live and be happy! We have to use our voices and speak up for them. This experience, through the good and bad, really showed me that working TOGETHER is the key to make a difference. You might feel like you’re just a kid, or you’re just 1 person, but you know what? That’s ALL it takes! It only takes 1 person to make a difference! We have the power to help others with our voices, our ideas and our hearts. I did it and you can too!!
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Photo Credit: Kelly M.
Written by: ISF Youth Volunteer Lucas
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