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January 22, 2008

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Discussion Topic: Is 4 Years Old to Young to Hunt?

Last month, most of you argued that Tre Merrit, a 5-year-old Arkansas hunter who bagged a 400-plus-pound bruin, was not too young to target big game. A few, however, went the other way. So, what about a 4-year-old?

From Mississippi’s Hattiesburg American
Young_2While hunting with his dad on the Pearl River in Sandy Hook, [4-year-old] Brennon [Sikes] bagged a 150-pound six-point deer.

Hunting with a T/C Contender 30/30, it was evident that Brennon had his eyes on a large prize.

His dad, Jerry, encouraged Brennon to shoot the first deer that showed itself.

Very calmly but determined, the child said he didn't want that one - he wanted a big one.

Not long after that, Brennon got what he wanted.   



it is way too damn early for a kid that age to be pulling the trigger on big game. where is the respect for the downed animal? where is the joy and appreciation for the hunting experience? whose skills were really tested? who is responsible for the animal once its down? a four year old surely isn't going to handle the chore of field dressing. taking a child afield at that age to expose them to the hunting experience is one thing, but who really thinks that a four year old can hold, aim and fire a 30-30??


michael, the CVA Wolf magnum 209 will get the job done. I shot a doe at over 50 yards in the head with it this year. THe sights needed no adjustment it was dead on right out of the box.

John Russo

I am surprised a lot feel that 4 is too young, but that is your right and if you believe it then you should stand by it. I on the other hand feel it is not to young. My son has been hunting with me since he was three and although he has not shot anything, because his bow is to weak and I have not gotten him a gun yet, if I have I would let him shoot. Just because he can't drag it or dress it means he is to young? So I guess I shouldn't feed him dinner each night because he doesn't have a job and can get to the grocery store by himself to buy food to eat? That makes no sense to me. As long as the child understands that once they pull the trigger and kill the animal, it is gone forever then let them get involved, let them get their hands dirty. I never knew if I would like hunting until I killed something. Going with friends and seeing them do it was not enough for me to make a decision. Once I looked at my first deer laying their motionless with full knowledge that I just killed it, then I knew I could be a part of the hunting community. I didn't start hunting until I was 17 yrs old, I wish I could have started when I was a child, but my family did not hunt. My son has a lot of memories with his dad in the woods chasing deer. How many of you have brought a friend who doesn't hunt to your camp and put them in a shooting house and let them kill something? No difference between that or a 4 year old in my book. Both don't understand what they are doing until the trigger is pulled. Either way they feel afterward, they will grow from the experience.

John Russo

To Tom,

I just read your post and I find it odd. You say that a four year old is too young to shoot but they can sit with their father or other and enjoy the hunting experience, which to me means watch them shoot the deer. If you would have said that the four year old shouldn't be out their at all at that age, then I would understand your position. If the four year old does not understand the "responsibilty" of the action to do it him or herself, then wouldn't they still not get it when the father or other kills the animal. Either way the deer is dead and the child doesn't get it, in your view. I disagree which was stated in my comment above.


bubba i agree with you you are totaly right use a bb gun or a toy not a real gun


I took my 4 year old deer hunting with me this past season and she loved it. I had no intention on letting her shoot my 270 on her own. I would have let her pull the trigger as I held the gun, if she wanted. I let her pull the trigger on my air rifle all the time. She does a good job pulling the trigger without pulling the gun off target. Unfortunately we didn't get the opportunity together. The was to get her interested in hunting and in the outdoors in general and it worked.


THAT IS WAY TO YOUNG!!!!! I wasn't able to for deer until I was 14! I say that 12-14 is the perfect age. But 4 is way to young. I don't think that if your still sucking on your mom's tit your too young.

Trae B.

im 16 and was raised im what I think is a very smart way.Deddy would give me hints of what I needed to learn and let me figure it out myself,But the main thing deddy taught me was respect,and respect every thing and anyone unless they were the kind of people who think that they are better than any one else.or if they do stupid stuff like kill for fun.And you seem to be the only person on here who ever listens to me for some reason.


Young man you seem to have your head screwed on straight and your Deddy has done a fine job. Anything you have to say I will listen. You have more sense than some people twice your age on this blog. We need guys like you to continue our great traditions.


I think that hunting at the age of 4 is way too younge, the kid will not understand what he has done when he harvests an animal. I live in New York and you must be 16 years old to hunt with a gun.


i don't think its too young but i don't think a 4-year-old can grasp the thrill and ethics of hunting


Trae B. I posted my email on dave Petzals blog on incidental info at 9:58 Jan 24. Make sure if you get it that you clear it with your father first. Would enjoy chattin with ya.

don mitchell

4 years old is way to young to hunt but take him or her and teach them . ive been at it for 55 years and i still have to stop and think about it after a KILL. as for Trae B,youve got it all together young man,hang in there.



Looks like Dad has some problems when he needs a 4 year old as a prop on a hunting trip . This is all about Dad and not his 4 yr old. Bet he yells at the volunteer t- ball umpires too. Poor kid


I think that is a good age to start taking them with you, even if they carry a toy or bb gun, but not for them to actually hunt. They don't understand everything there is to hunting. It isn't safe for them to carry a real gun like the 30/30.If he can shoot it thats fine but don't let him hunt that early.


I don't believe 4 yrs old is too young to take hunting but it is far too young to have their own rifle. My line of thinking is if they're too young to be able to read they're too young to be safe with a firearm. There's no way that at 4 yrs old they passed hunters safety because they can't read. In my state it is illegal to hunt or to carry another person's firearm while hunting unless you pass hunter's safety. There's no way that kid passed hunters safety without being old enough to read so that kid was poaching in my state. I have a problem with poaching. Bring em' with you hunting but they get the camera instead of the rifle.


Wow, pretty amazing that a 4 year old is strong enough to hold and steady a 7 to 10 pound rifle well enough to make a near perfect shot. And he must be pretty tough to take the kick of that gun (even a light kicker like that kicks a lot from a child's perspective). Come on, I give it 5% chance that little guy actually had much to do with the taking of that deer. Sure it's possible, but I don't think too likely.


If he can do it at 4 yrs. of age Let him do it! Who am I or you all, to tell someone elses kid what he can or cannot do? My son is 7 and he wants to go, but I know he is not ready yet(I know) it's up to the parents


In New York he could be arrested (the Dad) & charged with endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, could lose the right to own a firearm. I took mine fishing & hiking, camping. If I had the choice, grandchilden in the buddy stand next to me!!!!!

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