ANDOVER — Thirty-five students in grades kindergarten through five at Andover Elementary School were thrilled when two Maine Game Wardens from “North Woods Law” visited them Friday afternoon.

The children had recently written a letter to Warden Brock Clukey of Andover asking if he would like to visit and answer questions they had about the Warden Service and Animal Planet’s hit show about game wardens on the job in Maine.

“It was so cute,” Dee Nadeau, student council adviser, said of the letter. “One of the things they wrote was, ‘If you want to bring the movie crew, you can bring them, too.'”

To honor the debut Maine Game Warden Day, student council officials told the children it was OK to wear camouflage and hunter orange clothing all day Friday. It was their last day of school before vacation week.

On Friday afternoon, Clukey arrived with fellow warden and show cast member Norm Lewis, who brought his tracking dog Clyde. The 6-year-old black Lab patiently sat in front of Lewis or snoozed on the floor during the question-and-answer session.

School officials had the children write questions for Clukey on index cards, which he pulled out of a basket and read. Both men answered the questions, two of which asked how long they’d been a game warden in Maine and what wild animals are their favorites.

Lewis said 27 years, and deer and turkey; Clukey answered 19 years, and deer and moose.

Another question asked how many people they had saved.

“I don’t know anymore,” Lewis said. Neither did Clukey, before telling them about the service’s search-and-rescue efforts in the woods and on the Appalachian Trail.

“We look for lost people that are lost in the woods and we also rescue people who are injured out in the woods,” he said.

Prior to Clyde’s demonstrations, Lewis said he uses Clyde to find evidence in outdoor crime scenes, such as the illegal killing of wildlife. “Most of the time, people do that with guns and they will leave evidence behind, such as the bullets or empty shell casings. Clyde is very good at finding them. Those can be matched back to the guns, which can be matched back to the people, and that’s how we solve crimes,” he said.

“The other thing I ask Clyde to do — probably the most important thing — is I ask Clyde to find people,” Lewis said.

And then it was Clyde’s turn to shine.

While Clyde and Lewis were inside, Clukey took the children outside and led his daughter in a circuitous walk around and through the school grounds. He hid her in some brush behind trees. He also dropped two empty shotgun shells in the softball field.

Lewis brought Clyde out and let the dog smell the girl’s jacket. Off went Clyde, pulling Lewis along the child’s trail, amazing the children and teachers how fast he picked it up. When he found the girl, the children erupted in applause and Lewis rewarded Clyde with a ball to play with.

He also had Clyde demonstrate how he finds evidence by walking with him into the softball field to search for the shotgun shells. Clyde eventually found both shells, laying on the lawn each time to indicate it.

“The kids loved it,” Nadeau said of the session. “They loved Clyde. He was amazing. I think he amazed all the kids with his skills. And now they know what to do if they’re ever lost in the woods. They know to stay put so the dog can find them.

“So that’s what’s important,” she said. “Spring vacation is coming, and the kids are going to be out, so it’s a good learning lesson for them.”

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