Some of my earliest memories revolve around taking moose hunting trips in western Maine with my father and grandparents. I remember the fresh smell of the autumn air and the beauty of the leaves. We would stay several days in our camper as we hunted for moose.

Spending time in the Maine woods is beneficial for growing youths. The experience can help impart important lessons about self-sufficiency, preparedness, diligence and self-confidence.

Hunting also can teach critically important lessons about the value of all life. Today, many kids spend time with media that glamorize violence and cheapen the value of life. Hunting can teach us that all life is important and sacred. There is no greater way to learn about the dynamic systems of Creation than through sitting in the forest and examining things first hand.

Learning to hunt responsibly and experiencing firsthand what it means to take an animal’s life can change a person for the better. Our ancestors had a deep appreciation for life, in part, because of their dependence on nature for sustenance. They understood the cost.

When I sit in the forest, I notice that everything is a complex system that works together. Even the smallest creatures play valuable roles in nature. Just as we can learn about the talents of a painter from examining a painting, I believe we can learn much about the Creator from examining Creation.

I urge others to take their children or grandchildren hunting this year. It will implant memories that they will carry with them for a lifetime. It could help make positive deposits into their character that will be passed on to future generations. It also could help parents and their loved ones reconnect with what is important in life.

Jeremy HiltzAugusta

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