How Young Is Too Young (To Hunt)

Colorado Cowboy

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Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
We have guys saying that kids need to be able to pass hunter safety tests - I suggest that if the kid is ready, he or she can pass the test without the class. Along with the 12 yr old law, the state passed hunter safety class rules - I took the test at 10 without the class because I had earlier hunting licenses and easily passed, the shooting aspect was easy as well. It isn't rocket science and contains stuff that folks should be teaching their kids - safety, the legal laws, ethics, etc. I've taken the hunter safety class multiple times with folks over the past X years and the instructors do a good job. Where I'm going here is that it should be a reinforcement of knowledge, not a source.

Not gonna tell you how old a kid should be. That's a direct result of your efforts with your child and your child him or herself. If the kid has self control, listens & obeys and can follow directions without issues, and wants to go - seems like he or she is ready whether they be 6 or 60 years old. I enjoy seeing kids hunting with dad and/or mom.

Not gonna get into the whole "taking a life" or if an animal has a soul either. You teach your kids as you will. NRA mag has an interesting article on how folks view animals - 35% think animals are like people. That's gonna come into play in the future I'm sure.
I have to disagree with some of the things you say in the first paragraph. I taught Hunter Safety with my Dad for 25 years. We got some kids whose parents were not hunters and would never hunt. These kids had friends who were hunters and had to pass the test to be able to hunt with their friends and parents. In these cases it is the only SOURCE!

I was raised in California and never had to take Hunter Safety as it did not exist when I got my first Hunting License. After it became mandatory, anyone who already had a License did not have to take the class. You just needed to provide the existing license and number to the agent who recorded it and you paid for and got your license.
 

JimP

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Mar 28, 2016
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It would be nice if most of the states would standardize the hunter safety requirements. Here in Colorado if you were born before 1949 you are exempt, other states if you are older that 18 you are exempt, others say that you plain need it if you are under 18 or so but after that you don't.

When I moved to Colorado I had to retake hunter safety just for the reason that I didn't have a card anymore. Utah required it for me but my hunter safety number was on the license up until I was 21 I believe, but Colorado at the time required you to carry your card while you were hunting. Now in Colorado you can have the hunter safety verified and it will show verified on your license.
 

Rich M

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Oct 16, 2012
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Cowboy, you bring up a great point. Kids who don't have hunting parents...

How do we equate years of watching mom and dad, learning by participating in an 8-12 hour class?

All I can say is the kids whose parents included them since birth definitely have an advantage and are much more ready at an earlier age.
 

kidoggy

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Apr 23, 2016
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My personal opinion is that is a kid should not be hunting until they fully understand the weapon and the ramifications for using that weapon and the safety aspects of using a weapon. Hard to put a time-frame on it. But most kids truly dont understand what taking a life of an animal means until they are about 12 years old.

Some kids less than 12 some more than 12. Just depends on their upbringing.
I don't believe that at all. most kids understand a heck of a lot more then adults give them credit for .

heck , I understood it perfectly by 4 or so. of coarse ,I am exceptional in every way! have even been told so by those who despise me.;):LOL:


I believe one needs to look at how responsible the parents are with guns to help determine .teaching responsibility in a child , begins with the parents.
I have no issue with a 5 year old hunting with parent supervision
that said , I see no harm in making ALL pass a hunting ed class before they can obtiain their first license
 
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Rich M

Active Member
Oct 16, 2012
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Kidog. Another excellent post.

We need to encourage the kids, teach em, and show an excellent example.

My dad would rather not shoot, yet my uncle would shoot a doe w fawns in July. Who's example shines?

Who taught hunter safety? My uncle.

I've seen both sides of the fence and sadly, everyone is human and follows their upbringing. Dad would punish me for game violations.

I'd gladly accept a younger hunter under my wing. Would include government involment with NWR, shooting, how to hunt public land, and some western trips. Sadly haven't found one yet. Still looking.

Taking 2 newbies in 3 weeks (my hearing aid guy and his son), stepson (26 yo?) and wife in 4.
 
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GOSHENGRUNTER

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Jan 8, 2014
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Clermont County Ohio
Ohio, for all its wildlife management shortcomings (another topic) has a great system in place for youth hunters. Youth, or any new hunters, can hunt under an apprentice license. This requires them to be supervised by a licensed, hunter ed certified hunter without taking the course themselves. This is a great program for youth, imo.

Personally, I don't support the government teaching my kid anything without me being involved. Be it hunter-ed, schoolwork, or anything else. This is better left to parents and mentors. When I learned to hunt starting at 9, my dad was also learning. We took hunter ed together, and while it was a good class, I can't say I really became some ethical, intelligent hunter because of it. I learned conservation, ethics, and about animals from my mentors. Hunter-ed was more about how not to get in trouble while hunting and how to tell a buck from a doe...very difficult ;-)

I've got no problem with each state regulating things how they see fit, but there is no cookie cutter answer to this. It has to ultimately be up to the parents and mentors.

We cant complain about hunter numbers dwindling and a way of life dying off AND try to regulate new hunters because it's not the way it was "back when I started hunting". 2019 and beyond will never be like 1950, 1980 or 1995 (for me). If a kid needs a crossbow and a spendy rest to get them in the woods, then so be it.

Tons of great input on this thread! love reading everyones opinions!
 

dan maule

Active Member
Jan 3, 2015
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Upper Michigan
Michigan started an apprentice where someone regardless of age who has never taken hunter safety can purchase an apprentice license for two years and hunt with a mentor who is at least 18 years old and has passed hunter safety. I was really surprised how many older folks (over 20) took advantage of the program. They wanted to hunt but never took hunter safety and after hunting with a mentor for 2 years decided to finally take the hunter safety class.
 
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dirtclod Az.

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Jan 26, 2018
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Arizona
Like I said before,I've taken 4 Hunters Ed. courses and Cal.
by far had the best eductional layout with 40% safety and
60% conservation.Was taught by my family safety with firearms
well before I was allowed to handle one.Conservaion was not as
much an issue way back when,luckily I was taught the value of both .
🇺🇲Remembering all those we lost at Pearl Harbor and all others who
have served and are still keeping our country safe.🔥
 

taskswap

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
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Colorado
If any of you live in Colorado near Denver/Ft Collins, take a look at a facility called Colorado Youth Outdoors. https://www.coloradoyo.org/ Their Web site is a little rough but the programs are great. In addition to the basic Hunter Safety course you need to get a tag here, they also run 3-wk and 12-wk programs after school. They're intended for "1 parent, 1 kid" pairs not to shut anybody out but just so you can get some focused 1:1 time.

If you do the whole program (12-wk) you get 3 weeks of spin-casting, 3 weeks of fly fishing, 3 weeks of archery, and 3 weeks of mixed 22 target practice and trap. It's a really nice bonding experience especially if you have a kid (or know somebody who does - maybe you're the aunt or uncle?) who hasn't had much experience with hunting/fishing sports. It's a good intro for kids who "might be" interested in fishing or hunting but aren't sure.
 

Colorado Cowboy

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Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
If any of you live in Colorado near Denver/Ft Collins, take a look at a facility called Colorado Youth Outdoors. https://www.coloradoyo.org/ Their Web site is a little rough but the programs are great. In addition to the basic Hunter Safety course you need to get a tag here, they also run 3-wk and 12-wk programs after school. They're intended for "1 parent, 1 kid" pairs not to shut anybody out but just so you can get some focused 1:1 time.

If you do the whole program (12-wk) you get 3 weeks of spin-casting, 3 weeks of fly fishing, 3 weeks of archery, and 3 weeks of mixed 22 target practice and trap. It's a really nice bonding experience especially if you have a kid (or know somebody who does - maybe you're the aunt or uncle?) who hasn't had much experience with hunting/fishing sports. It's a good intro for kids who "might be" interested in fishing or hunting but aren't sure.
Sounds like they are doing it right. We need more programs like this!
 

Bonecollector

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Mar 9, 2014
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Ohio
If any of you live in Colorado near Denver/Ft Collins, take a look at a facility called Colorado Youth Outdoors. https://www.coloradoyo.org/ Their Web site is a little rough but the programs are great. In addition to the basic Hunter Safety course you need to get a tag here, they also run 3-wk and 12-wk programs after school. They're intended for "1 parent, 1 kid" pairs not to shut anybody out but just so you can get some focused 1:1 time.

If you do the whole program (12-wk) you get 3 weeks of spin-casting, 3 weeks of fly fishing, 3 weeks of archery, and 3 weeks of mixed 22 target practice and trap. It's a really nice bonding experience especially if you have a kid (or know somebody who does - maybe you're the aunt or uncle?) who hasn't had much experience with hunting/fishing sports. It's a good intro for kids who "might be" interested in fishing or hunting but aren't sure.
Sounds awesome. More of this and less video games! 🤓