That's a good question and I have to admit that I'm 51% against, 49% for it. I suspect tradition makes up part of my opinion, safety makes up the other part. If adults would stay with the kids that they take hunting, to teach them through experience, like it is suppose to be it would be acceptable to me. The MDNR has suggested in past years to remove the 14 year old age limit but some organizations were not to keen on the idea. This should be an interesting post to push me to one side or the other, even my opinion can be swayed with reasoning and rational comments.
I agree with boher. It is a fine line as to yes or no. I do believe that the parent is the determining factor. Since they are the ones that make most of the decisions and teaching to the youngsters. The problem is are all parents able to responsably teach their children? My answer is no. So should we take this right away from the good parents and children?
real good question. I think you should also look at size of the child, to large or long of gun is a safty concern. I dont have a problem with 12 as long as that child can handle the weapon. I'm sure a 12 yr old could handle a 30/30 or a .410 but a 20 ga or 12 ga may have to much kick. Not a gun "expert" so not to sure about rifle's(shotgunner). I have let my son shoot a number of guns from the age of about 10 or 11, single only.I too agree with "is the parent responsible" enough to insure that child is using the right size gun for him/her. You can really get hurt with the wrong type of EQ. just my thoughts.
Good question. It's interested that the parent's involvement and influence seems to be a big part of the issue mentioned here. It's probably safe to say that with the right level of maturity (and physical size to handle enough gun), even a ten year with proper guidance could be a responsible hunter. The problem is that there is no easy way to determine either so age will probably continue to be a guide for determining some level of maturity to hunt deer with a gun. Since there are other hunting opportunities for 12 year olds to get exposed to the sport and get comfortable with weapons, waiting until they are fourteen to hunt deer with a high powered rifle or slug in a twelve gauge seems a reasonable age with the limited exposure I have had to kids this age. I know I really looked forward to it after hunting pats with a shotgun (Dad started me with a single shot) and shooting cans with a .22, prepping for the "big day". Just my opinion.
I would be in favor of changing the age to 12 for the following reasons:
1) Youth are already allowed to hunt small-game with a firearm when they are 12
2) A .22 rimfire and a 12 gauge are commonly used by youth for small-game hunting. While I understand and appreciate the safety concerns behind a youth waiting until s/he is 14 to firearm deer hunt, both the .22 and the 12 gauge will kill a person just as quickly as any deer rifle.
3) Youth may legally archery hunt for big-game when they are 12, and a bow is certainly a deadly weapon.
4) I am in favor of anything that involves getting kids started hunting.
Several other states allow big-game hunting by youth aged 12; and some even allow younger! I cannot overemphasize enough how imperative it is that in order for this to work, parents must properly supervise theri children!
My feelings are that the vast majority of kids would handle the responsibility accordingly. Kids usually do what we expect of them: If our standards are high; they strive to meet our expectations. Likewise, I feel if we give the impression that 'they aren't old enough to handle the responsibility' they'll seek acceptance and approval elsewhere.
It seems a double-standard to tell a kid they're old enough at 12 to handle a 20-gauge loaded with #7 1/2 shot; and yet they aren't ready to handle the responsibilities of the same weapon loaded with a slug until they're 14.
Either a kid is old enough at 12 yrs. to handle the responsibilities of a firearm..... or not. In my opinion, that decision is best left-up to mom and Dad.
And lets admit it: We ALL have known adults who shouldn't have been afield with a firearm!
Using a firearm is a big responsibility, unfortunatly many parents don't want to take the time to teach their children or find someone else to teach them the proper way to handle firearms.
I coach soccer(son and daughter), baseball and hockey, many parents don't stay for practices - "don't have time, We're very busy", some don't even stay for games(is it illegal to cuff these people upside the head?). I really doubt that type of parent is going to make any effort to get their child to a Hunter safety course. The parents who do make the effort are probably the ones who would teach safety first even without the class or find someone who could pass that knowledge on to their child. I don't think the question should be how ready is the child as much as have the parents made the child ready. I know 10-11yr olds that have the ability to handle a firearm and hunt in a safe manner and I know 30-40yr olds that shouldn't be allowed in the same county as a firearm. Set a competency test instead of an age, I'd even vote for it to include everyone the first year and anyone who hasn't taken it would have to pass it to get their first/next license.
Until we come up with a way to better educate/regulate who wanders through the woods with a firearm, I'm glad I hunt a big piece of private with limited access.
It's a good question, i have a son that gonna turn 14 real soon and he's itching to go with me this next firearm season. Where i hunt it's private land i feel very fortunate to have this gift (to hunt freely) and I'm looking forward to the day my son get's his first deer out there with me. He's been out there with me a few times now and we go to the ranges alot, so he know's about safety and such.
So far, everyone seems to be in agreement that parent involvement is the determining factor to this question. I agree. The toughest part of teaching kids to hunt, is that you have to give up your normal way of deer hunting.
Here's my suggestion. Let 12 and 13 year olds hunt deer in the firearm season ONLY if they're with an UNARMED parent or gardian. This is how the youth hunts at Shiawassee Federal Refuge are done and it's a good program. The parent acts like an outfitter/guide and is not distracted or tempted to wonder off to hunt on his own.
I've done this hunt with my sons and it works; I even had a lot of fun.
Put the responsability on the attending parent/guardian by having them sign for the tag and agree to hunt this way whenever the kid is hunting. Any infraction goes against the signing adult. It's sort of like "force feeding" parents to be real parents.
parental involvement should be a must.i am lucky enough to live in a state that does not restrict age limits on hunters. as each child should be evaluated on his own merits of maturaty and abilities.my stepson tj is 11 and this year he was allowed to hunt squirrel , dove and rabbit with a shotgun.the first two i was always within an arms distance of his gun.even though he had been shooting clays all summer at the gun club and is very safety concious.when we went rabbit hunting i split off about twenty yards away and instructed from a distance and he took two rabbits in about 45 minutes thanks to our beagle.now just as he had worked up to the forty pound minimum on his compound bow and was looking to go deer hunting he brought home a f on his report card and all his outdoors/shooting equipment were put up!but back on the honor role with the last report card will earn him a couple more rabbit hunts this year and as long as he does what he is suppose to do:school, chores and behavoir he will bow hunt and gun hunt deer next year at 12.i am thankful to not have a state determining when my stepson should hunt!!!! please forgive me for this indulgence but im very proud of this little hunter
[This message has been edited by bonasabuster (edited 01-27-2001).]
I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this situation.
When I was 12 I was ready to hunt deer with a firearm, but because of the law I couldn't. I had to tuff it out and wait the two years (actually 3 because of an injury). Although I wanted to be out there as much as the next kid at the age of 12 lets face it, some people are down right completely irresponsible. Most see firearms for what they are capable of but some just refuse to think about the effects of their actions. Such examples would include shooting at an animal on the horizon having no idea where the bullet will end up, using the spray and pray method at a running deer with no thought of shot placement, etc. It is hard to weed out those youth who are ready to hunt with a firearm for deer at the age 12 from those that should wait a few years till they mature a little more.
I would have to disagree on this one. I think 14 yrs old is a good idea. When your 12, u don't really care. I know when I was 12 I didnt care and there sort of careless. My brother for an example is very careless. Once he shot a arrow straight up on my back yard and when it came down it grazed my dog. He didnt care and he couldnt admit he was wrong. Now would u want tomeone like him in the woods. I sure as hell wouldn't.
Stelmon, the only one.
Becareful out there..
When I started hunting the minimum age for small game was 10. I felt at the time and still do that that was not too young. I'm not sure though that I have an issue with 14 for deer. Actually I think 14 makes sense for both bow and firearm.
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