Contributors to this thread:
'Cabin Fever' has obviously set in on Bowsite.
With that, I have a discussion topic Ive been wondering everyone's thoughts about.
Many states have varying ages that kids can start hunting big game. Some states are 10 yrs old, some are 12 years old, some are 8 years old...
My kids were in the 12 yr old state [Colorado], but I took them to Nebraska where 10 years olds can legally hunt deer.
I turned out to be a great choice, as it gave them 2 more years experience of being 'in the woods, carrying a weapon'.
What are your thoughts for 'right' age(s) for a youngster to start big-game hunting?
My son was 7 when he took his first 2 does with a 50 cal. ML loaded with 60 grains of powder and a 240 grain sabot. He had already been tagging along on hunts for a few years at that point. He also killed his first doe with a bow at age 9 and was pulling a whopping 36 lbs. My daughter was 10 and got her first buck with a 44 mag rifle. I think it just depends on how the youngster responds to the opportunity to go hunting. Some kids may not be ready to hunt until a bit later and some sooner than others. JMO
There is no legally designated age in Texas. I believe it should be up to the parents, not the state.
My daughter was ten when I allowed her to finally carry a weapon. She started in the spring with a .410 for turkey, which she killed at 5 yards, then moved onto deer that fall .
"Some kids may not be ready to hunt until a bit later and some sooner than others" JMO
Oh we've went round and round on the WI page. Our state just went to no age limit. Guess we made national news cause 10 infants bought tags. I shake my head. Personally it was 12 years old as I was growing up. Which was just fine. I always tagged along with the crew and couldn't wait for my chance when I turned 12. If I ever have kids they will wait till there 12 also. I see absolutely no reason it should be any younger IMO. I've heard of many stories where kids are scarred when at a young age from taking a big game animals life and all the blood and they won't hunt again. But youd think if they were hunting at that young of a age, the seed shoulda been planted already and they already would have seen and known what comes with that.
My boy was 8 and I never regretted it for one second......, On the other hand, I saw 15 year olds that made me uncomfortable... on second thought, some 30-50 year olds make me nervous.. Depends on the kid, parenting, etc. etc. IMO..
For the guys that say "it should be up to the parents" hey I'm all for that, and less laws and less govt is a good thing. However, then why don't we say hey let's let parents make all the choices. For one there are some horrible, irresponsible parents out there. Should we let parents decide--when to drive, drink, smoke, not go to school. It could go on and on. I'm not saying one way is the right way....just putting that out there
What made WI change the age?
Wisconsin’s change was a political move. No justification or reasoning besides less government regulation
10 years old. My son will be able to pull back 40 by spring, wish he could shoot his first bear then too.
I grew up in Michigan where it was 14 years for gun and 12 years for bow. When my oldest daughter was 9 she passed Hunter Safety completely on her own. (No Appentice Licenses then).
By that time Michigan had dropped minimum age to 12 for both bow and gun. (Now there is no age limit) So I took her to Ohio for shotgun and mz hunting for 3 years. While she never took a shot, we hunted hard, had many close calls and she learned so much. When she was 12, she made use of all she had learned, making a great shot on her 1st deer in Michigan. Her 2 younger sisters have benefitted from the reduced age killing deer when they were 10 & 11. I have to admit, it was so much easier getting them out hunting at those ages than it was at 15 or 16 with all the sports and other things going on. But still, I thinks it's crazy for a 5 or 6 yr old to be killing deer when their only input to the hunt is pulling the trigger, whether it's a Xbow or gun.
As Treeline stated, there is no minimum age here, so IMO it varies with the individuals, both parent and child. My oldest started hunting with me at about four, but he was twelve before I let him sit by himself with a 30-30. Looking back, that was young, but he would do exactly what I told him, was safety conscious, and it worked out. My youngest killed his first turkey at 8, first deer at ten, but he was hunting with me both times. By the time he got old enough to sit by himself, he lost interest in hunting.
My Son, now 12, shot his first turkey at 8 in Nebraska, first deer at 10 in Nebraska and we start bird hunting this year. Wouldn't change anything!
Good news is you can start taking them as young as you want but the matter of pulling the trigger/bow is another issue.
My kids killed their first deer early 7-8 year old. I don't think it should be after 10 that's for sure. I think most kids have formed opinions/or activities by 10 so waiting until 12 these days means they are likely into other things.
My 13 year old daughter truly loves to hunt. Not because I take her out but because she loves the adventure and more importantly it's what she's always known. If I would have waited until she was 12 to hunt I don't think it would be the same.
Whatever you do take your kids with you. Hunting changed for me when my kids came. 80+% of all my hunting is with my kids.
Brad I think it depends so much on the kid. Heck, I’ve come across some parents that shouldn’t be out there!
10 is about right I think. Some kids may need to be a bit older and some would be ready sooner. I have twins that are 10 and an 8 year old. My 8 year old isn't ready to hunt yet. He comes with us but he isn't there yet. It was good for him to see his big brothers have some success and put some time in. We had a helluva year this year and the boys killed almost everything they could....this was the first season they could hunt but they have been going with me since they were 3-4 years old. I think that is key. Get em out there with you as early as possible. You probably won't kill a bunch but your planting the seed and its important for them to know Dad wants to spend time with them. Heres a pic of one of the twins with his first bear last spring.
Cnelk-don't get me started! WI has changed so many things in the last 5 years it's hard to keep track of! They have been screwing up big time. IMO they've wrecked our tradition of deer hunting and gun season in particular.
It all started with CWD years ago. First they tried to wipe out the whole deer herd in infected areas (bad move) that didn't work it still was discovered elsewhere, only killed tons of deer and there were literally piles and piles of deer carcass's filled into huge dumpsters all over. Then they gave ALOT of doe tags to try and cut the herd down all over. Then we had 2 really bad winters and alot of deer died in the north. Many deer camps gave up and split up because of seeing no deer for many years. These camps of friends, family, and hunting partners moved on. Pretty sad. Other things they have changed recently......no back tags, no more tagging your kill, no age minimum, xbows in bow season, wear pink if you want (instead of orange for gun season), took away wolf hunt (feds did that). This is a partial list. I'm sure if you talk to any serious WI hunter, they will say our deer season has turned into a circus. The people making these laws don't even hunt or don't hunt much.
It's not all bad though. The northern herd is starting to come back. We hope to hunt wolves in the next few years. And we still have a pretty long bow season. Just frustrating with all these new laws. They make it easier for poachers that's for sure
The only reason my kids are hunting now and not doing the more status quo suburban kid things is because of the KS and NE hunting liberal rules. I have been able to take them to KS and NE to hunt deer and turkeys since they were 9 years old. If we would of had to wait here in CO until they turned 12 I can guarantee they would not have any interest in hunting. CO's 12 year old big game rule is out dated but they're now past that age where they are shut out.
I think a minimum age of 9 would be good but that's obviously based off my experience. My kids have hunted with me since they were 4. I however don't think they were mature enough to shoot a weapon and humanely harvest an animal until 8 or 9 years old.