Maine’s Bryant Pond Camp Includes “Shooting Sports” for Youth

Kezar Falls Fish & Game Association members pass on knowledge and experience to the next generation.

Kezar Falls,  Maine – The Kezar Falls Fish & Game Association recently held their annual banquet at the American Legion hall in Porter, Maine.  There were over 50 members and guests in attendance ranging in age from toddler to seniors.  A potluck supper included several varieties of baked beans, a bacon wrapped venison roast, bird stew, fish chowder, pasta dishes and more.  The dessert table offered mince, apple, and rhubarb pies, brownies, cakes, peanut butter fudge among other fare.President Barry Hadlock opened the meeting and welcomed everyone.  Recognition was given to club member Jesse Stacy.  Last fall, he shot a 10 point 220 lb. buck and his name goes on the club’s trophy plaque for the 2012 “Biggest Buck.” Congratulations to Jesse who comes from a family with a strong hunting heritage.Speaking of strong hunting heritage, pheasants will be purchased for upcoming events to be held in the fall.  There will be opportunity for both youth and adult members who enjoy bird hunting or for those who would like an opportunity to learn more about it. Last year’s event was covered at: 2012 Kezar Falls Youth Event.   Recently the Kezar Falls association hosted archery and crossbow classes for members and for the public.  It was successful with 30 participants in the program out of which 18 graduated. This is the only such instructional class in this district. Hats off to the club for their perseverance to bring this to the area.An announcement was made by member John Short, president of Central Maine Brittany Club regarding an upcoming AKC Hunt Test for pointing breeds. This is the only such test in Maine at this time and will be held on April 27 & April 28 in Kennebunk, Maine. Entries close on April 24th and more information is available at the CMBC website.

Phil Catanese from UMaine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Ponds gave an excellent presentation at the Kezar Falls Fish & Game Association annual banquet.

KEY NOTE SPEAKER   Philip Catanese from the University of Maine 4-H Camp. Phil has been with this program for 8 years.  He gave a lively and informative presentation, motivating many parents and grandparents to inquire more about the program designed to help young people develop confidence, self reliance, and a sense of stewardship for the great outdoors. Formerly called the Maine Conservation School, for 50 years the Learning Center  and 4-H Camp has offered unique opportunities for children to learn about the great outdoors through hands on experiences. The program itself assures parents their child will learn how fun and exciting it is enjoy being outdoors more instead of staying in the house playing games on their Internet devices or technical gadgets! Phil shared many stories of how the kids at camp go out into the woods to learn instead of sitting hours inside a classroom.  Participating youth develop (and practice) their shooting skills learning through levels of age groups. Not necessarily geared exclusively to hunter safety (that is covered through other instructional venues) but actual hands on lessons for youth.  Campers range in age from 7 – 18.  One such program in particular takes the kids to Silverton Ranch, a hunting preserve operated by Denise Murchison, where they get to shoot some birds, dress them out, cook and enjoy the resulting meal!  (Denise later told me “…the kids that take the Apprentice Hunter program come out on Wed, I do more clay targets with them and take them upland hunting… they spend the night, cooking their birds, and the next day I take back out anyone that didn’t get an opportunity at a bird then they head back to camp.  It’s a great time for them and they actually get to hunt!”  She also mentioned that “Bryant Pond recently was one of 6 organizations across the country to be awarded a $100,000 endowment for their shooting sports program. This all started last year with a donation by the Rocky Mt Elk Foundation.”

Phil also talked to us about a week long Wardens Camp. Activities for this camp adventure include looking for a lost person and night hunting. Leadership skills are developed regardless of which camp a child attends. Each one is unique and diverse, geared to a particular interest which a child may have.  Day Camp, Maine Wood Adventures, Woodcraft Path, Naturalistic Path, Teen Leadership, Primitive Path are just a few of the camps offered. The price for each camp, which compares favorably with other summer youth camps. Scholarships are available through various sources including The Kezar Falls Fish & Game Association.  The breakdown for 2012 participants is: Summer Camp – 850 kids / Spring and Fall Programs – 1700 / After School programs and other outreach – 2000 / for a total of 4,550 !!!!!

Every child takes a course about guns. This lays a solid foundation for gun safety and respect for firearms, something that all youth in this day and age should be aware of whether or not they ever plan to hunt or use a gun. 4-H Shooting Sports program include Junior Archery, Archery Camp, Shotgun and Rifle Camp, Apprentice Hunter Camp, Maine Woodscraft, and a Junior Maine Guide Program.  For more information visit the website at  Phil, who is certified as a National Shotgun Instructor, a State Archery and Rifle Instructor, a Maine Inland, Fisheries and Wildlife Hunter, Bow, and Boater Safety Instructor lives in Bryant Pond and grew up in South Paris, Maine.  It was a pleasure to listen to his presentation which left me with a desire for my own grandchildren to attend this camp!2013 Kezar Falls Fish & Game Association Raffle Last but not least, tickets for the association raffle are now available from association members and at functions. The drawing will be held in the fall and prizes are as follow:

  • Rossi M92 44 MAG w/Wood Stock
  • Remington 87012 Gauge
  • Mossberg 702 22LR Semi-Auto
  • Big Mike Ground Blind
  • $100.00 Village Jewelers Gift Certificate
  • Motorola 35 Mile Radios
  • $80.00 Kittery Trading Post Gift Certificate
  • Game Camera
  • Matrix Gun Rest
  • Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
  • Laser Boresighter

For information regarding Kezar Falls Fish & Game Association membership or to purchase 2013 Raffle tickets contact president Barry Hadlock – 207-625-4347