By Lucas Mayer, age 11, Derry, New Hampshire
My name is Lucas Mayer, an 11-year-old from Derry, New Hampshire. I helped save the New Hampshire State Wildcat, the Bobcat. I helped inspire hundreds of New Hampshire citizens to come together and use their voices to help save the New Hampshire State Wildcat, the Bobcat!
This is my story.
Last fall my mom and I got involved with the Humane Society of New Hampshire where we met Lindsey Hamerick. Lindsey happens to be the New Hampshire (NH) Director for the Humane Society and an incredible animal activist! My mom and I had volunteered with the Humane Society at a Dog Walk/Race event last year where we set up a table and handed out informational flyers to people and talked to them about what projects the Humane Society is currently working on. In October 2015, Lindsey contacted my mom to see if we’d like to help fight a proposed Bobcat Hunting, Trapping and Hounding bill that the NH Fish and Game Department was proposing.
Here are some facts about Bobcats and why they are hunted:
- There are only around 1,400 Bobcats in the state of NH since 1982 (when hunting them was made illegal due to the population almost going extinct!)
- Bobcats are not hunted for their meat, but rather for their pelts that are usually sold overseas or as “trophies” on someone’s wall.
- Bobcats help regulate the small animal population, such as mice, moles and squirrels.
- Bobcats are very small only weighing between 11-30 lbs. and about 41 inches long.
Here are some facts about the proposed Bobcat hunting season:
- Hunters would be allowed to use barbaric steel leg hold traps. These traps can snap an animal’s leg in half. Any animal (not just bobcats) can walk into these traps and be harmed or killed. People have accidently walked into these traps in the past causing severe damage
- Hunters would be allowed to use dogs to chase the bobcats, usually up trees, until the hunters get there and shoot the bobcat out of the tree.
After a lot of practicing reading my speech at home, I went to the State House with my mom. I had to wait about 2 hours before they called my name. I felt unsure if people would listen to what I had to say and whether they would take me seriously since I’m a kid. 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 even got a standing ovation from a bunch of people that I didn’t know!
A week later it was determined the NH Fish and Game Commission voted FOR the hunting season even after thousands of NH residents opposed voiced their opposition on the hunting season. 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 at risk of being trapped and killed! The NH Fish and Game decided they couldn’t promise the Canadian Lynx wouldn’t get trapped or killed, so they withdrew the proposal, which meant the NH Bobcats will NOT be hunted this coming winter season! Animals can’t speak up for themselves, so we have to. Get involved with local shelters, Humane Society groups, and use your voice. We can live peacefully and co-exist with all creatures.