Why not age 10 for youth?
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
WYOelker 04-Mar-21
4nolz@work 04-Mar-21
Pat Lefemine 04-Mar-21
Brotsky 04-Mar-21
Glunt@work 04-Mar-21
Rocky D 04-Mar-21
LKH 04-Mar-21
smarba 04-Mar-21
Keith 04-Mar-21
Scoot 04-Mar-21
Bake 04-Mar-21
WYOelker 04-Mar-21
Lawdy 04-Mar-21
wildwilderness 04-Mar-21
Woods Walker 04-Mar-21
Catscratch 04-Mar-21
JohnMC 04-Mar-21
skipmaster1 04-Mar-21
Griz 04-Mar-21
LINK 04-Mar-21
Pat Lefemine 04-Mar-21
StickFlicker 04-Mar-21
dakotaduner 04-Mar-21
WYOelker 04-Mar-21
Dave B 04-Mar-21
GF 04-Mar-21
Glunt@work 04-Mar-21
ELK ELSEWHERE 04-Mar-21
SBH 04-Mar-21
MathewsMan 04-Mar-21
Two Feathers 04-Mar-21
Rgiesey 04-Mar-21
Matt 05-Mar-21
Glunt@work 05-Mar-21
pappy 05-Mar-21
DanaC 05-Mar-21
Woods Walker 05-Mar-21
Rocky D 05-Mar-21
Candor 05-Mar-21
Rocky D 05-Mar-21
Rocky D 05-Mar-21
Rocky D 05-Mar-21
Rocky D 05-Mar-21
Toonces 05-Mar-21
Bob H in NH 05-Mar-21
Hancock West 05-Mar-21
JohnMC 05-Mar-21
Woods Walker 05-Mar-21
Keith 05-Mar-21
Swampbuck 05-Mar-21
4nolz@work 05-Mar-21
Swampbuck 05-Mar-21
GF 06-Mar-21
Charlie Rehor 06-Mar-21
Woods Walker 06-Mar-21
W 07-Mar-21
Toomanybows Bob 07-Mar-21
From: WYOelker
04-Mar-21
Not necessarily for bowhunting, but what objections would you have to lowering the hunting age to 10 for big game assuming your state currently requires youth to be 12 years old?

Specifically, how would it hurt hunting, management, etc.?

From: 4nolz@work
04-Mar-21
Probably safety issues

From: Pat Lefemine
04-Mar-21

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
My son Matt’s first at 8
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
My son Matt’s first at 8
It’s an interesting question; is there an age that’s too young?

My boys killed their first big game animals at 9 at Shiloh Ranch. And that was with a compound not a crossbow.

But every once in a while I’ll see a show on OC where some dad has his 5 year old shooting an animal after he’s done playing with toys in the blind. I don’t know what to think of it.

My sons were ready at 9. But no earlier than that.

From: Brotsky
04-Mar-21
No concerns for me. Should be up to the parent.

From: Glunt@work
04-Mar-21
It should be the parents decision. Some aren't ready at age 18, some are ready younger than 12.

From: Rocky D
04-Mar-21
Why an age if accompanied by an adult?

From: LKH
04-Mar-21
I took firearms walking out through town when I was 9 or 10.

I remember what we did and I think being able to hunt at 10 is not a problem as long as they are in direct contact with an adult.

The reason I think that way is because I do remember. As a parent you need to recognize that what your child does in your presence may not be what they do when alone. Remember, they are very young and make decisions on impulse much of the time.

From: smarba
04-Mar-21
IMO it all depends on the kid. Some are ready by 5 some not until 25 LOL. Some of it also depends on the parent. Our daughter started (rifle) at 9 and has hunted every year since. She's been practicing with bow and last 2 seasons she's taken bow afield for spring turkey but we haven't gotten the birds to cooperate.

Here in NM if you can pass Hunter's Safety you're good to hunt (no age) but they are trying to change it to 12. I think that's a travesty because by age 12 we may be losing a hunter regarding a kid's interest. I like the "no age limit". If a kid has the interest and dedication to study and sit through Hunter's Safety and can pass the test they are ready.

From: Keith
04-Mar-21
I think the parent is more important than the age of the child. The parent needs to take responsibility and know when the child is ready. The child needs to be mature enough to know what it is to take the life of an animal, and only the parent could know that.

From: Scoot
04-Mar-21
Well said, Keith! I agree with virtually everything above. MN used to be 12, but now it's 10 with an adult. I like that cut off (if there is to be a cut off). No doubt some kids are ready before then (and, as was said above, some much later in life), but 10 seems reasonable. I don't hate 12 either, but I do agree with smarba that might be a little later for some.

From: Bake
04-Mar-21
Kid dependent for sure. My daughter is 8 and we're gonna try to kill a turkey this year. I'm not quite sure she's ready, but we're gonna try it.

From: WYOelker
04-Mar-21
Thanks guys. I agree with most everything posted. Especially with the idea that a parent should have the say, and not some arbitrary number set by the government.

I have a daughter who is 14 and a son 11. I feel that waiting to 12 is a deterrent to recruitment. Simply put at age 12 we had one season where hunting was not in competition with everything else. The following year hunting was up against middle school sports, dances, choir, drama etc. The end result was hunting is a thing she might do, but if there is anything else she is out the door. Which may have still happened, but at age 10, I would have had 3 years of experience and 3 years of tradition and 3 years to set expectations. Which may have resulted in more focus on hunting. She still hunts, but only wants 1 tag a year and wants to only hunt a few days each year. Which is a success, but she even said that had she been able to hunt at 10 she would likely want to hunt even more now.

Given the situation with my daughter, I decided to try things different with my son. Last year when he was 10, I learned about the MT mentor program. So I applied and drew a general deer tag. Which allowed him to purchase a general deer tag as well. The end result was a great time for all and there was nothing that competed with the hunt. This fall we are going to try the same thing and again this fall there will not be anything competing. The following year he will be in football and middle school and we will start to see competing activities.

I feel at age 10 we have a better chance at recruiting and keeping life long hunters. Even if we limit them to only deer and lopes.

From: Lawdy
04-Mar-21
We were not allowed to use guns until 12. There was no hunters safety course back then, our fathers and grandfathers handled that. Bows were allowed at any age, my first was at 4 or 5. Once my grandfather deemed me capable, I was tracking deer with a rifle alone on our farm at 13. We were farm kids and that was the norm. I was trying to kill a deer at 10. I would sit by myself after school in my grandfather’s orchard with a #35 lemonwood longbow.

04-Mar-21
I think there is more to it than just age.

For Western states with very limited Draws and game, I have noticed the age is higher- look at Utah for example where you have to be 14 to put in for limited/OIL tags.

The best way to deal with Youth opportunity and limited Resources would be allowing Parents/Guardians to “share” their tag with their underage child. AK and AZ already allows that in certain ways. It doesn’t take more permits away, and makes the adult dedicated to give their chance to the child.

I do think it’s important to get kids interested in hunting at a younger age if they are ready for it.

From: Woods Walker
04-Mar-21
If you're hunting on private land and not public, then the government has no say in what you determine your child's readiness to hunt or fish or whatever is. My daughter was shooting firearms and bows when she was 8. Of course I was standing beside her the whole time and handing her rounds/arrows one at a time. The government is the very LAST place I'd go to seek advice about how to raise my child!!!!

From: Catscratch
04-Mar-21
It was against the law for me to bowhunt until I was 14. I saw it as a "right of passage". Kind of like sweet 16, 18, 21, etc. Certain ages are landmarks. I practiced and dreamed of the day I could bowhunt for 2yrs. It was such a sweet fruit to reach that age, I will never forget my first bowhunt after lusting for it so long. I think it's sometimes a good thing for a person to have to wait for something instead of getting it as soon as they want it. With that said, the laws have changed and both my boys were killing deer before 14.

From: JohnMC
04-Mar-21
I'd like to see no limit to hunt big game but must be with in arms length of an adult to a certain age. My daughter started hunting with me at age 6 in NE for turkeys. If you have to wait until they are 12 I think you missed a lot of chance to introduce a kid to hunting. In CO it is 12 for big game but not for small game. I think that is dumb. Most small game involves walking around trying to shoot at moving animals vs big game that mostly involves sitting and waiting for 1 shot. My daughter who is know 18 I carried and controlled the firearm for the most part her first few years. But those early years are great times to let gun safety and ethics really sink in because once they become teenage they think know everything a lot more than they do when they are a few years younger.

From: skipmaster1
04-Mar-21
There should be no minimum age for mentored hunting.

From: Griz
04-Mar-21
Really depends on the emotional maturity of any given child. Some parents can't make that call because they are over anxious to get the kid's hands bloody even if the kid isn't ready for, or understands, the experience. I could have handled it at 9 or 10 but had to wait until I was 12. Didn't kill me to wait. Teaching Hunter Education for over 10 years showed me that some 12 year olds are not ready for it.

From: LINK
04-Mar-21
My oldest daughter was ready emotionally/mentally at 8, physically ready at 10. If you have a minimum 40# for large game, 35# for deer then I don’t know why age would matter. I know a kid that’s in high school now that was pulling over 50# and killed his first at 7 but he’s a serious competition shooter and will be on the pro circuit before long.

From: Pat Lefemine
04-Mar-21
I agree with the overall sentiment as well. But I also remember the anticipation of hitting that landmark age and then getting to hunt when I was 14 - a long time ago. And by then nothing could keep me away from bowhunting.

But there's another twist to this and that happened to my buddy; He had his kid out at 10 and he wounded a deer, bad, then tried again and the kid was so psyched out from his previous wound that he wounded again. Kids' now 16 and has no interest in hunting. Now, it's possible the dad pushed him too quickly and it was a very bad experience for him, or maybe he would have dropped out anyway? But that Dad tells me all the time that he now believes he started him too young and it was just too stressful and left a lasting negative impression on him.

From: StickFlicker
04-Mar-21
I believe the age for big game in Arizona is 10 years old, if you have completed a hunter's safety class. Twelve years old if not.

From: dakotaduner
04-Mar-21
Very good discussion. Had a friend in hunter safety class years ago with me. We both passed and yet and the end of class the instructor advised the parent of my friend that he felt the kid was not mature enough. I agree to this day about him.

From: WYOelker
04-Mar-21
Pat has an interesting point. If they are not emotionally ready, then it could cause more harm than good. That is true of any new hunter at any age. So that is a concern, but as pointed out, that is the parents responsibility to determine... Just sucks when you have 10 year old ready, but the only options are out of state...

From: Dave B
04-Mar-21
My older daughter was ready by 11. My son 10. Depends on the kid. My youngest is 7 and she's almost there, actually chomping at the bit.

From: GF
04-Mar-21
Overzealous parents can be a problem in any activity, but this one is more loaded than most… and I can definitely see how making a poor hit on your first animal could turn a kid off.

I started tagging along on duck hunts with my older brother and my dad when I was probably eight or nine. Got my hunter safety card when I was 12 and got my first shotgun for my 13th birthday, which was of course after all the seasons were closed for the year as I recall… So I didn’t ever get a chance to actually hunt until I was closer to 14. That did not dampen my enthusiasm for it one iota.

Nor did the fact that back then we figured an outing that resulted in one duck making its way home with us was a roaring success. And I never had an opportunity to go after deer until I was out of college. I have a nephew who is a couple of years out of college now and has begun to tagalong with another of his uncles on dove and Elk hunts on CO, and we think he is pretty well hooked. Probably not shocking, given that the kid is an Eagle Scout and has spent plenty of time outside in his life, but hunting was something that was simply outside of his dad‘s repertoire.

I suppose the long and short is that I learned very early that Going Hunting is about a whole lot more than just Killing Stuff. So I don’t really buy into the whole idea that kids need to “succeed” in tagging out quickly. That just seems to me to cultivate an expectation of instant gratification in everything that they do. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

And JMO… A kid who needs an electronic device to keep him “interested” is not ready to be Hunting. If simply being out there with the anticipation of an animal coming within range isn’t gripping enough to keep the kids attention? They’re just not into it. If the only part that they’re really interested in is the killing part, I’m not sure how that is a healthy point of view.

From: Glunt@work
04-Mar-21

Glunt@work's embedded Photo
Glunt@work's embedded Photo
As for the benefits of building up to a "landmark age", I agree but with my kids that age was set by me. I have no reason or need for the State to be involved in that decision.

04-Mar-21

ELK ELSEWHERE's embedded Photo
My daughters, each at age 15. (3 different years)
ELK ELSEWHERE's embedded Photo
My daughters, each at age 15. (3 different years)
Depends on the parents and the kid. For my 3 daughters the magic age was 12, that’s when they could actually shoot good. My nephews started at age 10, they were ready then.

From: SBH
04-Mar-21
Idaho and MT have mentored hunts for 10 year olds. Turkey/bear/deer in Idaho and deer/turkey in MT. Then when 12 they can do it all. My kids were ready.

From: MathewsMan
04-Mar-21
Some great insights. My old neighbor took his son to Africa before his 14th Birthday and he shot something like 32 animals and now he’s older and not interested in hunting much. I think it depends on the kids maturity and interest. I have seen several 8 and 10 year olds with great Rams and part of me thinks that is great and another that they may have little appreciation for the accomplishment.

From: Two Feathers
04-Mar-21

Two Feathers's embedded Photo
Two Feathers's embedded Photo
Here in Wisconsin the law says "any age" but until 14 and completed hunter education they have to be mentored. I mentored my grandson and he took his first deer at age 9. I took my granddaughter on her first deer hunt at age 10. When the moment of truth arrived with a buck standing in front of us she said "Grandpa I can't shoot it. I can't kill it." Different strokes for different folks.

From: Rgiesey
04-Mar-21
My boys were ready at 8 girls were fine with 12. All shot compounds I’ve 40#.

From: Matt
05-Mar-21
Safety issues no doubt. Approximately half the parents in the world are of below average intelligence, and I am OK with the regulations not being based on their assessment of their child's level of responsibility.

From: Glunt@work
05-Mar-21
1/2 the people in government have intelligence below the average of members of government. I'm pretty comfortable with making my own decision for my family.

From: pappy
05-Mar-21

pappy's embedded Photo
pappy's embedded Photo
my Grandaughter age 6 with her first whitetail with her father. they were sitting in a blind with table and chair and the gun was in position resting on sand bags.

From: DanaC
05-Mar-21
The law is someone's 'best guess' abut when the 'average' youth is 'mature enough.' Like any statistical average, there are outliers in both directions. I've seen 10 year olds who were ready, and 40 year olds who were unsafe, un-sportsman-like, immature jackasses.

That said, a youngster who is not legally of age can still be encouraged to shoot, learn woodsmanship, animal behavior and biology, etc.

From: Woods Walker
05-Mar-21
What's next, some incapable, incompetent government hack telling me when I can teach my child to read? Or do I have to wait until my child goes to school? (IF they ever open them again!!) And then they can only read what the government approves of? Or how about riding a bike? Or a horse?

From: Rocky D
05-Mar-21
What is driving minimum age requirement for accompanied youth?

You don’t need to make laws that doesn’t address a legal problem unless it is for safety. Is their a a bunch of accompanied youth having accidents or shooting people? If not, there is not the precedent to establish a minimum age law!

From: Candor
05-Mar-21
An age limit for kids hunting is govt overreach. I started when I was 6 with a .410 for doves and my son missed his first deer at 8 from nerves. Insane to limit the number of years that a kid can hunt with their parents. Let parents raise their own kids.

Now pushing kids to hunt at too young of an age is stupid too. But let parents make the decisions.

From: Rocky D
05-Mar-21
Make a minimum age law and then I will make another law of what age can they accompany you if you they are not hunting.

Once the lawmakers make laws they will continue to tweak those laws and the question will come up of do we need to make it less restrictive, more restrictive, or do we need another law all together!

A good society is a self governing society.

From: Rocky D
05-Mar-21
Make a minimum age law and then I will make another law of what age can they accompany you if you they are not hunting.

Once the lawmakers make laws they will continue to tweak those laws and the question will come up of do we need to make it less restrictive, more restrictive, or do we need another law all together!

A good society is a self governing society.

From: Rocky D
05-Mar-21
Make a minimum age law and then I will make another law of what age can they accompany you if you they are not hunting.

Once the lawmakers make laws they will continue to tweak those laws and the question will come up of do we need to make it less restrictive, more restrictive, or do we need another law all together!

A good society is a self governing society.

From: Rocky D
05-Mar-21

From: Toonces
05-Mar-21
I think kids should start with small game firearms and work their up the ladder. I don't see the benefit of starting off kids on big game personally.

From: Bob H in NH
05-Mar-21
My "youth" direct experience was in MA when I was growing up, at the time there really wasn't a minimum age, but to young to get a license (16?) meant you went with Dad, shared the gun and the limit. I remember walking behind him while he had the gun and I remember walking infront of him when I had it. This was bird hunting and first pheasant I had a chance at, was flushed somewhere else and flew past us, I just watched it fly by for some reason :-)

On to NH when I was the Dad, youth can hunt with you, their own gun/limit, but under your "direct control" (for whatever that means), there's also youth weekends when only the kids hunt.

I agree with most others, should be up to the parent, but that assumes the parent is reading the kid right, just because a kid wants to go doesn't mean they are ready!. The videos of a 6 year old in the blind, then shooting a deer CLEARLY not knowing what they are doing, but Dad is helping, those hit me wrong.

then there's the parents how use it to extend their limit. I know a guy in NH who took his 5 year old on youth turkey weekend and he shot the bird with her in his lap, but hey, she was "hunting"

When done by good parents, reading it right, then yes the parent should make the call. States add minimums to "help"

From: Hancock West
05-Mar-21
My son son has killed 3 whitetail deer & a giant hog. He hunted in the stand with myself since he was 5years old but didn't shoot until he was 9. Every kid is different but mine was more than ready at 9yrs old.

From: JohnMC
05-Mar-21
Rocky I wish I had 10% of the faith in government you do. But I don't so I think your idea is terrible for that reason. I am not suggesting a 5-6 years old should be handed a gun and left for themselves to hunt. But if a parent wants to take them as the hunter or just tagging along the government should not make a law to stop that.

From: Woods Walker
05-Mar-21
"I think kids should start with small game firearms and work their up the ladder. I don't see the benefit of starting off kids on big game personally."

AGREE! I started trapping when I was 12, small game hunting when I was 14, and deer at 16. The woods time I had trapping and small game hunting made me more than ready to hunt deer, and when I was in my early 20's I knew more about deer hunting (tracking, reading sign, etc.) than most guys who'd only deer hunted for much of their lives. The more woods time you have, the better hunter you'll be. Small game gave me 3+ months of hunting a year as opposed to a few weeks of deer only.

My theme song........

"Well, I grew up wild and free Walkin' these fields in my bare feet There wasn't no place I couldn't go With a twenty-two rifle and a fishing pole."

.........Don Williams, Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy

From: Keith
05-Mar-21
Michigan removed the age requirement a few years ago. The first couple years had dads buying tags for their newborns. Since then, an adjustment was made to the law stating that the youth had to be able to effectively use his equipment.

From: Swampbuck
05-Mar-21
What is the definition of big game? Florida big game, I guess would be deer, hogs and gators. Then you have the offshore big game fish. If you’re a responsible parent or mentor, it’s up to you regarding age, as long as it’s legal in your state. Just my 2cents for what it’s worth

From: 4nolz@work
05-Mar-21
OP please clarify if you mean hunting alone

From: Swampbuck
05-Mar-21

Swampbuck's embedded Photo
Swampbuck's embedded Photo
My youngest took his first big game animal ( 167# hog) at almost 9. Lots of practice and safety with firearms from an early age. Starting at 5, with the red rider and moving up from there. .243/96yds=167#boar. Use your experience and knowledge will let you when they’re ready to hunt, they will let you know also, lol

From: GF
06-Mar-21
I do think that one important effect of a minimum age requirement is to keep parents from just filling extra tags because they can. Probably to a lot of people, it just doesn’t seem reasonable to believe that kids who are five or six or seven are actually doing anything resembling “Hunting“ of their own.

And honestly, if you have to tell your kid to put down the Barbie doll because it’s time to pull the trigger… That kid is NOT Hunting.

06-Mar-21
There’s no age limit on getting kids in the woods. They learn much from example so my preference is no weapon for an appropriate numbers of years. Why rush? What’s the upside? The number of years and age is best decided by the parents. My son watched me kill 25-30 deer before he ever hunted and he is a way better hunter than me now at age 40. Glad to see this thread and interest in getting youth involved.

From: Woods Walker
06-Mar-21
"The number of years and age is best decided by the parents."

BINGO!

From: W
07-Mar-21
My son shot at 2 deer at 6 years old and killed 2 deer. By ten years, he had killed around 30 deer, including a 150” after school buck. Sat on the stand by himself at 11 and killed deer. He was always a calm and mature kid. Never understood the 12 year old limit stuff.

07-Mar-21
You may forget that in many, if not most states the young person has to pass a Hunter Safety Course. Not many 6 year olds can do that. TMBB

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