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Wisconsin May Lower Hunting Age to 10 — Yes, 10

By Amy Kuras |

kidsandhuntingRespectfully, Wisconsin, I have to ask: Are you people frickin’ NUTS??

The state Senate has voted to lower the hunting age, the firearms hunting age, to 10. Yes, one decade old. As in, let’s give a ten-year-old a large lethal weapon and send him out into the woods.

I’ve gone through a bit of an evolution in my attitude towards hunting: I don’t do it and think it’s a pretty lame way to spend time, but I have friends who are hunters and understand the argument that if they didn’t hunt, deer would overbreed to the point of starvation. Also, I eat meat and certainly think killing an animal who’s lived its life out in the woods where it belongs is a whole lot more humane than cramming them into feedlots so I can have a cheap burger.

But the idea of saying, “Here, fifth grader, take this ginormous gun and shoot something with it” doesn’t seem all that smart. The bill requires only that a “mentor” be within “arm’s reach.” Which, if it’s a concerned father or uncle proudly passing on the family tradition of hunting to his child, okay…but I have heard enough deer camp stories to worry about that particular wording.

I understand that people who hunt love to do it and probably look forward to the day they can bring their kids out with them…but much like driving or drinking, I think this particular rite of passage can wait a little longer than a kid’s tenth birthday.

In the interest of fairness, here’s an opposing view.

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22 thoughts on “Wisconsin May Lower Hunting Age to 10 — Yes, 10

  1. Twyla says:

    Ahh, there is nothing better than getting hunting opinions from people who live in “the urban stew of Detroit.” Maybe we should both agree that this is not your subject of expertise. I live in a rural community full of hunters. I am not one of them. We don’t own guns in my family nor do we make sport of killing things. That being said, I have many friends that do. I would rather people legally teach kids how to hunt than sneak guns into a kids hands in a dangerous situation.

  2. ChiLaura says:

    So what? Are you implying that kids who know how to hunt are somehow more violent than kids who don’t? Do you just not like the idea of a 10 y/o killing something? I fail to see what, exactly, the big deal is. Let them hunt.

  3. Janet says:

    Just like cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles, etc. – a gun is a lethal weapon in the hands of a child who does not have the maturity or critical thinking skills to handle potential emergencies.

  4. puasamanda says:

    The only thing that could make my husband happier would be if Michigan followed suit :) Actually, he would probably say “they should have gone for eight!”

    I truly think it comes down to parenting/mentoring responsibility. Hunting is a privilege (and yeah, hunters would berate me for not saying it is their “right”), and it should be treated as such…and I am not talking about the kids here. I am talking about the adults who are guiding a kid through his or her first hunting experience. As long as they keep in mind that hunting is not for every kid, and let the child provide the cues as to his or her interest level (i.e., not PUSHING!), then I think ten is just fine. My hubby was accompanying (at his request) his male relatives along on scouting trips, to deer camp, and on woods-rambling forays long before his tenth birthday. By the time he was old enough to participate in the youth-hunting season here in Michigan…or in other words, to handle a gun…he had already developed a healthy respect for firearms, a wealth of knowledge about firearm safety, and the self-reflection required to know if he really wanted to hunt or not.

    Also, keep in mind that the bill doesn’t just require that a mentor be within arms reach – it also requires a hunter’s safety course to be completed before a license can be issued. That goes for hunters of any age.

    Although I just “don’t get it,” hubby is still an avid hunter, and I know he is hoping against hope that our son (due next month) will be interested as well. I can also be confident that if this should turn out to be the case, my husband will be responsibly and reverently guiding our little guy through it – like any responsible hunter who loves the sport would.

  5. Stacey Cendrowski says:

    Regardless of how responsible a parent is in their “teaching” a child is taught to hunt, I think 10 years old is too young for a child to be allowed to hunt. Great if you want to take your child out to teach him some life lessons, but he does not need to carrying a large dangerous firearm at that young age! Accidents happen, even with adult hunters and I think this is just asking for more trouble.

  6. Shana says:

    Oh get a grip. In seventh grade one of my friends brought pictures of herself gutting the deer she shot with her dad because she was quite proud of her accomplishment. Hell, many of the kids from the area of Texas I lived in hunted as children and turned out fine. The problem starts when a parent does not teach their kids proper gun safety or just leaves guns wherever in their house.

  7. Knitty says:

    Get a grip yourself. A gun is a LETHAL WEAPON, and does not belong in the hands of a child for the same reasons we don’t allow 10-year-olds to drive cars. Sure, they’re physically capable of driving cars. They’d sure like to drive cars. But we don’t allow it because allowing school-age drivers would endanger both the child and the public.

  8. puasamanda says:

    A gun is indeed a lethal weapon, but we are not talking here about allowing a ten-year old to run around willy-nilly with a gun. We are talking about a structured, legal sport…in which it is required that participating youth be within arm’s reach of an adult at all times, and then only after completing mandated education regarding firearm safety. It also only allows one gun between the two hunters, youth and adult, so that the adult can remain completely focused on the youth and gun whenever the youth is the one handling the firearm. Also, even in states with large hunting populations and various hunting seasons, hunting accidents remain extremely rare in this country. Keep in mind that this is the case even in the 30 states which have no age restriction on hunting, making it legal (although not likely) for a child even younger than ten to hunt. It is far more likely that a child would be harmed by a gun in an act of violence, or accidentally inside of a home where responsible gun ownership is not being practiced, than in a structured, supervised environment like hunting.

  9. Manjari says:

    10 years old is way too young to be wielding a gun. I don’t understand why people see that as different from all the other things 10 yr. old children are not allowed to do. Children are not adults.

  10. Ben G. says:

    Minnesota actually past a law like this last year and it allows children at the age of 10 to go deer hunting with an adult and they can go Turkey and small game hunting at the age of 9. I persosaly think this is a great way to get kids involved in the sport of hunting. It also gives them two years with an adult to learn how to hunt and what to do out in the woods. vs at age 12 here you go sit in that tree over there and shoot a deer.

  11. TolaniLucia says:

    A ten year old with a gun is a scary idea.
    The parent who lets their 10 year old use a gun is even more scary. Yuck.

  12. Trudy A. says:

    Thanks so much for v. compelling, thought-provoking topic, opposing viewpoint etc. Honestly not a hunting family or a gun family or even a rural family (this year anyway), but think all the time about what if my son had a chance to learn real gun safety etc. Never having shot to death anything myself is probably a pretty steep barrier to entry for me as a parent, but it’s something I wonder about all the time since my son is kind of a play gun nut…

  13. [...] Wisconsin 10-year-olds! This gun’s for you! I’ve added “hunting” to the list of topics that get people riled up. Who [...]

  14. ginmartinez says:

    I feel that ten years of age is actually a little late to be learning about guns. The earlier a child is taught a healthy respect for firearms, the more likely he or she will be to use them properly. Due to growing up around hunting, my seven-year-old stepdaughter knows that the first rule is to treat every gun – even her BB gun – as if it is loaded.

    I can’t say the same for many adults. When crime spikes, the first thing many people (not all) do is buy a firearm for protection, or borrow one. Not knowing how to use a weapon makes people a huge danger to themselves and others.

    Yes, it is scary to think of a ten-year-old with a gun. But it’s even scarier to think of anyone around a weapon who hasn’t been properly taught to use and respect it.

    I don’t think the issue lies so much in the age at which a kid is legally allowed to hunt, but in the amount of supervision and instruction he or she is given while learning the sport.

  15. Julien says:

    NO i would HATE the idea of a 10yr old hunting with a lethal weapon.. My family is big into hunting we live in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin they are thinking of lowering it to 10! Yes i said 10 scary thought huh? I dont want to be the person who walks out in the woods and gets shot by a child who doesn’t know what he’s doing! In my family my kids have waited till they were 12 to hunt. I have a 10 year old that wants to hunt BADLY.. when i asked him about the hunting age and if he thought it should be lowered and he said “NO, DAD THATS THE CRAZIEST IDEA I’VE EVER HEARD!!” so even a 10 yr old thinks thats a STUPID idea. If you want to attract hunters then lower license prices..! Don’t put other hunters in danger of kids. Im sure some 10yr olds could do it, but i cant stress it enough, ITS A LOADED WEAPON that is very lethal. not some toy BB gun to mess around with. its sickening knowing that i might walk out in the woods someday and get shot by a CHILD! I think some 12yr olds dont have the maturity or are not ready to hunt. Im telling u right now if they lower this hunting age some Adults WILL STOP HUNTING!! so please Wisconsin dont screw up and let your long time hunters quit hunting..! If You agree with this statement please say agreed in your new segment.. i agree with all the other people who have said “NO, THATS JUST TOO YOUNG!!” POWER TO U PPL!!

  16. Julien says:

    O and one more thing to add, Dont u think a 30-06 of a .270 or a .300 would knock a child over??! i know it would!

  17. Steve M says:

    I think there are better things for you to worry about in MI besides what WI hunter are doing. Maybe you should focus instead on the giant sucking sound of jobs leaving your state.

    A 10 year old in a side by side tree stand with a .243, aiming down towards the ground at a deer less than 100 yards away with an adult there to allow the shot is less dangerous than being distracted while driving a mini van with four kids fighting over the DVD remote in the back.

  18. Hunting Guy says:

    10 is old enough to understand what’s right or wrong. it’s up to the older ones to guide them.

  19. Amy R says:

    Comments
    My children have all shot firearms-ages 3,5,6,8, and 11, of course in a controlled situation. Not all children are going to be ready at the same age. I know some 20 yr old adults that I would never go hunting with. For our family hunting is not an option. If you want to eat then you need to work for the food that you consume, that goes for gardening as well. I find it very strange to see how people have become so distant to the reality of where our food actually comes from. In our family we all know that you never go walking in the woods during hunting season without blaze on. Well with that being said I didn’t always live this way. I grew up on the south side of Milwaukee Wi. where in 3rd grade I had to walk through metal detectors before entering school, and actually witnessed the police take a gun away from a 4th grader entering school in line in front of me. Teaching our youth is the best gun control and knowing when they are ready- every child is different. A child who is inside all day watching tv and playing on myspace might not be able to grasp the concept of gun control or hunting at 10. A child that already knows how to earn what they have, and work hard for what they need and want, might understand at 10.

  20. William Johnson says:

    You are really an idiot with that stupid headline, implying they are going out themselves. It is with a mentor and one gun shared between. It is a way to learn safely. Why can’t you people ever state facts instead of skewing to fit your needs. Just because your Daddy didn’t spend time with you isn’t the fault of those who choose to teach their children how to hunt.

  21. Aleda K. says:

    First of all, people need to stop stereotyping. Not every 10 year old is an irresponsible, hyperactive idiot. Yes, there are some who would not be able to handle the excitement or responsibility involved with hunting. This is up to the parent to decide. I have a 6 year old daughter who has shown interest in hunting. I am looking forward to teaching her how to be a responsible hunter in the field. As it is now, my husband and I are teaching her through explaining some of the details of hunting when she asks. While I know she is simply too small to hunt now, I know that she will be responsible at a very early age, probably by 10 years old. :) If her behavior changes or she demonstrates that she is not as responsible as we thought, then we will hold off on the hunting. That’s part of being an involved parent. Besides that, I have seen adults who are completely immature who are allowed to hunt. They act WORSE than most 10 year old kids I know. The more exposure a child has to hunting and gun usage, the more responsible they will be. For those of you who will quit hunting if this law is passed: See ya! More game for those who love the sport and believe in continuing the legacy of hunting.

  22. deerhunter says:

    Comments yoos people up dere in Wissskonsin is wimps..Down here in Missoura our Dept of conservation knows how smart I is..I can gets my license at 6 yrs old so I donts has to take anyone with me..If you likes I can send lots of pics of me and my friends gettin deer

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