What is the Right Age to Start Hunting?

As a child, going hunting with my dad was something I looked forward to with great anticipation. He had taken me out several times, just to tag along. I never got to partake in the actual shooting, I just got be a spectator. I remember going with him often. I remember envying my brothers because they got to actually handle the gun when they would go. However, when I was 8 years old, that all changed. My dad let me shoot a deer! I was thrilled. It was as though everything had suddenly changed.

Those fall trips ignited a fascination and passion for the outdoors that still burns deep inside of me today. At an early age, I could easily identify the different types of trees and various animal tracks in the woods. Hunting and the outdoors served as a classroom that taught me about the inner workings of nature and the cycle of life. Without question, hunting has been an invaluable parenting tool and is directly responsible for keeping children far away from negative influences.

Unfortunately, state laws, along with parents and some gun control advocates, think that hunting isn’t something our youth should be participating in today. Gun violence, aggravated crime, and accidental shootings have given hunting a poor reputation and are driving more and more people away from letting their children hunt. Not to mention those who say hunting can damage a child mentally due to the disturbing images they can see when a life is taken.-

All the hype and worry about children has got me to thinking about what age is appropriate to take a child on their first hunt?

Now, I’m not talking about unsupervised hunts, I’m talking about you taking your child on a hunt. A lot of states set laws concerning this matter. Some parents do not have a choice. However, for those that do and their state will allow for a young child to hunt while accompanied by an adult, I think this is an opportunity to take advantage of.

The government thinks that hunting is something that can be judged based upon age, like driving a car or being legal to buy your own rated R movie ticket. In my opinion, states should not be allowed to place inappropriate age limits on hunting. This is a decision that should be made at home by parents and not some outsider with a personal agenda. In today’s fanatical world, video games, internet and television can ruin a child’s chances of developing a genuine interest for hunting and the outdoors. These age limits are detrimental to the future of hunting.

Children themselves are pretty good indicators of whether or not they are ready to hunt. When a child can set still, be quiet long enough, obey his parents and show sound judgment around firearms or other weapons, this is a pretty good sign that they may be ready for hunting. You know your child better than anyone else, and I feel we as parents, should be allowed to make this decision.

I believe when children are raised around firearms and they are taught to respect them and how dangerous they can be it makes them a lot more careful than those who are never allowed around them. Children who are raised around hunting and the outdoors are also more likely to show respect to both. I think if all precautions are taken to teach children how to safely handle a gun, and as long as you are alert and present, age shouldn’t be the lone factor in deciding when your child should be allowed to accompany you on a hunting trip.

I think that, 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 do you think the signs are that a youngster is ready to hunt?

Jul 26, 2013 | Category: Blog, For Parents | Comments: 1


One comment on “What is the Right Age to Start Hunting?

  1. Laurie Lee

    I really enjoyed this.

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