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Hunting

Right Age to Start Hunting?

Recently I watched a Wired Outdoors video of a 7 year old on his first turkey hunt in Pennsylvania. You can see it here http://wiredoutdoors.com/our_show/season_two/episode1.html
The father handled the hunt well but it appeared the young lad did not have enough muscle to control his gun.
This got me to thinking again about what age should a youngster be taken on their first hunt?
Perhaps an arbitrary age is not the correct approach as each kid develops mentally and physically at different rates.
So if not an age what would be the signs that a youngster is ready to hunt?

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from 4everAutumn wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I started taking my kids to tag along with me as soon as they showed an interest. They were each 7 and under my direct supervision when they were allowed to handle the gun while we hunted. They each shot their first squirrel when they were 7. Both shot their first deer, duck and turkey when they were 10. My oldest is now 19 and my youngest is 13. They have been raised around guns and hunting. Safety has always been the number one issue when we are out.
The only thing better than looking through our hunting memory books is adding to them.

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from JM wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

From the way you compose your comments I would of guessed you were much older than 14 hunter girl. You seem very knowledgeable, keep up the good work =].

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from Hunter Girl 1 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Start them hunting when they are responsible enough to handle a firearm without hurting someone. I started hunting when I was 9. Killed my first deer when I was 10. I'm now 14 and I'm shooting a Tikka T3 Lite 30-06, whenever I go my local rifle range I get comments on my consistent shooting and safe rifle handeling skills.

--Hunter Girl 1

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from JM1993 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I would take my kid out to hunt with me as soon as possible, when it comes to handling a gun it would depend on the person, everyone is different. I grew up on a farm and I was shooting squirrels with a BB gun when I was 5.

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from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Hi...

I started to learn to handle firearms and hunting around age 10 or 12. Did I learn from my father? No. Did I learn from my hunter Uncle? No. I learned from my mother...!!

At that age I had no trouble hitting partridges, rabbits and pheasants with a small bore shotgun (I would never even THINK about hunting squirrels with a SHOTGUN...)!!

I started squirrel hunting somewhat earlier, with my air rifle. Usually got what I shot at, too...although after firing many BBs.

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from The Great Onalaskan wrote 3 years 18 weeks ago

Great story charlie elk.Some times it's worth it to tell a small lie:)

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from land_cruiser_73 wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

I used to take my youngest hunting when she was 3. I wasn't going to stay home just because I was watching her. She stood with a foot in either side of my game vest and watched over my shoulder as I hunted birds. She turned out to be my best hunting buddy. However, she didn't carry a firearm until she had graduated hunter's ed and then carried an empty one for a while. I would issue her a bullet when needed.

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from charlie elk wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Great Onalaskan,
Your Dad did right by you. I brought my kids into hunting the same way, they started coming with very young. Those hunts were low key usually for small game like squirrels and they carried unloaded BB guns in order to learn safe gun handling. When the occasion presented itself I would give them a BB to shoot the squirrel as I watched carefully and shot at the same moment. Then I told them a white lie that I missed and they killed the squirrel. They puffed out their chests and strutted around giving me a hard time for missing. You are right about the bonding it is so great.
later,
charlie

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from The Great Onalaskan wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

I think that first the kid needs to understand what the consequences of careless firearm handling are and what it means to hunt for food and have respect for the outdoors and the wildlife.Have him/her take the hunters safety course,maybe have him/her take it a couple times to make sure they got it.My dad took me hunting when I was 6 or 7,but he never let me have the gun 'til I took hunters ed.They were real bonding trips.Now I carry my own gun and shoot deer.Make sure the kid is ready and responsible.Then they can see how much fun it is:)

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from charlie elk wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Quite a story Obidia tells there are lessons there. As a parent or mentor there is no way I would have allowed a 10 yr old to enter the water if I was not willing to do it myself. Secondly there was no reason for him to carry his 22 as he waded in. The duck was dead. I find a bigger fault with the father allowing this to happen before his eyes. A blithering idiot indeed. Someone needs to pull his license.
Interestingly most accidents happen to hunters with 17+ years of experience. The lowest accident rate are brand new hunters.
later,
charlie

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from sangcoacc wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Using weapons on a hunt and using weapons are two different things. Under a controlled setting with adult supervision, my youngsters have already been target shooting. I think our youth should be trained in gun safety from day one. A child's curiosity, imagination and sense of adventure are wonderful but not when it involves firearms. I believe good safety training at the front end probably prevents many disastrous outcomes on the back end. The scenario Obidia descibes perfectly illustrates the necessity of gun safety training at an early age.

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from Smitty18 wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Obidia,
I understand where you are coming from but we cant put an age limit like you propose. Not all youth are immature and irresponsible I was raised around guns and taught all of the safe practices that you need to know. Keep an open mind and judge each kid by the kid and not by the mold that is put upon youth these days.

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from Obidia wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Much as I wanted to begin hunting by myself and shooting my father's 22 rifle, both my parents were dead set against me using a gun until I was 12 years old. I really disagreed with them ( to myself..! ), and didn't start until I'd reached that specified age. Years later I was very glad that they set that minimum age for me to have, carry, hunt and shoot on my own. Since then I've seen kids under that age ( and many an adult too..! )do the most foolish things with a loaded rifle, even a 22 and it just makes me shutter and wonder where their parents heads are with allowing such immature youngsters access to their firearms. And of course young fellows want to show their equally young buddies the weapons as well, load the guns, experiment, etc.

Let me give an example of youth's immaturity and unawareness: A neighbor of ours shot a duck in one of their sloughs in late fall. The slough had about a quarter inch of ice on most of it's surface, and the man didn't know how to retrieve the mallard.

Quickly his young son, about 10 years old and allowed to accompany his father on that brief foray into their field behind the house to take the duck, volunteered to get the bird out. The lad had his tresured 22 single shot rifle with him. Taking off his shoes and socks, the boy rolled up his trousers and then clinching his rifle, started into the pond. As the ice was somewhat difficult to break with each step, and getting deeper, the boy started using the buttstock of his gun to break the ice ahead of him.

So, with the gun more or less parallel to his body, but wavering at times too as he was unsteady in the freezing water, the boy continued to break the ice with his buttstock, until suddenly the rifle fired as the butt hit the ice! The bullet passed within an approximate 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the young fellow's head and thru the brim of his hat!

What had happened was with those old single shot 22's, there was no safety position, but rather the loaded gun was usually carried with the bolt's rearward firing position eased forward, until it was time to shoot. Then the shooter would pull back the bolt separation putting the gun into full battery position. Thousands of those old 22's were like that.

When the boy would strike the ice with the buttstock each time, the back of the bolt would be forced partly back by the hammering action, but not far enough as it came forward again to set the round off. But, as the ice got thicker the force needed to break it became more, and the boy had to hit the ice harder each time to break it. Then, his hardest strike was enough to force the bolt down far enough and then it's spring return brought it back with sufficient energy to hit the 22 shell's cap, and ignite the round..!

It was a truly awful scene! The boy and father instantly realized what had happened, and both went white as a sheet. Quickly the father yelled at his son to come back, which wasn't needed as the boy was stunned and partly deafed by the sudden and deadly close call, and wanted out of that slough right now!

Quite a bit later once everyone had recovered somewhat from that near tragedy, the family dog was encouraged to swim and break the ice to the duck, and it was retrieved. THAT ended the young boy's gun experience for a few years after, and the parents bought a good, lockable gun safe with Momma Bear strickly controling the key thereafter. Which goes to show the type of stupid things that can and do happen, often with tragic outcomes.

Young people with firearms,...NOPE(!), not in my books, and not anywhere around me and my family. There's a time for everything in life, and while it's fully allowed to accompany a parent or quardian on a hunt, youngsters under 12 shouldn't be allowed to use firearms, IMHO.

Thank Y'All Kindly Now.

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from sangcoacc wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I'm glad this came up. My boys are 8 and 10. Today, they don't go to the field armed with more than a camera with adult supervision. Physical ability is a small part of the equation. They will have to demonstrate that they have full maturity and understanding of safety of a weapon in hand. I wish they were there now as I would love to hunt with them but they are just not ready yet. It's too great a decision to take lightly, for the sake of man and beast.

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from Smitty18 wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I would take my kid out as young as possible, I was turkey hunting when i was 2 weeks old. However, they would not be using a gun until they were ready, be it 7 or 37.

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from www.dropjhook.com wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

when my boy's show me they respect there elders, & show me they respect the weapon then it's time to teach them respect for there prey & there surroundings. Then after that I think there ready until then I will teach them that its a honor just to watch dad :-)

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from charlie elk wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Quite a story Obidia tells there are lessons there. As a parent or mentor there is no way I would have allowed a 10 yr old to enter the water if I was not willing to do it myself. Secondly there was no reason for him to carry his 22 as he waded in. The duck was dead. I find a bigger fault with the father allowing this to happen before his eyes. A blithering idiot indeed. Someone needs to pull his license.
Interestingly most accidents happen to hunters with 17+ years of experience. The lowest accident rate are brand new hunters.
later,
charlie

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from www.dropjhook.com wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

when my boy's show me they respect there elders, & show me they respect the weapon then it's time to teach them respect for there prey & there surroundings. Then after that I think there ready until then I will teach them that its a honor just to watch dad :-)

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Smitty18 wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I would take my kid out as young as possible, I was turkey hunting when i was 2 weeks old. However, they would not be using a gun until they were ready, be it 7 or 37.

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from sangcoacc wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I'm glad this came up. My boys are 8 and 10. Today, they don't go to the field armed with more than a camera with adult supervision. Physical ability is a small part of the equation. They will have to demonstrate that they have full maturity and understanding of safety of a weapon in hand. I wish they were there now as I would love to hunt with them but they are just not ready yet. It's too great a decision to take lightly, for the sake of man and beast.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from sangcoacc wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Using weapons on a hunt and using weapons are two different things. Under a controlled setting with adult supervision, my youngsters have already been target shooting. I think our youth should be trained in gun safety from day one. A child's curiosity, imagination and sense of adventure are wonderful but not when it involves firearms. I believe good safety training at the front end probably prevents many disastrous outcomes on the back end. The scenario Obidia descibes perfectly illustrates the necessity of gun safety training at an early age.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM1993 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I would take my kid out to hunt with me as soon as possible, when it comes to handling a gun it would depend on the person, everyone is different. I grew up on a farm and I was shooting squirrels with a BB gun when I was 5.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunter Girl 1 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Start them hunting when they are responsible enough to handle a firearm without hurting someone. I started hunting when I was 9. Killed my first deer when I was 10. I'm now 14 and I'm shooting a Tikka T3 Lite 30-06, whenever I go my local rifle range I get comments on my consistent shooting and safe rifle handeling skills.

--Hunter Girl 1

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Obidia wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Much as I wanted to begin hunting by myself and shooting my father's 22 rifle, both my parents were dead set against me using a gun until I was 12 years old. I really disagreed with them ( to myself..! ), and didn't start until I'd reached that specified age. Years later I was very glad that they set that minimum age for me to have, carry, hunt and shoot on my own. Since then I've seen kids under that age ( and many an adult too..! )do the most foolish things with a loaded rifle, even a 22 and it just makes me shutter and wonder where their parents heads are with allowing such immature youngsters access to their firearms. And of course young fellows want to show their equally young buddies the weapons as well, load the guns, experiment, etc.

Let me give an example of youth's immaturity and unawareness: A neighbor of ours shot a duck in one of their sloughs in late fall. The slough had about a quarter inch of ice on most of it's surface, and the man didn't know how to retrieve the mallard.

Quickly his young son, about 10 years old and allowed to accompany his father on that brief foray into their field behind the house to take the duck, volunteered to get the bird out. The lad had his tresured 22 single shot rifle with him. Taking off his shoes and socks, the boy rolled up his trousers and then clinching his rifle, started into the pond. As the ice was somewhat difficult to break with each step, and getting deeper, the boy started using the buttstock of his gun to break the ice ahead of him.

So, with the gun more or less parallel to his body, but wavering at times too as he was unsteady in the freezing water, the boy continued to break the ice with his buttstock, until suddenly the rifle fired as the butt hit the ice! The bullet passed within an approximate 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the young fellow's head and thru the brim of his hat!

What had happened was with those old single shot 22's, there was no safety position, but rather the loaded gun was usually carried with the bolt's rearward firing position eased forward, until it was time to shoot. Then the shooter would pull back the bolt separation putting the gun into full battery position. Thousands of those old 22's were like that.

When the boy would strike the ice with the buttstock each time, the back of the bolt would be forced partly back by the hammering action, but not far enough as it came forward again to set the round off. But, as the ice got thicker the force needed to break it became more, and the boy had to hit the ice harder each time to break it. Then, his hardest strike was enough to force the bolt down far enough and then it's spring return brought it back with sufficient energy to hit the 22 shell's cap, and ignite the round..!

It was a truly awful scene! The boy and father instantly realized what had happened, and both went white as a sheet. Quickly the father yelled at his son to come back, which wasn't needed as the boy was stunned and partly deafed by the sudden and deadly close call, and wanted out of that slough right now!

Quite a bit later once everyone had recovered somewhat from that near tragedy, the family dog was encouraged to swim and break the ice to the duck, and it was retrieved. THAT ended the young boy's gun experience for a few years after, and the parents bought a good, lockable gun safe with Momma Bear strickly controling the key thereafter. Which goes to show the type of stupid things that can and do happen, often with tragic outcomes.

Young people with firearms,...NOPE(!), not in my books, and not anywhere around me and my family. There's a time for everything in life, and while it's fully allowed to accompany a parent or quardian on a hunt, youngsters under 12 shouldn't be allowed to use firearms, IMHO.

Thank Y'All Kindly Now.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Smitty18 wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Obidia,
I understand where you are coming from but we cant put an age limit like you propose. Not all youth are immature and irresponsible I was raised around guns and taught all of the safe practices that you need to know. Keep an open mind and judge each kid by the kid and not by the mold that is put upon youth these days.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Great Onalaskan,
Your Dad did right by you. I brought my kids into hunting the same way, they started coming with very young. Those hunts were low key usually for small game like squirrels and they carried unloaded BB guns in order to learn safe gun handling. When the occasion presented itself I would give them a BB to shoot the squirrel as I watched carefully and shot at the same moment. Then I told them a white lie that I missed and they killed the squirrel. They puffed out their chests and strutted around giving me a hard time for missing. You are right about the bonding it is so great.
later,
charlie

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from land_cruiser_73 wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

I used to take my youngest hunting when she was 3. I wasn't going to stay home just because I was watching her. She stood with a foot in either side of my game vest and watched over my shoulder as I hunted birds. She turned out to be my best hunting buddy. However, she didn't carry a firearm until she had graduated hunter's ed and then carried an empty one for a while. I would issue her a bullet when needed.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Great Onalaskan wrote 3 years 18 weeks ago

Great story charlie elk.Some times it's worth it to tell a small lie:)

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

From the way you compose your comments I would of guessed you were much older than 14 hunter girl. You seem very knowledgeable, keep up the good work =].

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Great Onalaskan wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

I think that first the kid needs to understand what the consequences of careless firearm handling are and what it means to hunt for food and have respect for the outdoors and the wildlife.Have him/her take the hunters safety course,maybe have him/her take it a couple times to make sure they got it.My dad took me hunting when I was 6 or 7,but he never let me have the gun 'til I took hunters ed.They were real bonding trips.Now I carry my own gun and shoot deer.Make sure the kid is ready and responsible.Then they can see how much fun it is:)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Hi...

I started to learn to handle firearms and hunting around age 10 or 12. Did I learn from my father? No. Did I learn from my hunter Uncle? No. I learned from my mother...!!

At that age I had no trouble hitting partridges, rabbits and pheasants with a small bore shotgun (I would never even THINK about hunting squirrels with a SHOTGUN...)!!

I started squirrel hunting somewhat earlier, with my air rifle. Usually got what I shot at, too...although after firing many BBs.

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from 4everAutumn wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I started taking my kids to tag along with me as soon as they showed an interest. They were each 7 and under my direct supervision when they were allowed to handle the gun while we hunted. They each shot their first squirrel when they were 7. Both shot their first deer, duck and turkey when they were 10. My oldest is now 19 and my youngest is 13. They have been raised around guns and hunting. Safety has always been the number one issue when we are out.
The only thing better than looking through our hunting memory books is adding to them.

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