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February 29, 2008

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Discussion Topic: Is Lower Hunting Age a "Band-Aid"?

The editorial board of the Rapid City Journal thinks so. They write:
The road to Pierre is paved with good intentions, and no bill exemplifies that as much as the one by Rep. Mike Buckingham, R-Rapid City, to lower the legal hunting age from 12 to 10.

Buckingham and supporters of HB1263 say the bill is needed to preserve interest in hunting and the great outdoors for the generations of South Dakotans to come. While we wholeheartedly support the lawmakers’ goal of getting kids off the couch and out the front door for some old-fashioned recreation, they miss the mark with this bill.

The truth is, most hunters begin their love of nature well before the age of 10, alongside their family, friends and mentors while actively hunting, fishing and honing skills to become a true outdoorsman.

. . . HB1263 is little more than a politically popular Band-Aid that will do little to address the real problem.

What do you think?



With a hunter's safety course, I think its OK. Boy, the kids at that age sure want to go. At that age, I probably would limit it to a 410 or 22 for small game.


It is a bandaid.....I became interested in hunting and fishing because of my father's stories and teachings, not because I could go out and do it (hunting, at least). I shudder when I hear stories of 5 and 6 year olds taking big game. Even 10 year olds taking small game makes me nervous.


My 9 year old loves to shoot my .22 rifle. He's been hunting with me for deer and turkey, we fish together and I look forward to the day when he takes his hunter safety course and can go hunting with a .22 rifle for squirrel or maybe dove hunting.

I agree with Yoop, start 'em on small game and preach safety and having fun with it.



jstreet quote:
can go hunting with a .22 rifle for squirrel or maybe dove hunting.

No edit function!

I look forward to the day when my son can go hunting with a .22 rifle for squirrel or maybe dove hunt with a 20 gauge.



Ten is a good age for most kids to start out hunting. Sure some are ready earlier and others still need to mature a bit; that is for Mom and Dad to decide. As an arbitrary age ten is good; they can pay close enough attention in their Hunter Safety Course, safely manipulate the weapon afield and should be able to comprehend the implications of pulling the trigger. Ten also catches the boys (and some girls) before they get to playing football and other team sports for which coaches demand all their time. Therefore there is a good chance the young ones will take up hunting as a lifelong passion.
Parents must be the final determiners of whether a child is emotionally ready for the responsibility of carrying a loaded weapon and taking shots at living animals.


I think 10 is a great age for most kids to start hunt'n. That way the kids know what they're doing and can have a certain respect for the animal. Below age 10 I don't think the kids could have a full appreciation for the animal they killed. The most agreeable part is the kids should still be under parental supervision. I think they should also start off with small game. I know my grandson already wants to hunt but he is only 8.

Dick Mcplenty

Sure its a band aid,a greedy one.

Its nothing but an effort to sell more licenses,especially in states that always have left over licenses.

The Biggest problem I see,is in special draws like bighorn sheep,mountain goat and moose,which are drawn on preferance points. All it does is ups the demand and puts more people into the drawing,for tags that most adults have already spent a life time trying to draw,on top of this the average kid doesn't have a clue what he just drew and how precious it is..

Age wise,I've seen 10 year olds handle themselves better then most 14 year olds.


I've been involved with hunter saftey courses for about ten years, and there are times when I wish the parents were required to take the course with their kids. Nothing worse than when an eager kid gets dropped off and for whatever reason can't really grasp the material. Dad gets torqued 'cause the kid can't get his license and the kid is crushed. If the Dad can't spend some time to help the kid get through the class I wonder what kind of supervision he'll give in the field.
Bottom line is it not only depends on the kid, it depends on how they're being mentored.


Hunter education!?
Hunter prevention!?

I went to Colorado for the first time in 1975. Fortunately, they offered a Hunter Safety course at the Methodist Church. It was an all day affair and I was absolutely bored out of my gourd!
They presented very few facts that I was not already award of!
I was able to inform them of things that they had never thought about!
My grandfather was a WW I vet, my dad, WW II. Gun safety was pounded into my head the first time I picked up a BB gun.
We processed our own game. I've carried a gun hunting since I was 6 years old. My dad would wound a squirrel, he then allowed me to load my A.H. Fox .410 (woe is me, it's long gone!) double barrel and finish it off! I thought I had just taken the new B&C No. 1 head! I even got to carry the squirrel, well, until it got too heavy to tote, then it went in his pouch with the tail snipped off so I would know which was mine! Besides, a tail ain't too heavy to tote and makes a fine trophy!

Get 'em out early and often.
Get 'em involved. Let 'em tote a toy gun or BB gun if nothing else. ANYTHING to get them interested!



This is off topic... I monitor and read more than I comment, but Bubba, your points are always dead on. I hope you're able to express your points and educate beyond this message board.


Granted that you personally were bored out of your gourd at the hunter safety course you attended. As you say you had been carrying a gun for quite the time by then. Not all the kids -- especially today -- have that background.

I am with you 100% man! Parents absolutely should attend hunter safety with the kids! First of it is a great time for both to get on the same page with all the rules of today. More importantly it is time together! Imagine 5 or 6 families, with Mom, Dad and kids all taking hunter safety together! Awesome to think about!

Not that I think hunter safety class is the be-all-end-all but it is a very important start.


No doubt, the more participation from the class, the more fun the class is. Kind of like these blogs.Good stories and experiences go along way to keep their attention.
From following your posts I think you'd make a geat instructor. You make your points clearly and keep it fun. Combined with the passion you have for the outdoors I'm sure very few would be bored listening to you.


You know SA, my two children attended a two day affair when it came their time to get a card! I attended the first day, their mom attended the last! We all had fun.
I've often thought about getting into the hunter education thing, I've never had time. Maybe now is the time to get in touch and try and pass some of my "wry humor" about!
Thanks Nathan, HEI, and Silver Arrow, think I'll check into maybe just assisting in teaching a class!



Lowering the license age to 10 years is nothing radical. Michigan allows it, with appropriate restrictions.
But, to say this will encourage youth to outdoorsmanship and hunting is a stretch.

Years of overexposure to things political have taught me to always reach for my wallet whenever a legislator has a "great idea". I presume nothing in their current law prevents a 10 year old Dakotan from shooting squirrels on private land with his "Happy Birthday .22". The proposal will now require the parent of said 10 year old to buy a license.

Go back a few months to any number of meetings where legislation is drafted prior to reaching the light of day. The cynic is me wonders how many times behind closed doors the wildlife agency managers, public administrators and legislators muttered the phrase: "Besides, we can collect more license fees."

(I woke up grumpy today.)

Brian T

We have talked about this before. I'm not certain that 10 is old enough. You all know some people who shouldn't be allowed to gun-hunt when they're 50+ yrs old. Just the same, safety and shooting proficiency should be mandatory for BOTH (are you listening, parents & guardians?).

Chev Jim

I believe in starting 'em young, but I have reservations about a 10-year-old with a gun in the hunting fields. There's a tremendous difference in maturity levels between your average 10- and 12-year-old. One thing I'd hate to see is youth hunting reduced to a "stunt," like the wave of "young airplane pilots" a number of years ago. I still shudder when I think about the 10-year-old who shot a fenced-in, pet pig eight times with an S&W .500 caliber revolver. The father wanted to say his son had shot a record feral hog. But that hog was about as feral as Porky Pig, and that pig died an inhumane death. The whole thing sickened me, and the kid will have sickening memories of it when he's old enough to know better.


Hey where was that bill when I was 10? I would have though I died and went to heaven!


Well guys when we where ten the world was a different place. I'm only 41 and the school I went to let me bring my shotgun to school on the bus. I hunted on the vice Principal's property behind the school(Mr. Rudolph). The only thing he was concerned about was his Charolais cattle catching shot and gates being closed.We did have to have our hunter ed card. This was probably 1980 or 79. It is a sad thing for things to change so much in the big scheme of things in such a short time.My son just turned 10 and I would not allow him to hunt alone with any thing more than a BB gun. He his a fine as a young man any Dad could want. We both shed tears when he retrieved his first big beautiful greenhead mallard this year. I knew then he was ready to hunt but not on his own yet. Look at the damn news with the kids killing each other? They don't think anything of killing a human being but me and my son could value the life of a duck together. He is well on his way to becoming what I hope is a much finer man than myself.Could we wish for anything more? Bottom line ten is fine with me as long as it is supervised.


Hey everybody what happened to Tommy? Give us a shout buddy.


To add he is gettin a Rem. 870 20 gauge youth. they are a purdy gun. Pun intended!LOL


No doubt you will bring great qualities to hunter education!

New Jersey; where I started out, allowed hunting from age 10, I think they still do. Under 16 had to be accompanied by an adult. My first year hunting was in 1970 and there was no Hunter Safety course requirement, I carried a single shot .410 Dad doled out shells one at a time. An errant BB through a neighbor's window cost me my hunting priveledge the next year. Hunter Safety was mandatory in the state in either '71 or '72 although we youngsters were still not allowed to hunt unaccompanied.

New Hampshire is interesting in that up to age 16 kids may hunt with no license and no hunter safety course, they must pass hunter safety to buy that first license at 16 though. Kids may not hunt unaccompanied rather they must be in sight and hearing of an adult, during special youth hunting weekends the adult may not be armed; we have youth deer and turkey hunts ahead of the general seasons for each. Sure the state could set an age limit and require licenses but the Fish and Game Council has; so far, resisted that temptation with a result of pretty decent participation by youngsters and parents.

r napolitano

band aid, stop the anti gun rhetoric, better education, more opportunites to go hunting and stop the liberal press and hollywood from portraying hunters and hunting in such negative stereotypes. take a kid hunting, shooting, join a club, be proactive and stop the negative image of firearms owners.


Maybe its just me but I can't see spending time with kids, in the woods, as a band aid.


Start the kids off young with hunt'n. That way they'll like hunt'n before the tree huggers get to them. I remember taken my son deer hunt'n at age 5. That way he could see a deer get taken at an early age and wouldn't mind the site of a dying animal. Then when he was old enough to hunt he was not affraid of taking an animal.

don m.

you make a good point MPN.

hey Bubba,go a head and give er a try,heck,the yung uns might even teach you a thing or two.

yup, a lot of gronups do need to atend hunter safety class.


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