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December 11, 2007

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Discussion Topic: 5-Year-Old Bags 400-Plus-Pound Bruin

This Breaking News Video from CNN is sure to stir debate as it makes the rounds today. The hot topic at the water cooler will be, How old is old enough? So, when a colleague comes up to you and says, “Did you hear about that 5-year-old kid in Arkansas who killed a bear? Can you believe that?” what will your reaction be?



My reaction will be, "Cool! That's a heck of a bear for a little kid."

But in my mind I'll know that odds are extremely strong that there was at least one and probably more grown men there at his side, armed and ready to step in if needed.

I think if a kid can prove that he's got enough common sense and self-control not to handle a firearm dangerously, then he (or she) is ready to hunt. I've known some really precocious youngsters who I'd trust with a gun a lot more willingly than many adults.

WA Mtnhunter

Sounds like Dad didn't draw a tag. Sort of like the Montana monster elk.

Good on them! I hope it inspires a lifelong love of hunting and the outdoors.

Black Rifle Addict

I viewed the CNN report, and it seems the boy was hunting in a tree stand with his grandfather when he shot the bear. What bothers me in this case is that the boy told his grandfather that he "shut his eyes and sqeezed the trigger".This is not a good shooting practice in fear of wounding the animal, of course, but the boy is only 5 years old. Sorry to young to be shooting a firearm in my book. I started my boys out on BB/Pellet guns at this boy's age, and took them small game hunting at 12, and 14 for deer.

Aaron Pape

good for him! that's exciting. I'm glad to see that youngsters are being brought up in the hunting tradition


To Black rifle Addict, You misheard gramps said he didnt close his eyes. Im an Arkansan too so maybe it was the southern drawl but Im sure he said he didnt close his eyes. I do agree that 5 is to young. I think I was 13 before I was allowed to hunt on my own. I have a 9 and a 12 year old boys and I wouldnt let the 12 touch a gun but the 9 is already shootin pretty good. .22s and bb guns. I think its up to the childs maturity level but 5 is to young.


The kid killed the bear cleanly. No problems, no hiccups. So didn't he just prove that 5 years old is not to young?
I'll wait longer with my own kids, but I can't place any blame on this kid or his parents.


That's "too" young.


No such thing as too young!!!

Matt Mallery

I'm surprised CNN ran this. I rarely see anything positive about guns or hunting in the news these days. I wonder how much hate mail they received for running this story.


I think it was Dizzy Dean that said, "If you can do it, it ain't braggin'!"



5 is clearly old enough. I took my 4 year old daughter deer hunting this year, unfortunately she just isn't patient enough. My mom started taking me deer hunting when I was 1, and let me shoot one when I was 4.


I took a deer to the processor a couple weeks ago and the well-respected guy who runs it introduced me to his 6-year-old niece who had just shot her first buck. Quite mature for her age and that's the difference. My eight-year-old is very interested in hunting and will go with me next year in the stand and with a rifle at 10, the age when I was first allowed to shoot a centerfire rifle. It's an individual and sacred honor and belongs in the catagory of a very big deal in someone's life.


I think its fine as long as the child is well supervised and all the safety precautions are taken. They were up in a tree stand which ruled out the small possibility of a deadly charge if the little guy missed. It was said he had already killed 3 deer that season so he wasn't a novice. He was supervised and he wasn't in danger. Its fine.


I'm more worried about the bear population than the 5 year old. Maturity can't be measured, it must be displayed and observed!
If a youngster of 5 displays the maturity to accomplish the task at hand, let 'em go. Yes, at that age, unless it's brushing their hair or teeth, they need to be supervised! I still say, "Hoo-yah!"


Mike Merritt, Jr.

I am the father of Tre' an dI have to say that am very proud of my son. He is an exeptional lil guy and a crack shot. I appreciate all of the support and happy hunting to everyone! Mike Merritt, Jr.


Mr. Merritt Im an Arkansan too,north of Pine Bluff on the river.Although I think 5 is a little young thats my personal opinion. Your son looks like a fine young man. I have seen on some blogs you your father and even your son being attacked. I just want you to know I nay WE stand behind you 1000%. You go Tre great job!!

tony montana

i dont think you should be able to hunt until you are twenty one... personaly


Say hello to my leetle fren Tony!


THAT IS WAY TO YOUNG!!!!!!!!!!! I could see the kid shooting the largest gopher, squirrel, or bird. But it was a bear. Also he bagged three deer. I was 14 when I got to go hunting for deer and I didn't get one!


I was only 4 when my dad took me to the stand for the first time. I started hunting when I was 6. I didn't kill a deer until I was 16! In the mean time, I gave the squirrels, ducks, doves, quail and rabbits the blues!
Let 'em hunt!



Hey, if Idaho permitted hunting before 12, I would be taking my kids as soon as they could shoot. It depends on the kid, and it depends on if the "adult" involved taught them properly. Properly supervised I would say, Go for it. But, I wouldn't let my 5 yr old go hunting alone.


Looks like about a 2 year late start for the boy.

Davy Crockett killed his first b'ar at 3.


Hey,NDMan,sounds to me you're just jealous.I think it is just great that he got a bear.How many of these "urbanite"barney loving little sissies do you hear about doing something like this?He's getting a good,early start and maybe grow up with a deep respect for wildlife,hunting,the 2nd ammendment,and could make a difference in the way America views them.Don't knock him,be proud for him.I would be proud if he was my son because it would be like this,"I sat and watched Barney all day with my mommy,what did you do?Oh,I went hunting with my grandad,and got me a bear."He could teach those other little ones the do's and dont's about gun safety and the greatness of going on a hunt.And to Tony,it sounds like you were one of those Barney lovers.Thats a GREAT thing for a kid to go hunting and LEARN about guns and what they are capable of doing,all the "curiosity" is gone.Untill they are 21,thats too late.

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