Maryland Outdoorsmen caught a break Monday, when a Minimum Age Hunting License bill was withdrawn. If passed, the bill would have prohibited the Maryland DNR from issuing a license to anyone under the age of 13, according to a National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses press release. But, as it stands now, licenses continue to be obtainable by any young Marylander who has successfully completed a Hunter Ed Course.
Of course, as this issue continues to come up from time to time and from state to state, a major argument against minimum age requirements is the concern that a youngster may already have developed a commitment to other activities before he or she is old enough to see what hunting is all about. They could very well be lost to the sport before even getting a chance to try it.
I don't find myself quoting Ted Nugent very often, but when looking for a strong opinion on a decisive hunting issue, he's not a bad guy to turn to. I interviewed him for F&S a few years back, and asked what he'd do for hunters as governor of Michigan (he was talking about a future run for office at the time). One of the first things he said was (now, imagine this coming at you very loud and very fast through the phone as part of a streaming rant on the state of hunting in America), "...no minimum age - mom and dad will determine who goes hunting, unless of course the rest of the nation is dumber than Texas and Kansas and Louisiana!! ... by the time they're 14 it's too late!!..."
Later, after he'd calmed down some, he elaborated on the issue, "First of all, hunter safety must be maintained, and I do wanna salute all volunteers - I happen to be one ... There's gotta be entry-level parental determination for the introduction to the great outdoor shooting sports."
Granted, Nugent's comments are a little old, but the issue certainly isn't, so where do you stand on it? Do parents or state policymakers know best? -K.H.