THE handing out of water bottles to school students telling them to wear orange and stay safe while hunting has upset parents.
When Catherine McCauley Catholic Primary School students took home water bottles last week with the Game Council NSW message “Be safe, be seen, always wear blaze orange when hunting,” not all parents were impressed.
One of the parents who contacted the Central Western Daily said she was surprised at her child’s response when asked about the water bottle.
“That’s the bottle I take when I go hunting,” the child said.
“It would be an overstatement to say I was shocked but I was surprised,” the mother said.
Another parent described the free water bottle as bizarre.
“I threw it straight in the bin. I didn’t want my five-year-old to have it.”
Catherine McCauley principal Michael Croke declined to comment.
The bottles were given to the school by an employee of the Game Council NSW in Orange and were part of the Wear Blaze Orange campaign to encourage hunters to wear orange when hunting.
Game Council NSW spokesman Greg McFarland said in its capacity as a NSW government authority, the Game Council was required to promote public awareness of rules and regulations regarding public land hunting.
“As is commonly done by other agencies, the Game Council provides free promotional merchandise to help this publicity effort,” he said.
“One of the popular Game Council items for young people and children is a free water bottle that promotes the blaze orange safety message for hunters.”
Mr McFarland said in the last three years1800 bottles had been distributed to schools, community groups and clubs, and this was the first time there had been a complaint.
However, he did not respond to whether or not handing them out to children as young as five was appropriate.
Greens representative and Orange councillor Neil Jones said he was shocked children were given the water bottles.
“I am absolutely gobsmacked,” he said.
“It is highly inappropriate of the Game Council to market their message this way to young children.
“ I think there should be a broader education program delivered in schools.”
Cr Jones says he is vehemently opposed to hunting in public areas and is putting forward a motion to Orange City Council to convince the state government to take Mount Canobolas off the list of approved hunting areas.
“Initially I would like the council to support Mount Canobolas being deleted, followed by the Mullion Ranges,” he said.