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January 06, 2012
Should Hunting Have an Age Limit? - 28

Should there be any minimum age to hunt in America?
 
That’s a question that a lot of states are grappling with, as the very welcome Families Afield campaign works to reduce minimum-age requirements as part of a coordinated effort to remove barriers to hunting participation. As a resident of a state where the minimum age to hunt is 12, I know that age is a very real barrier, indeed.
 
I'm a father of twin boys who turned 11 years old yesterday, and I’ve long believed that the decision about when a youngster is ready to hunt should be made by parents. I’d like to believe that we parents have a better idea about the emotional, physical and intellectual development of our children than the state does. And, besides, isn’t nearly any age arbitrary? Who is to say that your 12-year-old (or even 16-year-old) is ready to hunt? Or that my 9-year-old is not?
 
But today I read about a Virginia 4-year-old who killed two does on his father’s deer lease and it made me wonder if perhaps 4 years old is too young. Did the boy really have the awareness of what he was doing, taking the life of another animal? Does that matter?
 
I’d like to hear what you think on the topic. It’s one that goes to the very heart of what hunting is about – awareness of one’s actions. But it also goes to the very heart of the argument that if we want to perpetuate our American tradition of hunting, then we need to recruit youngsters as hunters before they get distracted by cars and video games and flirting. And it also goes to the heart of the biggest issue of all: whose job is it to define when a person is ready to hunt – the parent or the government?
 
Let the debate begin!

Comments (28)

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from jake28296 wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

no age limit too hunting im 14 ive killed just as many deer as some 25 year olds if your parents think you are responsible enough to handle a gun that will kill something then you should be able to hunt

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from aztrooper4698 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I grew up with my mom and dad hunting. We moved all over the western states and some of them had age limits where you could hunt small game at 12 and big game at 16.

I now live in Arizona with kids of my own. My daughte and sons have been there to scout animals and walk with me while I hunted small game from when they were little. I asked my daughter if she wanted to actually hunt birds and rabbits probably a little late (age 16 I think).

My oldest son started at age 12. I tried my youngest this year at age 9 and decided he just isn't mentally ready. He loves to go walk but his gun safety wanes after about a half hour so I am constantly on him which upsets him. I don't want to take the fun out of it so I have told him he will have to wait at least another year before we try again. He will still go out with me and his brother, he just won't be shooting.

I can't imagine that the 4 year old had much to do with actually hunting. I would presume the father, or who ever they were with lined up the shot while the 4 year old held on to the weapon and maybe squeezed the trigger.

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from Randi87 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I think an age limit for being able to hunt alone would be appropriate, but allowing a child to tag along depends on the parent, and I think should depend on the maturity of the child. As the oldest granddaughter/grandchild, my grandpa allowed me to tag along at the age of 6 and began letting me shoot when I was 8. I understood, though, the impact of killing another living creature. I was also taught to only kill what I intend to eat. My love for the outdoors is still detrimental to my mental health 18 years after that first hunt, in fact my grandfather, husband and I went duck hunting 3 days before I gave birth to our daughter, who I hope and pray will love the outdoors as much as we do.

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from Augustheat wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I really think it is at the parent's discretion. I started out hunting with my dad when I was three. At age five, I was standing in a blind when my dad shot a goose and it dropped 5 yards infront of him. He bent over, picked it up and laid it in my arms. Then he knelt down and looked me straight in the eyes and said to look at the goose and then look at his gun. He then said, "this gun is a tool, it can take away someone's life just like the goose that you're holding in your arms...someone's mother, father, brother, or sister...when you pull that trigger is changes something's life forever." Thirty-two years later and it's still clear as day. I received a single shot 20 gauge for my 7th birthday and was allowed to hunt on my own by 10 and I see my son, who is 6, is not ready like I was at his age... it should be up to each parent to decide but in order to pull that trigger they should be fully aware of what will happen as a result. I plan to lay a goose in my son's arms very soon and speak the same words as my father spoke to me...

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from trapper vic wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Shootings one thing hunting is another. In Ohio a hunter safety course is required. I took it with my son at age 11 although he had been target shooting since 9. Even with years of hunting experience I learned a few things myself. If a child is old enough to take the course and pass it I think he should be fine to hunt.Don't confuse our right to hunt with our responsibility to be a safe hunter.

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from kimmybis wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

We live in NYS where they have some of the stiffish laws for children hunting. I am a true believer that you have to get these children interested in hunting at a very early age and especially on private land it should be the parents responsibility to know when the child is old enough to pull the trigger. My 14 year old Grandson started hunting with me this year. He has been brought up with safety in mind. I really think that at 10 he was mature enough to be hunting as long as I was right beside him. Let the adults decide especially on your own land.

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from shine wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

It’s really not age, but level of maturity. What’s more, the level of supervision needs to change according to age and maturity of the student. While I would hunt with a child as young as 9, I would only provide intermittent access to a firearm in a highly controlled setting. At the same time, I may find a 12 year old perfectly capable to bowhunt independently in a stand, in sight, close to mine. My home state requires hunters under 16 to be under the “direct control” of an adult – I would agree that no one under 16 should be cut loose in the woods without direct supervision the entire time.

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from Frank Memmo wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

In a perfect world there would be no age restrictions in place set by our government. However, we do not live in a perfect world.

I'm sure everyone reading this knows at least one adult with children that does not have the mental capacity to even grasp evaluating whether or not their child has the awareness or intelligence to start hunting. With that said, I support a state mandated law on an age restriction; and that age should coincide with puberty. At this age, the child should be strong enough to safely handle a weapon and intelligent enough to understand the laws, as well as cope with taking an animal's life and why he/she is doing it.

As several of you have said, this is also dependent upon the parent determining if their child's desire to learn our tradition can be fully comprehended by the child without damaging the child.

It's a touchy subject, but a necessary one.

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from Rick Orlandini wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I grew up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania where hunting was a way of life for my family and friends. My father taught me gun safety at an early age and I had already won marksman ribbons by age ten. All of my friends in my grade were sons and daughters of hunters as well. We all took our exam together at the local PA game commission office. The legal age in PA is 12. I harvested my first dear (nine pointer) that year from a tree stand my dad had built for me (a few boards to climb). I killed a spike the next year with a recurve bow. Of course I was champing at the bit by the time I was 8, but believe that 12 was the perfect age to begin hunting given gun safety and the physical demands of hunting. I was on my own in the woods by 14. Almost 40 years later, I still believe 12 is the right age.

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from 6phunter wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

NO AGE LIMIT ON HUNTING'' I was started with a daisy air rifle, after I was dtermined to be safe, was I allowed the use of firearms.AT the age of 16 with ten years of experience I was allowed to hunt alone.

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from Derik Reed wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I grew up in a state with no age limit. I knew many young hunters, who while still in elementary school, harvested their first deer, often with a .410 shotgun slug, and sometimes alone in the stand when the opportunity arose. I remember feeling jealous of those other kids; however, in a society where genuine rites of passage are few and far between, I appreciate now living in a state where a hunter must reach a certain age and have completed hunter safety before he or she can carry a gun afield. That means I have 6 years to wait until my son can harvest, but he has already been with me on several hunts, some successful. When the opportunity for him to hunt finally arrives, the shared experiences of our time together prior to his initial hunt will culminate in what I hope is a rite that will be memorable and significant for him. The other thing that occured in Arkansas, where I was raised, was that hunters as young as 4 or 5 were credited with harvest, which was legal without the need for a tag, even though dad pulled the trigger. I now live in Montana, and know that many fathers take advantage of the liberal youth opportunities to shoot cows by dragging their 12-15 year old children into the field, and then shooting for them. These unethical practices will occur everywhere, but I think they are increasingly likely when kids may hunt at any age. I can certainly wait until my son is ready and legal to do his own harvesting, and appreciate that there is a limit set by the state to help make the experience significant for us. He and I are already talking about that day!

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from sangcoacc wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Some of my fondest memories of hunting are the few I can still racall from my youth. Trudging through thick waterways with my toy machine gun in search of pheasants as I recall. Little did I know back then that I was in training (and a poor substitute for a good dog). As I aged and matured, the lethality of the weapon I carried grew. I had to prove to my dad that I was safe, respectful and capable. I had to demonstrate that over and over agsin, for a number of years. My point is, kids can and should become involved in hunting long before they carry a firearm and squeeze that trigger. I know of no law that requires a person afield to be armed.

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Yes there should be a minimum age limit for hunting. I don't think 12 yrs. old is really all that bad. Somethings require age and maturity mostly maturity. I take my son (3yrs of age) hunting with me but don't allow him to touch my gun or get to close. He knows he must sit beside me and not move or touch anything, and for a 3 year old that is torture, yet he knows if he doesn't listen he doesn't get to go out with daddy next time. I will not allow him to hunt until he is atleast 12 and mature enough to kill an animal, as for now his little O/U nerf neon green and orange dart gun suits him just fine and he is fine with it in the dove field. He just loves to be with me and the guys! I know in a couple years this may change but I will have to reasses my current thoughts & feelings then.

Kody, Santa brought my 3 yrs. old a Buck(A.K.A Red Ryder) BB gun for Christmas and he can handle it fine. However I do not allow him to walk around with it and i handle it for him until he and I am ready. He can hold the gun as he should and doesn't pull the trigger until I tell him. I'm not bragging I'm just teaching him properly.

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from Walter Ines Jr. wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I agree that the government doesn't know exactly when your child is mature enough to hunt. The legal age for hunting where I live is 10. Just because it's legal to hunt doesn't mean they should. I have 2 nephews, one is twelve years old and the other is seven. The 12 year old already failed his first hunter education class (he took it with a friend, therefore could not concentrate on it), but the 7 year old is far beyond his years. I'm sure he's better than I was at that age. I think 4 years old is way to young to hunt. I agree that he cannot grasp what he is doing. There will be time enough later on that he can appreciate what hunting is all about.

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

After pondering Andrew's concern - "there's an element of hunting that I don't think any 4-year-old could grasp"
Isn't a hunter of any age who uses a term like harvest to describe the kill not grasping this element of hunting?
later,
charlie

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Well McKean in almost a half century of hunting, training hunters, reading about hunting and hunters this is the first I've heard of a 4yr old killing a deer. So the conclusion is this must be really really rare.
Are we make to laws based on a once in century occurrence?
I started hunting squirrels and miscellaneous varmints at 6 with a single shot 22 chambered for shorts. I remember seeing through moist eyes holding my first squirrel while admiring the beauty of his fur. I understood my actions caused its death which was an irreversible condition. Went on my first deer hunt at 8 and killed my first buck a spike at 10 while alone using a 20 gauge. Started trapping small animals at 9 mostly gophers for the bounty and rabbits to help feed the family. My point here is kids grow up with different backgrounds causing them to mature quicker.
Based on my experiences training a lot of hunters over the years I am not an advocate of starting any new hunter out on big game the kill can be too dramatic for them. So in this 4yr old case I question the father's judgement. Just as I question the judgement of parents who just because their kid is legal age take them to firearm safety class then out to sit on a cold deer stand for several hours.
With no other outdoor experience does this "legal" aged kid grasp the kill element of hunting more than the 4 yr old deer killer who was out with his father at age 2?
later,
charlie

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from Smitty18 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Who here would allow YOUR child to use a gun before they were ready knowing that the unsafe or improper handling could result in YOUR kid shooting themselves or someone else? Only the parent knows when the kid is ready, and when he is ready he is ready, why make him wait until a certain age that could be years away.

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from Kody wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Yes, McKean I can't see any kid that age being allowed to shoot a sparrow let alone a big game animal. What four year old could be relied upon to handle a Red Rider BB gun let alone a center fire rifle. I suspect that you would place your self in great danger venturing into the woods when the kid's father is on the prowl. What next, arm the kid with a knife to take on his first bear when he turns five? I suspect, Dad does his best work in the bar bragging of his kid's prowess to compensate for his own lack of accomplishment.

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from HuntingEditor wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Seriously, guys? I'm all for parental control of almost all these decisions, but I do have to say that there's an element of hunting that I don't think any 4-year-old could grasp, no matter how safe or proficient they are with a gun. Is a kid younger than 5, or 8, or 10 (here's where the age issue gets really gray) able to understand the context of their actions? I'm not saying they have to get all touchy-feely with the meaning of life, and death, but hunting is more than pulling the trigger. And I honestly don't know what the age is when you understand that. But I'm pretty sure it ain't 4.

McKean

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from Kody wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Most parents try hard to make good choices when it comes to raising their children. If they choose to have their son or daughter start hunting for example, they consider maturity level, the ability to safely handle a firearm and the kid's eagerness to pursue this sport. Obviously, government is unable to make such judgements because they can't assess every kid, let alone the reliability of the parents. Good people get victimized by rules made because of a few irresponsible idiots who have great difficulty raising their own children to be responsible adults. Tough to help a kid grow up when you never grew up yourself. It perpetuates itself and only young people of extraordinary character can sometimes manage to break this vicious cycle. That comes as no surprise! It is a situation that governments try to address by inflicting rules upon the rest of us that invade our privacy and deny us choices which were ours alone to make. Such is the 'slippery slope' of our modern society constantly protecting us by caging us within ever tightening laws and regulations. The motto of the upcoming bureaucrats will not be 'Yes we can" because they have far more practice in saying 'No, you can't'!

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from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I usually don't trek very far,
when all around 4-year old hunters are.

Hi...

C'mon, now. Don't most parents think that their children are perfect...and could never do any harm (even if they didn't, that's probably what they would say)...!!

A minimum age for hunting..whatever that age was...would then make the rule the same for everyone, right?

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from 25-06 guy wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Anything the government makes a call on gets messed up. And who knows there children better than the parents. If more people took there children outdoors and not just plugging them in with cell phones and video games we would be better off.

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from Smitty18 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Parents should decide. The law here is under 12 can hunt certain species when accompanied by an adult and 12-15 can hunt what ever they buy a license for when accompanied by an adult. 16 and over can hunt by themselves. I may or may not have been judged to be mature enough and ready for solo hunting at age 11. My younger brother has not made such impressions on my dad at 14.

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from JM wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I think parents should be able to decide when their child starts hunting, but then again years ago a father and his son(couldnt of been over 7 years old) were tresspassing on our farm squirrel hunting. I like the way Missouri has their hunting regulations set up; I hope they do not many any changes to the regulations regarding age limits.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

My first instinct was to say that the less government intrusion into our lives the better, and that it should be up to the parents to decide. But then I had to stop and think about the times I've heard proud parents bragging about taking their 3 or 4 year old hunting, lining up the shot for them, since the gun was too heavy, and then telling them when to pull the trigger. As far as I'm concerned, and I hope any responsible parent and hunter would agree with me, that kind of "hunting" is dead wrong.
So I guess I would say that as long as there are people that would take their children out and let them actually kill an animal before they are old enough to understand what they are doing, then I think that there should indeed be age limits.

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from Matt Eckholm wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I half agree with charlie...while I agree that politicians have no right to dictate when my son should be allowed in the woods to take an animal, not as a trophy but as a source of food. I think having gun a safety coarse is a good idea. Not only does it provide valuable information for the new hunters (as well as myself when I sit in on occasion) but it also provides a safety net in the form of an outsiders eyes view our children with out biases. I don't want to sound like I like the idea of big brother looking over me, but I know I'm not perfect and while I do have my sons very best interstate at hand I also am not naive enough to think that I do everything perfectly. The same aguement could be made about legal driving age or when a person should be allowed to drink alcohol...and as a former bartender I've seen alot of people who were of legal age that I though should never be allowed to drink alcohol. Unfortunately in an "organized" society age requirements are something that are going to be put in place and the only way to rid the world of them is to end accidents while hunting committed by the irresponsible and ignorant.

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from sangcoacc wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

My then 10 year old sat in a stand with me this past November and had the full experience of a deer hunt, minus taking the shot. He did everything he should have done. I was very proud of him. I believe he is ready but I will continue to evaluate him. My then 8 year old, not so much. He has not developed the physical and mental skills needed, yet, and I have no idea if he will be there at 10 or 11 or 16. Responsible adults should be making these decisions not irresponsible bureaucrats.

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Only the child's parents should decide when they are ready to start hunting or shooting. There should be no arbitrary government dictate. Nor should any mandatory hunter education be required prior to a parent or guardian taking a kid out for their first hunt. There is time for that later if the kid demonstrates continued interest in hunting.
The vast majority of parents have only the best interest of their children at heart. Those rare exceptions who don't care about their kids should not be used to hinder the development of the majority.
later,
charlie

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Only the child's parents should decide when they are ready to start hunting or shooting. There should be no arbitrary government dictate. Nor should any mandatory hunter education be required prior to a parent or guardian taking a kid out for their first hunt. There is time for that later if the kid demonstrates continued interest in hunting.
The vast majority of parents have only the best interest of their children at heart. Those rare exceptions who don't care about their kids should not be used to hinder the development of the majority.
later,
charlie

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from sangcoacc wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

My then 10 year old sat in a stand with me this past November and had the full experience of a deer hunt, minus taking the shot. He did everything he should have done. I was very proud of him. I believe he is ready but I will continue to evaluate him. My then 8 year old, not so much. He has not developed the physical and mental skills needed, yet, and I have no idea if he will be there at 10 or 11 or 16. Responsible adults should be making these decisions not irresponsible bureaucrats.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

My first instinct was to say that the less government intrusion into our lives the better, and that it should be up to the parents to decide. But then I had to stop and think about the times I've heard proud parents bragging about taking their 3 or 4 year old hunting, lining up the shot for them, since the gun was too heavy, and then telling them when to pull the trigger. As far as I'm concerned, and I hope any responsible parent and hunter would agree with me, that kind of "hunting" is dead wrong.
So I guess I would say that as long as there are people that would take their children out and let them actually kill an animal before they are old enough to understand what they are doing, then I think that there should indeed be age limits.

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from JM wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I think parents should be able to decide when their child starts hunting, but then again years ago a father and his son(couldnt of been over 7 years old) were tresspassing on our farm squirrel hunting. I like the way Missouri has their hunting regulations set up; I hope they do not many any changes to the regulations regarding age limits.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Smitty18 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Parents should decide. The law here is under 12 can hunt certain species when accompanied by an adult and 12-15 can hunt what ever they buy a license for when accompanied by an adult. 16 and over can hunt by themselves. I may or may not have been judged to be mature enough and ready for solo hunting at age 11. My younger brother has not made such impressions on my dad at 14.

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from 25-06 guy wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Anything the government makes a call on gets messed up. And who knows there children better than the parents. If more people took there children outdoors and not just plugging them in with cell phones and video games we would be better off.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Most parents try hard to make good choices when it comes to raising their children. If they choose to have their son or daughter start hunting for example, they consider maturity level, the ability to safely handle a firearm and the kid's eagerness to pursue this sport. Obviously, government is unable to make such judgements because they can't assess every kid, let alone the reliability of the parents. Good people get victimized by rules made because of a few irresponsible idiots who have great difficulty raising their own children to be responsible adults. Tough to help a kid grow up when you never grew up yourself. It perpetuates itself and only young people of extraordinary character can sometimes manage to break this vicious cycle. That comes as no surprise! It is a situation that governments try to address by inflicting rules upon the rest of us that invade our privacy and deny us choices which were ours alone to make. Such is the 'slippery slope' of our modern society constantly protecting us by caging us within ever tightening laws and regulations. The motto of the upcoming bureaucrats will not be 'Yes we can" because they have far more practice in saying 'No, you can't'!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from HuntingEditor wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Seriously, guys? I'm all for parental control of almost all these decisions, but I do have to say that there's an element of hunting that I don't think any 4-year-old could grasp, no matter how safe or proficient they are with a gun. Is a kid younger than 5, or 8, or 10 (here's where the age issue gets really gray) able to understand the context of their actions? I'm not saying they have to get all touchy-feely with the meaning of life, and death, but hunting is more than pulling the trigger. And I honestly don't know what the age is when you understand that. But I'm pretty sure it ain't 4.

McKean

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Well McKean in almost a half century of hunting, training hunters, reading about hunting and hunters this is the first I've heard of a 4yr old killing a deer. So the conclusion is this must be really really rare.
Are we make to laws based on a once in century occurrence?
I started hunting squirrels and miscellaneous varmints at 6 with a single shot 22 chambered for shorts. I remember seeing through moist eyes holding my first squirrel while admiring the beauty of his fur. I understood my actions caused its death which was an irreversible condition. Went on my first deer hunt at 8 and killed my first buck a spike at 10 while alone using a 20 gauge. Started trapping small animals at 9 mostly gophers for the bounty and rabbits to help feed the family. My point here is kids grow up with different backgrounds causing them to mature quicker.
Based on my experiences training a lot of hunters over the years I am not an advocate of starting any new hunter out on big game the kill can be too dramatic for them. So in this 4yr old case I question the father's judgement. Just as I question the judgement of parents who just because their kid is legal age take them to firearm safety class then out to sit on a cold deer stand for several hours.
With no other outdoor experience does this "legal" aged kid grasp the kill element of hunting more than the 4 yr old deer killer who was out with his father at age 2?
later,
charlie

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from kimmybis wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

We live in NYS where they have some of the stiffish laws for children hunting. I am a true believer that you have to get these children interested in hunting at a very early age and especially on private land it should be the parents responsibility to know when the child is old enough to pull the trigger. My 14 year old Grandson started hunting with me this year. He has been brought up with safety in mind. I really think that at 10 he was mature enough to be hunting as long as I was right beside him. Let the adults decide especially on your own land.

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from Matt Eckholm wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I half agree with charlie...while I agree that politicians have no right to dictate when my son should be allowed in the woods to take an animal, not as a trophy but as a source of food. I think having gun a safety coarse is a good idea. Not only does it provide valuable information for the new hunters (as well as myself when I sit in on occasion) but it also provides a safety net in the form of an outsiders eyes view our children with out biases. I don't want to sound like I like the idea of big brother looking over me, but I know I'm not perfect and while I do have my sons very best interstate at hand I also am not naive enough to think that I do everything perfectly. The same aguement could be made about legal driving age or when a person should be allowed to drink alcohol...and as a former bartender I've seen alot of people who were of legal age that I though should never be allowed to drink alcohol. Unfortunately in an "organized" society age requirements are something that are going to be put in place and the only way to rid the world of them is to end accidents while hunting committed by the irresponsible and ignorant.

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from Smitty18 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Who here would allow YOUR child to use a gun before they were ready knowing that the unsafe or improper handling could result in YOUR kid shooting themselves or someone else? Only the parent knows when the kid is ready, and when he is ready he is ready, why make him wait until a certain age that could be years away.

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

After pondering Andrew's concern - "there's an element of hunting that I don't think any 4-year-old could grasp"
Isn't a hunter of any age who uses a term like harvest to describe the kill not grasping this element of hunting?
later,
charlie

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from Walter Ines Jr. wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I agree that the government doesn't know exactly when your child is mature enough to hunt. The legal age for hunting where I live is 10. Just because it's legal to hunt doesn't mean they should. I have 2 nephews, one is twelve years old and the other is seven. The 12 year old already failed his first hunter education class (he took it with a friend, therefore could not concentrate on it), but the 7 year old is far beyond his years. I'm sure he's better than I was at that age. I think 4 years old is way to young to hunt. I agree that he cannot grasp what he is doing. There will be time enough later on that he can appreciate what hunting is all about.

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from 6phunter wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

NO AGE LIMIT ON HUNTING'' I was started with a daisy air rifle, after I was dtermined to be safe, was I allowed the use of firearms.AT the age of 16 with ten years of experience I was allowed to hunt alone.

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from Augustheat wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I really think it is at the parent's discretion. I started out hunting with my dad when I was three. At age five, I was standing in a blind when my dad shot a goose and it dropped 5 yards infront of him. He bent over, picked it up and laid it in my arms. Then he knelt down and looked me straight in the eyes and said to look at the goose and then look at his gun. He then said, "this gun is a tool, it can take away someone's life just like the goose that you're holding in your arms...someone's mother, father, brother, or sister...when you pull that trigger is changes something's life forever." Thirty-two years later and it's still clear as day. I received a single shot 20 gauge for my 7th birthday and was allowed to hunt on my own by 10 and I see my son, who is 6, is not ready like I was at his age... it should be up to each parent to decide but in order to pull that trigger they should be fully aware of what will happen as a result. I plan to lay a goose in my son's arms very soon and speak the same words as my father spoke to me...

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from Kody wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Yes, McKean I can't see any kid that age being allowed to shoot a sparrow let alone a big game animal. What four year old could be relied upon to handle a Red Rider BB gun let alone a center fire rifle. I suspect that you would place your self in great danger venturing into the woods when the kid's father is on the prowl. What next, arm the kid with a knife to take on his first bear when he turns five? I suspect, Dad does his best work in the bar bragging of his kid's prowess to compensate for his own lack of accomplishment.

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from sangcoacc wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Some of my fondest memories of hunting are the few I can still racall from my youth. Trudging through thick waterways with my toy machine gun in search of pheasants as I recall. Little did I know back then that I was in training (and a poor substitute for a good dog). As I aged and matured, the lethality of the weapon I carried grew. I had to prove to my dad that I was safe, respectful and capable. I had to demonstrate that over and over agsin, for a number of years. My point is, kids can and should become involved in hunting long before they carry a firearm and squeeze that trigger. I know of no law that requires a person afield to be armed.

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from Derik Reed wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I grew up in a state with no age limit. I knew many young hunters, who while still in elementary school, harvested their first deer, often with a .410 shotgun slug, and sometimes alone in the stand when the opportunity arose. I remember feeling jealous of those other kids; however, in a society where genuine rites of passage are few and far between, I appreciate now living in a state where a hunter must reach a certain age and have completed hunter safety before he or she can carry a gun afield. That means I have 6 years to wait until my son can harvest, but he has already been with me on several hunts, some successful. When the opportunity for him to hunt finally arrives, the shared experiences of our time together prior to his initial hunt will culminate in what I hope is a rite that will be memorable and significant for him. The other thing that occured in Arkansas, where I was raised, was that hunters as young as 4 or 5 were credited with harvest, which was legal without the need for a tag, even though dad pulled the trigger. I now live in Montana, and know that many fathers take advantage of the liberal youth opportunities to shoot cows by dragging their 12-15 year old children into the field, and then shooting for them. These unethical practices will occur everywhere, but I think they are increasingly likely when kids may hunt at any age. I can certainly wait until my son is ready and legal to do his own harvesting, and appreciate that there is a limit set by the state to help make the experience significant for us. He and I are already talking about that day!

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from Rick Orlandini wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I grew up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania where hunting was a way of life for my family and friends. My father taught me gun safety at an early age and I had already won marksman ribbons by age ten. All of my friends in my grade were sons and daughters of hunters as well. We all took our exam together at the local PA game commission office. The legal age in PA is 12. I harvested my first dear (nine pointer) that year from a tree stand my dad had built for me (a few boards to climb). I killed a spike the next year with a recurve bow. Of course I was champing at the bit by the time I was 8, but believe that 12 was the perfect age to begin hunting given gun safety and the physical demands of hunting. I was on my own in the woods by 14. Almost 40 years later, I still believe 12 is the right age.

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from shine wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

It’s really not age, but level of maturity. What’s more, the level of supervision needs to change according to age and maturity of the student. While I would hunt with a child as young as 9, I would only provide intermittent access to a firearm in a highly controlled setting. At the same time, I may find a 12 year old perfectly capable to bowhunt independently in a stand, in sight, close to mine. My home state requires hunters under 16 to be under the “direct control” of an adult – I would agree that no one under 16 should be cut loose in the woods without direct supervision the entire time.

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from trapper vic wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Shootings one thing hunting is another. In Ohio a hunter safety course is required. I took it with my son at age 11 although he had been target shooting since 9. Even with years of hunting experience I learned a few things myself. If a child is old enough to take the course and pass it I think he should be fine to hunt.Don't confuse our right to hunt with our responsibility to be a safe hunter.

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from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I usually don't trek very far,
when all around 4-year old hunters are.

Hi...

C'mon, now. Don't most parents think that their children are perfect...and could never do any harm (even if they didn't, that's probably what they would say)...!!

A minimum age for hunting..whatever that age was...would then make the rule the same for everyone, right?

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Yes there should be a minimum age limit for hunting. I don't think 12 yrs. old is really all that bad. Somethings require age and maturity mostly maturity. I take my son (3yrs of age) hunting with me but don't allow him to touch my gun or get to close. He knows he must sit beside me and not move or touch anything, and for a 3 year old that is torture, yet he knows if he doesn't listen he doesn't get to go out with daddy next time. I will not allow him to hunt until he is atleast 12 and mature enough to kill an animal, as for now his little O/U nerf neon green and orange dart gun suits him just fine and he is fine with it in the dove field. He just loves to be with me and the guys! I know in a couple years this may change but I will have to reasses my current thoughts & feelings then.

Kody, Santa brought my 3 yrs. old a Buck(A.K.A Red Ryder) BB gun for Christmas and he can handle it fine. However I do not allow him to walk around with it and i handle it for him until he and I am ready. He can hold the gun as he should and doesn't pull the trigger until I tell him. I'm not bragging I'm just teaching him properly.

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from Frank Memmo wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

In a perfect world there would be no age restrictions in place set by our government. However, we do not live in a perfect world.

I'm sure everyone reading this knows at least one adult with children that does not have the mental capacity to even grasp evaluating whether or not their child has the awareness or intelligence to start hunting. With that said, I support a state mandated law on an age restriction; and that age should coincide with puberty. At this age, the child should be strong enough to safely handle a weapon and intelligent enough to understand the laws, as well as cope with taking an animal's life and why he/she is doing it.

As several of you have said, this is also dependent upon the parent determining if their child's desire to learn our tradition can be fully comprehended by the child without damaging the child.

It's a touchy subject, but a necessary one.

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from Randi87 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I think an age limit for being able to hunt alone would be appropriate, but allowing a child to tag along depends on the parent, and I think should depend on the maturity of the child. As the oldest granddaughter/grandchild, my grandpa allowed me to tag along at the age of 6 and began letting me shoot when I was 8. I understood, though, the impact of killing another living creature. I was also taught to only kill what I intend to eat. My love for the outdoors is still detrimental to my mental health 18 years after that first hunt, in fact my grandfather, husband and I went duck hunting 3 days before I gave birth to our daughter, who I hope and pray will love the outdoors as much as we do.

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from aztrooper4698 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I grew up with my mom and dad hunting. We moved all over the western states and some of them had age limits where you could hunt small game at 12 and big game at 16.

I now live in Arizona with kids of my own. My daughte and sons have been there to scout animals and walk with me while I hunted small game from when they were little. I asked my daughter if she wanted to actually hunt birds and rabbits probably a little late (age 16 I think).

My oldest son started at age 12. I tried my youngest this year at age 9 and decided he just isn't mentally ready. He loves to go walk but his gun safety wanes after about a half hour so I am constantly on him which upsets him. I don't want to take the fun out of it so I have told him he will have to wait at least another year before we try again. He will still go out with me and his brother, he just won't be shooting.

I can't imagine that the 4 year old had much to do with actually hunting. I would presume the father, or who ever they were with lined up the shot while the 4 year old held on to the weapon and maybe squeezed the trigger.

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from jake28296 wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

no age limit too hunting im 14 ive killed just as many deer as some 25 year olds if your parents think you are responsible enough to handle a gun that will kill something then you should be able to hunt

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